Why won’t I be buying the Nexus 5? The camera

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When Google’s Vic Gundotra promised “insanely great cameras” on upcoming Nexus devices, we took his statement to heart. Now, with the release of the Nexus 5, early reviews of the camera are decidedly mixed. It’s for this reason that I’ve decided to take a pass on the newest Nexus device, and will continue to focus on Android devices where the camera doesn’t appear to be an afterthought. I had hoped that we might see something that truly lived up to Vic’s “vision” for the Nexus line of smartphone cameras, needless to say, “insanely great” doesn’t seem to apply.

Now, I grant you, some of the pictures I’ve seen from the Nexus are good—some are very good—but the consensus seems to be for every “very good,” there’s “not so good.” As a new-ish parent, a smartphone camera is one of the most important aspects of my life, as the best camera I have is the one I have with me. I want to love the Nexus, the large display and quick updates and all the sunshine and rainbows that comes from owning Google’s flagship device. Still, the real-world tests don’t give me much hope that is the right Android device for me:

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Fear not Moto X fans, the Wood backing is still very much alive

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Moto X fans take note as prolific mobile leaker @evleaks has indicated that the wood-based model is still very much alive. It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything out of Motorola regarding the wood units, but where there’s a will there’s a way and @evleaks is providing the goods. It was back in August that @evleaks first previewed and teased the four variants of the wood-based cover. There’s still the extra $50 cost associated with the wood and we’ll just assume that extra cost is simply the price of going up to your friends and bragging you have a “wood” smartphone.

The image itself comes from a screen-grab taken from MotoMaker and shows off Teak, Ebony, Rosewood and Bamboo wood tones. The styles are expected to arrive anytime in the fourth quarter which began at the beginning of October so any.day.now.

BlackBerry ditches its CEO as potential buyer falls through

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While Google may have been among a lengthy list of rumored suitors for BlackBerry, it appears its latest attempt to sell the company has failed. In fact, the collapse of the deal with Fairfax has led to the ousting of CEO Thorstein Heins and the raising $1 billion in convertible debt. So, you win some you lose some, eh?

The “new” BlackBerry will be led by John S. Chen who will be appointed Executive Chair of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors and is now responsible for the strategic direction, strategic relationships and organizational goals for BlackBerry. We wish John the very, very best of luck in this difficult climate.

“Today’s announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in BlackBerry and its future by this group of preeminent, long-term investors,” said Barbara Stymiest, Chair of BlackBerry’s Board. “The BlackBerry Board conducted a thorough review of strategic alternatives and pursued the course of action that it concluded is in the best interests of BlackBerry and its constituents, including its shareholders. This financing provides an immediate cash injection on terms favorable to BlackBerry, enhancing our substantial cash position. Some of the most important customers in the world rely on BlackBerry and we are implementing the changes necessary to strengthen the company and ensure we remain a strong and innovative partner for their needs.”

It’s an unfortunate day for the folks in Waterloo and while there was an inkling of hope that Google might scoop up the company formerly known as RIM, it appears they are now back at square one in their attempts to knock Android and iOS off their pedestals.

via BlackBerry

Google’s new Connected Classrooms program takes students on virtual Google+ Hangout field trips

Google today announced that its launching a new education initiative that will see students taking “virtual field trips” using Google+ video chat Hangouts. Google explains that it’s now allowing teachers to sign up for the field trips through a program called Connected Classrooms.

Teachers are already using Google+ to make learning more relevant, collaborative and accessible—from exploring a world-class art museum to staging a play to venturing into space. Connected Classrooms aims to make it easier for teachers to access exciting educational content to share with their students. In addition to the virtual field trips, teachers who visit the Connected Classrooms site will have the opportunity to join a Google+ Community with other educators to collaborate on field trips and share best practices for using digital tools in the classroom.

The first locations featured as virtual field trips will include the Seattle Aquarium, the Minnesota Zoo and the Solar Impulse hangar. Google is also partnering with over 20 organizations to that will help organize the field trips, some of which include National Geographic, Matilda the Musical, the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Read more

AT&T’s Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom arrives Nov. 8 for $199 on contract w/ free Galaxy Tab 3

As rumored earlier this month, AT&T announced today that it will become the first U.S. carrier to offer Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Zoom starting November 8 for $199 on contract or $25 a month on AT&T Next instalment plans. AT&T is also throwing in a free Galaxy Tab 3:

For a limited time, Galaxy S 4 zoom customers can take advantage of two amazing promotional offers. Those purchasing the Galaxy S 4 zoom with a two-year contract or on an AT&T Nextsminstallment agreement and qualified voice and data plans can get a Galaxy Tab™3 for free. The Galaxy Tab 3 requires a new qualified 2-year data plan in order to be eligible. Customers won’t have to choose between a phone and tablet. Now they can get both for the price of one. With AT&T Mobile Share, customers can add the Galaxy Tab 3 to an existing Mobile Share plan for $10 more per month. And with Mobile Share, up to 10 devices can share data without needing to purchase separate plans for each one.

The Galaxy S4 Zoom is a hybrid smartphone/point and shoot that packs in a 16 megapixel camera with 10x optical zoom, a manually adjustable zoom ring, dedicated shutter button, and a built in Xenon flash. Other specs include a 4.3” Super AMOLED display, microSD, a 2330mAh battery, 1.5GB(RAM), and 8GB(eMMC).  Read more

Talking Schmidt: Google Chairman SHOCKED at NSA hacking of Google network, says he told buddy Obama that it is ‘not OK’

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt expressed his shock at reports that the NSA tapped into the internal communications links between Google servers, describing it as “outrageous” in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. The claim was made as part of the ongoing PRISM revelations.

It’s really outrageous that the National Security Agency was looking between the Google data centers, if that’s true. The steps that the organization was willing to do without good judgment to pursue its mission and potentially violate people’s privacy, it’s not OK …  Read more

Check out the winners and performances from last night’s YouTube Music Awards

Following last night’s first ever YouTube Music Awards, YouTube has posted some highlights from the event and below we have a full list of winners for each of the six major categories from the show.

Unfortunately the broadcast, hosted by Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts and featuring live music video-like performances from Eminem, Lady Gaga and others, didn’t manage to attract many viewers during its live stream last night. According to Time, YouTube’s award show was able to capture only around 250,000 simultaneous viewers. That’s compared to around 1.9 million for the live YouTube stream of the Coachella festival each year and 10.1 million viewers for MTV’s latest VMAs award show.

Reviews of how the show went seem to be mixed, but we’ll post the full video of the show as soon as its available here. Head below for the full list of winners and hit the playlist above for more videos of last night’s performances: Read more

Google Glass still needs personal talk-through, but now via Hangout chat

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If an existing Google Glass Explorer has sent one of their three invitations to you, the good news is you no longer have to travel to Google’s offices in NY or LA to collect your gadget in person.

For the first round of Explorers, Google had insisted on personal collection so that a member of staff could talk them through the product and assist them with setup. Those accepting invitations now are being offered a 45-minute one-to-one on Google Hangouts …  Read more

Google teases Moto G announcement with November 13th landing page

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Oh hi there Moto G teaser page with a November 13th launch date and live announcement sign-up.

After making a brief appearance on Motorola’s website, the rumored “Mini” version of the Moto X looks set for a launch a week from this Wednesday on November 13th. Current rumors peg the upcoming device as launching with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, a 5 megapixel camera and 8GB of storage. Outside of these potential specs, we’re pretty much in the dark on Motorola’s next budget smartphone.

Will it offer all the same features as the Moto X in a smaller, less expensive package? Should we spend lots of time misinterpreting the animation on the teaser page as some secret part of the device? We’ll know the answers to these questions and many more in just 9 days.

“Ok Google, set reminder for November 13th.”

via Engadget

Google Street View will now take you on a tour of a British submarine

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The HMS Ocelot, a 50-year-old British submarine has the distinct honor of being the first submersible to be offered up on Google’s street view. The Register reports the company mapped-out the control room, sleeping quarters and even some of the torpedo tubes, which are obviously out of service. There’s also a tour of the dockyard which launched the submarine and a set of 20  images of the exterior of the boat. I mean, this is a freaking submarine on Google street view, does it really get any better? Well, I suppose you might get more of a kick out of the Large Hadron Collider if you’re into that sort of thing, but for me, it’s a freaking submarine!

You can view the whole collection of images here.

[Review] HP Chromebook 11: a month later and the glow hasn’t worn off

HP and Google combined to create two new Chromebooks which were launched early last month: The $299  Intel Haswell-powered Chromebook 14 and the smaller Samsung Exynos ARM-powered Chromebook 11. Both machines mark new territory for Google and HP. The Silicon Valley neighbors have been getting closer and closer since Meg Whitman took over as CEO, including an expanding array of Android tablets as well. The initial HP Chromebooks were clearly re-purposed Windows laptops. These clearly are something entirely different… Read more