HTC One Mini to go on sale by August, according to report

We’ve heard quite a bit about a smaller, low-cost HTC One variant. Originally referred to as the M4, images and specs of the HTC One Mini have been leaked before, seemingly confirming the device’s existence. The main questions now surround the release of the smartphone.

Bloomberg on Wednesday published a report claiming it has heard detailed information about the HTC One Mini from “two people briefed on the plans who asked not to be identified because details aren’t public”. The report mentions that the device will have a 4.3-inch display with a lower resolution than the original HTC One, as well as a “less powerful” Qualcomm CPU. The sources go on to claim that the One Mini will go on sale “by August.”

The new model features a 4.3-inch screen, compared with 4.7 inches for the original version, and will go on sale by August, according to two people briefed on the plans who asked not to be identified because details aren’t public. The device will probably have a less-powerful Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) processor and lower-resolution screen than the flagship, said one of the people.

Earlier reports had far more specific specifications, claiming a 720p 4.3-inch display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and a 4MP UltraPixel camera.

Miniature versions of flagship devices have become a common trend this year, with Samsung having recently announced the Galaxy S4 Mini.

Samsung officially announces the S4 Zoom, the camera that thinks it’s a smartphone

Most people have stopped carrying compact cameras, considering the one built into their smartphone good enough for the job. But there are those who ask a little more of their cameras, for whom carrying two gadgets is a necessary evil. It’s those people Samsung is targeting with a device we first mentioned last month, the Galaxy S4 Zoom: a compact camera on the front, an Android handset on the back. This one seems to address the major issue we had with our original Galaxy Camera review: its really large, heavy size and inability to make calls…  Read more

Google Glass teardown: “It’s surprisingly simple”

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What’s the first thing you do when you’ve just picked up your $1500 Google Glass headset? If you’re Scott Torborg and Star Simpsons, it’s apparently to reach for the spudges and screwdrivers …

We eagerly brought Glass back to the lab to begin the dissection. Speculation reigned: what if the entire body of Glass is potted with epoxy requiring strong solvents to access? Which part is the battery in? How hackable is this thing? Where are the sensors? Any extra hardware features yet to be unlocked by future software updates? But first, where to even begin opening it?

With no idea of what lay ahead, we started by removing the titanium frame from the pod that holds all the good stuff …  Read more

Google partners with HP to push Apps to small-medium businesses in blow to Microsoft

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Google has partnered with HP, the world’s largest PC manufacturer, to promote Google Apps to small businesses, reports AllThingsD.

HP has become a Google Apps reseller and will package management tools with its PCs, printers and other IT gear.

Although more than five million businesses use Google Docs, Microsoft Office remains the default solution, with many either unaware of Google Apps or unsure of how to use them. But if you buy a PC and it comes with Google Apps pre-installed, you’re much more likely to give it a try …  Read more

Google asks U.S. government to disclose national security FISA requests

PRISM-slide

Following Google’s denial of being involved in the PRISM surveillance claims in which the National Security Agency was accused of tapping into servers of 9 tech companies for details of user activity, Google today published a letter it just sent to the U.S. government requesting the release of more national security request data.

Google this morning sent a letter to the Attorney General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation asking that it be allowed to publish “aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures—in terms of both the number we receive and their scope.”

Assertions in the press that our compliance with these requests gives the U.S. government unfettered access to our users’ data are simply untrue. However, government nondisclosure obligations regarding the number of FISA national security requests that Google receives, as well as the number of accounts covered by those requests, fuel that speculation.

Google continued by noting that the numbers “would clearly show that our compliance with these requests falls far short of the claims being made. Google has nothing to hide.”

The full letter is below: Read more

Google announces Waze acquisition, plans to enhance Google Maps w/ traffic update features & integrate Google Search in Waze

waze_logo2The rumors were true: Google just officially confirmed in a blog post that it has acquired mapping company Waze with some big plans to integrate the Israel-based company’s traffic related features into Google Maps.

WazeGoogle confirmed in the announcement that it has acquired the company but didn’t provide any financial details related to the deal. Waze for now will continue to operate in Israel separate from the Google Maps team, but Google also has plans to integrate its search technology into Waze products.

We’ll also work closely with the vibrant Waze community, who are the DNA of this app, to ensure they have what’s needed to grow and prosper.

As for what specific traffic features you might see come to Google Maps, Google’s Vice President of Geo Brian McClendon notes “The Waze community and its dedicated team have created a great source of timely road corrections and updates.”

Google had been rumored several times in recent weeks to be acquiring the company with the latest reports claiming the deal would be somewhere in the $1B range. Read more

What effect will Apple’s choice of Bing for Siri in iOS 7 have on Google?

Microsoft must be pretty happy with Apple’s decision to include Bing as the default search engine powered web results in Apple’s revamped Siri application heading to iOS 7 this fall. However, what does this all mean for Google? It could very well signal Apple’s increasing desire to cut its reliance on services powered by its biggest competitor in the smartphone space.

Before iOS 7, searching for something with Siri would often turn up the option to search for web results. Doing so would give you results through Safari using your default search engine (which by default is set to Google). Now, in iOS 7, web results will be displayed right in the Siri app, however, they will be powered by Microsoft’s Bing– and not Google.  Read more

Reductive, geometric, front-facing: a look at Google’s design principles

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Roger Oddone, a senior graphical designer at Google, has provided a rare look behind the scenes at Google’s design principles, putting the company’s Visual Assets Guidelines online (via Gizmodo). The aim of the documents is to create a …

solid, yet flexible, set of guidelines that have been helping Google’s designers and vendors to produce high-quality work that helps strengthen Google’s identity …  Read more

PRISM update: how both the claims and the denials may be true

The NSA's $2b data centre in Bluffdale, Utah (source: businessweek.com)

The NSA’s $2b data centre in Bluffdale, Utah (source: businessweek.com)

Security researchers examining the PRISM denials made by the companies alleged to be providing data to the NSA say that the language used is suspiciously similar. The emphasis is ours:

Google: First, we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government—or any other government—direct access to our servers.

Apple: “We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order.”

Facebook: Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers.

The fact that the exact same phrase has been used seems unlikely to be a coincidence. One security researcher I spoke to said the wording only eliminated the NSA pulling data from the servers; it did not mean the companies were not pushing the data to the NSA. If the NSA obtained a secret court order requiring the companies to hand over the data, then of course statements that they only provide data when required to do so by law would also be true …  Read more

Replay: Google to buy mapping company Waze for $1.1-1.3B

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Globes.co.il is again reporting that Waze the crowd-sourced Israeli mapping company is being acquired. The rumored suitor this time around is Google and they are prepared to spend $1.3B for the mapping software. The deal could close as early as Tuesday. Bloomberg also thinks this deal is happening but puts a slightly lower $1.1B price tag on the deal.

Unless this is a defensive move, the purchase doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Google already has one of, if not the best Maps DB out there and there would be a lot of overlap with Waze’s Data.

Also, Waze appears to use the media to help with negotiations (see previous ‘leaks’) – perhaps a Facebook, Apple or Microsoft deal is going down. We’ll see, we’ll see.  Read more

Review: White Google/LG Nexus 4…Same great phone, now in white

Well, I did it. I got my hands on a White Nexus 4 to review. And, as you probably would have guessed it is a lot like the black version. In fact that’s pretty much all I have to say for this ‘review’: It is white and just as, if not more, attractive than the original – and that’s the back. The front is identical and still black. See gallery above.

But there are some things to note here, not the least of which is the white bumper that came along with it. It is great! Fits like a glove, and will help prevent breakage. The downside is that it adds a bit of size to the phone and doesn’t completely cover the glass backside.

Also, the Nexus 4 has been my daily driver since I got it in October. It is still my go to phone after reviewing such beauties as the HTC One or the Samsung Galaxy S4 or even its recent cousin the LG Optimus Pro. How is the Nexus 4 holding up and why do I like it more than the ‘superphones’ released this year? Read more