Google Glass already winning praises from firefighters

A Georgia Fire Chief is singing the praises of Google Glass. It isn’t hard to see why a heads up display would be a big benefit to Firefighters but a less Beta product would probably more optimal for bigger rollouts. (which are probably a year out at least).

Still, good for them for being open to trying it. Read more

Galaxy Gear reviews make for painful reading [Review roundup]

gear

The Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch reviews are out, and that red glow you see on the horizon is from the blushing faces at Samsung, visible all the way from Korea. The reviews are not, to put it kindly, overwhelming in their enthusiasm for the device.

The Verge

A smartwatch the Galaxy Gear is not. Frankly, I’m not sure exactly what it’s supposed to be. Samsung describes it as a companion device, and the Gear is indeed chronically dependent on an umbilical link to another Samsung device, but it never left me feeling like it was a helpful companion. The notifications are Orwellian, the media controls are exiguous, and the app selection has no substance to underpin the hype. Samsung’s attempt to turn the Gear into a style icon is also unlikely to succeed, owing to the company’s indecision about its target demographic. Trying to please all tastes has resulted in a predictably charmless and soulless product.

The Gear’s camera and phone calls are both surprising and delightful, but they’re unfortunately isolated highlights. When all is said and done, I expect the Galaxy Gear will be looked back upon as a rough first draft that helped the Korean chaebol steer a better course en route to the goal of producing a real smartwatch. As it stands today, though — unintuitive, oversized, overpriced, and in constant need of a Galaxy guardian — the Galaxy Gear might have been better off staying on the drawing board …  Read more

FreedomPop launches world’s first $0/month, completely free mobile service w/ $99 HTC Evo Design

Freedom-Phone-FreedompopFreedomPop, the company that has been supplying free and cheap data plans on Sprint’s network through various hotspot products, today announced that it is launching the world’s first completely free mobile service alongside the first smartphone the company is offering to customers. At first FreedomPop is rolling out the two year old HTC Evo Design, which isn’t exactly a premium smartphone these days, but the company has plans to roll out more Android device choices later this year.

After purchasing the device, FreedomPop will give users a guaranteed 500 MBs of data, 500 text messages, and 200 anytime voice minutes free every month for life.

“FreedomPop is changing the mobile market forever with the sole intent of bringing better value to the consumer and increasing accessibility,” said Stephen Stokols, FreedomPop’s CEO and co-founder. “FreedomPop’s mission is to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, convenient and essential communication services. With this launch, we’ve just taken our largest step to date towards delivering on this objective.”

There will also be an inexpensive monthly plan for users that require more data: Read more

European anti-trust case against Google likely to end after fresh proposals

plenary

The European Union’s long-running anti-trust case against Google, in which the search company was accused of using its dominant position in search to stifle competition, looks set to finally be resolved – though we may have to wait until Spring to learn the details.

Reuters reports that Google has made new proposals, which the EU suggests is likely to lead to a settlement.

Joaquin Almunia told lawmakers in the European Parliament he believed the new offer made it easier to see Google’s rivals when making an internet search.

“We have reached a key moment in this case,” Almunia said.

“Now with the significant improvements on the table I think we have the possibility to work again.

“If our investigation of this improved proposal is satisfactory then we will continue the commitments route and end up with a formal decision next spring,” he said, adding: “I think that the settlement route remains the best choice” …  Read more

YouTube announces music awards show “powered by you” (and not by Vevo)

YouTube has announced a crowd-sourced music awards show streamed live from New York on 3rd November, with the winning acts chosen by YouTube viewers.

We get it. You love music. From propelling unknown artists to the top of the charts, to cheering on established artists as they reinvent the music video, to remixing and reimagining your own, music fans have turned YouTube into the world’s go-to music destination. Now, to celebrate music fans and the music you love, we’re announcing a new kind of awards show–one powered by you …  Read more

Another image of the Nexus 5 shows up, still looks the same

nexus-5

We’ve seen a lot of pictures and videos of the Nexus 5 and that’s why this one has some merit: it looks like the others. It was originally on a forum and picked up by Droid-Life but since has been deleted.

This weekend  MyCE/Android World leaked out some specs of the upcoming device.

  • Display:  5-inch Full HD display, 442 ppi (potentially 4.97-inch)
  • Processor:  2.3GHz Qualcomm Snadragon 800
  • RAM:  2GB
  • Internal Storage:  16GB (could be another model too, this is what was in the log)
  • Camera (rear):  8MP (no idea if it has OIS like the LG G2 camera)
  • Camera (front):  1.2MP
  • Sensors:  accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, proximity, light, barometer, orientation
  • Battery:  2300mAh (via FCC) and wireless charging
  • Other:  LTE, NFC
  • Model:  LG-D820

Also the FCC has picked it up as well as some benchmarks. All we are missing is a launch date and price.  Read more

Google rolling out Google Play NFC vending machines in Japan (Gallery)

Engadget got its hands on shots from the unveiling of new Google Play vending machines being rolled out in Japan today. The machines will sell Google Play content starting with a mix of 18 different free and paid games, and users will complete their purchase using any Android device running 4.0 and up with NFC. Engadget walked us through the process:

You rest the phone on the tray below the screen, and NFC pairing takes care of the rest. We put the machine to the test with our LG G2 on hand, and had no troubles choosing and downloading a free game through the machine. There’s a slick unified animation from the giant touchscreen (which looks almost identical to drinks machines elsewhere in the country) to your Android phone of choice when the download kicks in. Also, for trying out another Google app, you’ll get a ‘present’ which ‘drops’ down from the screen and into the vending tray once your download is complete.

The three Google Play machines will officially open to the public tomorrow at Parco department store in Shibuya.  Read more

Google’s Garage: How putting wheels on office furniture and hanging power outlets from ceiling helps collaboration

Google HR Press release from Fast Company.

I’m not sold. Why aren’t these things floating in space? Why does there even need to be wires? Come on Google, try harder.

Google’s BufferBox self-serve pickup service comes to San Francisco

bufferbox

After first acquiring the Waterloo, Ontario self-serve package pickup startup Buffer Box last year, Google today announced plans to expand the service. The company has been making its self-serve pick up boxes (pictured above) available for deliveries in the Toronto area close to its home, but today Google announced the BufferBox service is coming to San Francisco for online purchases:

Read more

AT&T announces Oct. 4 release for Galaxy Note 3 & Galaxy Gear

AT&T and other carriers have already started accepting preorders for Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear companion smartwatch, but today AT&T announced official release dates for the two products.

Both devices will become available online and in stores on October 4th for the same prices AT&T previously announced for preorders. That’s $299 on contract for the Note 3 (or $35 per month on AT&T Next), and $299 for the Galaxy Gear. Preorders from AT&T’s site are currently listed as shipping on October 1st.

Other carriers, including T-Mobile and Sprint, will also begin selling the Note 3 and Galaxy Gear beginning early next month.  Read more

Review: HTC One on Verizon – the best hardware on the best network and why I’d pass

Verizon began carrying the HTC One in August a full 4 months after it was released in the US and over month after the Google Play Edition graced our reviewers’ hands. 

We’ve already reviewed the HTC One in its many forms and came away singing its praises. There’s no doubt it is a great phone, made much greater when you strip away HTC Sense overlay. Its 4.7-inch 1080P display is glorious. The feel of its rounded aluminum case feels great in the hand and it performs amicably.  Even the camera, which we loved in the Google Play edition version is the best we’ve seen.

Nothing has really changed here on the Verizon version. Same great build quality, great screen and great camera. Same awful Sense overlay.

Add the universally-loved Verizon’s LTE 4G network and you’d think you’d have one of the best smartphones on the market. Not so fast.

Read more