HTC pinning all its hopes on the M8 version of the HTC One as losses continue

htc-verge

Graphic: The Verge

HTC had better hope the new HTC One (M8) sells well: it has just reported its second quarterly loss in three quarters after essentially doing no better than breaking even since the third quarter of 2012.

The company had warned investors that it would begin the year with a loss, but The Verge reports that the figures were worse than expected.

Even its downbeat estimates weren’t pessimistic enough. The company fell short of the expected NT$35 billion in sales, posting NT$33.12 billion, and disappointed analysts who had been predicting a narrower loss … 

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30-second smartphone charge demonstrated using biological semiconductors

I’d find this video hard to believe were it not for its credentials. The WSJ reports that StoreDot, the start-up behind the technology, has its background in the Nanotechnology department of Tel Aviv University, and it’s been demonstrated at Microsoft’s Think Next conference.

Ultra-fast battery charging has been seen before, but using special (and not very portable) battery technology. This system charges batteries compact enough for smartphones. It’s demonstrated here with a Samsung Galaxy S3, but the company says that it plans to make versions for other phones …  Read more

Video compares Galaxy S5’s heart rate sensor to Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5s heart rate monitor apps

Samsung took a big step into the health and fitness market with its Galaxy S5. One of the device’s main selling points is its built-in heart rate sensor. This new feature allows users to check their heart rate using the preinstalled S Health app, but the truth is, nothing special is happening here. According to Samsung’s official Galaxy S5 page, it’s the first smartphone with a built-in heart rate sensor, but technically almost any device with a camera and flash is capable of providing this functionality. The same sensor is found on Samsung’s new Gear smart watch lineup and certainly makes more sense ona wearable device, but unfortunately it’s nothing more than a gimmick on the Galaxy S5.

The heart rate sensor found on the back is no different than what many third party apps have offered for quite some time. Runtastic’s Heart Rate Monitor app is a perfect example. This app uses the LED flash and camera on almost any smartphone to read your heart rate, and it works surprisingly well.

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Moto X ‘Plus One’ coming soon, with leather option?

moto-x-plus-one

We know Moto is going to make an updated version of the Moto X. I mean they’ve even said so, setting expectations at ‘late summer’. But when and what will it be? Evleaks seems to think it is coming soon and has the branding to back that up. As for specs, you’ve got to imagine Moto will make the jump to a 1080P display at around 5 inches, obviously a faster processor and hopefully running a late summer version of Android 5?

Update:

Leather would be nice.

Android TV screenshots reportedly leak, show off simplified card-based interface

For years now companies have been claiming to that they make the perfect set-top box, with Amazon being the most recent to do so with its FireTV. Notably missing from this arm’s race, however, has been Google. The company was one of the first to offer a set-top box OS with Google TV, but the idea quickly failed and was never widely adopted. Over the past year, reports have started to emerge claiming that Google is plaining a reentrance into the set-top box market with an Android-powered set-top box. The Verge has now published an extensive report on Android TV, with screenshots of the actual interface and much more.

The report, which cites internal Google documents, claims that the idea is far along in development with major app providers already building for the platform as we speak. While Google TV was also based off of Android, this new revision is entirely rebuilt and is something very different. “Android TV is an entertainment interface, not a computing platform,” writes Google. “It’s all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction.” It will be “cinematic, fun, fluid, and fast.”

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Samsung has reportedly lost five high-ranking executives in the past two months

Photo: ibtimes.com

Photo: ibtimes.com

CNET reports that over the past two months, “at least” five high-ranking executives have departed from Samsung’s US mobile business, also known as Samsung Telecommunications America, or STA. The report, citing “people familiar with the departures”, claims that the departures have included the head of national sales, the mobile devices product chief, and a key strategist for the company’s Galaxy tablets and Gear smartwatches.

Notably, these departures all come less than a year after Gregory Lee took the reigns as president and CEO of Samsung’s US mobile and electronics business. The departures also come in the midst of the company batting Apple in yet another patent infringement case.

“As our US business continues to diversify and expand, we will continue to build an industry leading organization with people who will contribute to even greater success for Samsung,” Samsung said in a statement. “Some have left voluntarily to pursue other opportunities, and we thank them for their service.”

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Report: YouTube’s music streaming service delayed until later this year

youtube-logoLast October, Billboard reported that YouTube was planning to launch a music streaming service in late 2013 or early 2014. This evening, however, Billboard has published another report claiming that YouTube’s music streaming platform has been delayed until the second quarter of this year or beyond. According to the report, which cites “an executive briefed on YouTube’s plans”, YouTube is approaching this service with a “get it right” attitude.

The company wants to launch the first version of the service in an incredibly polished form that will help it stand out against competitors like Spotify and Rdio, which have been around for a while and have had several iterations of improvements. “They feel that there’s just too much scrutiny of this product, and that they need to get it right out of the gate,” said a senior label executive speaking to Billboard. This, of course, contradicts the strategy of YouTube’s parent company, Google, which launches services left and right in beta form, many of which get shut down relatively quickly.

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Samsung announces new wireless charging covers for Galaxy S5

Even though the Galaxy S5 is only just now going up for sale through select third-party retailers, Samsung is already busy announcing a variety of accessories for the phone. As Android Central notes, the company has just announced wireless charging covers for the device.

There will be four different models of wireless charging case to choose from this time around. First is the the standard replacement backplate with a Qi charging module in it. This case will run just $30 and be available in black or white. Next up is an S-View flip cover, again in either black or white, that adds wireless charging capabilities to the device. Samsung hasn’t announced a price for this accessory yet.

All four of these cases will incorporate the gasket that makes the Galaxy S5 water-resistant. The design of the backs are also identical to the dotted-look of the actual backing. As you’d expect, the cases should be compatible with any Qi-based chargers.

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Amazon unveils new Dash accessory with a microphone, barcode scanner to help keep your groceries stocked

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 8.58.30 PM

Amazon, just days after announcing its FireTV set-top box, has now announced a new home accessory dubbed the “Dash.” The Dash is a wand-sized device that has built in Wi-Fi, a barcode scanner and a microphone. The goal of Dash, according to Amazon, is to make shopping and remembering things you need even easier.

Simply hold down the microphone button and say the name of an item, like “orange juice”, and Dash will automatically add it to your shopping list. You can also scan the barcode of any item with the built in LED scanner to add items to your shopping list.

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Rhapsody and Napster Android apps updated with Chromecast support

Pharell_ChromecastTVApps have been adding support for Google’s $35 Chromecast everyday recently, with the likes of Vudu, JW Player, and BT Sport all joining the club. This evening, two new music services have added Chromecast support to their apps. Joining Pandora and Rdio, Rhapsody and Napster have both just announced Chromecast support for their Android apps.

Both apps received updates via the Play Store today that added the ability to Cast music to your Chromecast. After updating, you should see a new Cast icon within the apps. Tap the icon and the app will connect to your Chromecast and start playing music over whatever Google’s dongle is connected to.

Both services say that their iOS apps will receive Chromecast support later this month, but for now, both the Rhapsody and Napster updates are available on the Play Store.

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Samsung Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, & Gear Fit preorders hit Amazon w/ April 11 release date

Samsung’s new Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit wearables unveiled back in February recently went up for preorder through carrier partners and today have finally hit Amazon. The Tizen-based Samsung Gear 2 ($299) and Gear 2 Neo ($199), as well as the less expensive Gear Fit wearable ($199) recently went up for preorder through AT&T and other carrier partners alongside the Galaxy S5 with shipments expected sometime this month, but Amazon is currently listing a specific release date of April 11.

Both of the new Gear 2 devices take cues from Samsung’s previous Galaxy Gear smartwatch, with the big difference a switch to a Tizen-based OS rather than Android. Both of the new watches include a 1.63-inch touchscreen, 4Gb of internal storage, a 1GHz dual-core processor, a 300mAh battery and 512MB of RAM. The Gear 2 also features a 2MP camera with 720p video capabilities, while the Neo doesn’t include a camera at all. Gear Fit is a less expensive fitness tracker that doesn’t run Tizen or Android and offers limited functionality compared to the other smart watches.

Samsung Gear 2 ($299) and Gear 2 Neo ($199), and Gear Fit ($199) on Amazon.  Read more