Huawei reportedly considering Nokia acquisition

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According to a new report out of the Financial Times, Huawei is considering buying Finnish smartphone manufacturer Nokia. Richard Yu, Huawei’s consumer business group chairman explained at the company’s Ascend P6 launch event that Huawei is looking into the acquisition, but how far negotiations go would depend on the willingness of Nokia. “We are considering these sorts of acquisitions; maybe the combination has some synergies but depends on the willingness of Nokia. We are open-minded,” Yu stated.

Huawei is not a household name here in the United States when it comes to smartphones, most likely due to the company’s shaky relationship with the U.S. government, but Yu says the company is certainly looking to take on the likes of Samsung and Apple, and having Nokia behind it would definitely be helpful.  Read more

Google search adds interactive carousel for restaurants & local places on desktop

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Google announced today that it is rolling out a new interactive carousel for restaurants and other local places directly in search results on the desktop. Users will be able to click on thumbnails in the carousel to quickly get more info on a specific place, including: “overall review-based score, address and photos.” The feature was previously available to some Nexus tablet and iPad users since rolling out back in December, but today it’s rolling out to everyone through Google search on the desktop: Read more

Google celebrates 10th anniversary of AdSense, says its 2M publishers earned $7B last year

As we told you last week, Google’s ad business brings in a lot of money, and today, it will celebrate the ten year anniversary of one of its most successful platforms to date. In a post on the official Google blog, Susan Wojcicki, Google’s SVP of ads and commerce, announced that ten years ago today, the company launched AdSense to help publishers earn money by placing ads on their websites. Fast forward 10 years and AdSense is now used by more than 2 million publishers, who earned a combined total of more than $7 billion last year alone.

Google touts that people have been able to live their dream job thanks to the money AdSense gets them. Read more

Huawei announces 6.18mm thin Ascend P6

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After teasing the device for several weeks, Huawei finally unveiled its first true flagship in the Ascend P6 this morning in London. Just like the company teased, the device is ultra thin, coming in at just 6.18mm thin. Its size doesn’t compromise its specs, however, as the Ascend P6 is packing a quad-core CPU clocked at 1.5GHz and 2GB of RAM. It features a 4.7-inch display with a 720p resolution. The screen has “MagicTouch” technology, which essentially just means you can have on gloves and still use the display.

As far as the camera goes, the device is packing an 8MP shooter with an f/2.0 aperture and 4cm macro mode. Huawei is also touting its “IMAGEsmart” technology, which will find the best shooting mode automatically based on your surroundings. The front-facing camera is a whopping 5MP and has a setting that will automatically smooth out skin texture, adjust the clarity of your eyes, and as the company’s CEO says, essentially makes you look younger.  Read more

Low-end HTCs: Desire 200 official, and HTC One Mini name confirmed

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Engadget spotted that HTC’s new low-end handset, the 3.5-inch Desire 200, has gone live on HTC’s website. Likely intended as the successor to the Desire C, it’s a pretty basic device.

320 x 480 LCD display; an aging Snapdragon S1 1GHz processor running an unidentified version of Android (likely 4.0) and HTC’s Sense skin; 4GB of expandable storage and 512MB RAM; 5-megapixel camera …  Read more

T-Mobile says it will offer the Sony Xperia Z in the ‘coming weeks’

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After a few months of speculation and rumors, T-Mobile has finally announced that it will carry Sony’s Xperia Z flagship. While no specific pricing or availability was announced, the carrier said it will launch in the “coming weeks.” It will be available in black, as well as purple for a limited time.

Specs are the same as the international version, which include a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, a 5-inch 1080p display with Sony’s Mobile Bravia engine, a 13MP rear-facing camera, and a water and dust resistant design. It will also carry support for T-Mobile up and coming LTE network.  Read more

Dragon Mobile Assistant 4 detects when you’re driving, and keeps things hands-free

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Engadget notes that the latest version of Dragon Mobile Assistant now detects when you’re in a moving car and automatically switches to hands-free mode, where all interaction is by voice alone.

Driver Mode relies solely on voice recognition and feedback, keeping your focus on the road. Accordingly, the upgrade builds in spoken notifications for inbound calls, messages, upcoming meetings and Facebook updates. There’s also voice-aware email and customizable wake up commands …  Read more

Technology will enable us to be immortal within 20 years, says Google’s head engineer

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Google engineering director Ray Kurzweil, never a man to shy away from bold predictions about the future, says he believes that advances in medical technology will enable human beings to be immortal within 20 years.

Speaking at the Global Future 2045 World Congress, CNBC reports (via BGR) Kurzweil’s prediction that the pace of medical developments will be such that life expectancy will be continually extended such that we will never die.

The life expectancy was 20 years 1,000 years ago. … We doubled it in 200 years. This will go into high gear within 10 and 20 years from now, probably less than 15 we will be reaching that tipping point where we add more time than has gone by because of scientific progress …  Read more

Google partners with Starbucks to offer free unlimited music through Google Play All Access

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Google announced today on Google+ that a new partnership with Starbucks will provide free WiFi and the ability for customers at Starbucks locations to stream unlimited songs, radio and more from Google’s recently launched AllAccess music service. Apple has of course offered similar promotions and continues to offer free iTunes content and more through Starbucks locations. Back in 2007 it announced a partnership with Starbucks in the US to offer a free iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, and it continues to offer its free app and song of the week picks through physical cards in store and through mobile apps.

Google’s new streaming music service is still limited to the US, so we’re assuming the new promotion is also limited to Starbucks locations within the country. Last we heard an iOS app for the service would be arriving sometime this month.   Read more

Samsung set to launch anti-theft features for smartphones in July

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Earlier this month, we told you about government officials calling on major tech companies to improve anti-theft features of their devices. At WWDC this year, Apple did just that and announced its new Activation Lock feature. Now, all eyes have shifted to the other large smartphone manufacturer, Samsung. According to a report out of Korean site MK, Samsung is set to launch its anti-theft features for smartphones as early as July.

The feature will essentially be a kill switch that will allow carriers, manufacturers, and even the government to remotely wipe, lock, and disable any smartphone that has been stolen. Once this is done, the device would be rendered useless, even when a new SIM card is installed.

A kill switch is exactly what government officials called for earlier this month, and what it and manufacturers likely discussed when they met last week at a “smartphone summit” to talk about mobile security.  Read more

Google bringing Chromebooks to more retails stores including Walmart & Staples

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Google announced today on its blog that it will begin selling Chromebooks through a number of new retail outlets that will bring the total up to around 6,600 stores worldwide. That’s around “3 times more stores than before” with the most notable additions including Walmart and Staples:

In addition to Best Buy and Amazon.com, we’re excited to welcome several new retailers to the family. Starting today, Walmart will be making the newest Acer Chromebook, which has a 16GB Solid State Drive (SSD), available in approximately 2,800 stores across the U.S., for just $199

Staples will begin selling Chromebooks from Acer, HP and Samsung in its more than 1,500 stores in the US and also through its online stores. Google also announced it will be adding a few other retail locations in the months to come, including: Office Depot, Office Max, and regional chains Fry’s and TigerDirect.

As for plans to expand international availability: Read more

Digg’s Google Reader replacement to launch publicly on June 26, here’s what it looks like

When Google announced it was shutting down Reader, struggling web company Digg announced that they would develop a replacement service. In a blog post on Monday, the company announced that its much-awaited RSS service would open to the public on June 26th.

The service, which will be called Digg Reader, will have very basic functions, including a feature that allows users to vote stories to the top that they believe are important. When the company surveyed more than 18,000 users, many wanted the service to be clean, simple, and fast. Digg, of course, says it has met all of those demands.

Within 60 days of the launch, many features will continue to be released, including: Read more