Screenshots of Samsung’s ‘Galaxy Gear’ smartwatch companion app leak ahead of Sept. 4 unveiling

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We’ve been hearing a lot about Samsung’s upcoming smartwatch dubbed “Galaxy Gear” in recent weeks, and just a few days ago Samsung’s Lee Young-hee confirmed that the device would make its first official appearance at the company’s event scheduled for Sept. 4 in Berlin. Today, Evleaks points us to the screenshots above showing what appears to be the device’s companion app that will likely be available for all Android devices, although there is still the possibility it will only support Samsung’s own Android devices.

The screenshots above confirm the device will pair with Bluetooth, and there is also a section within the app to manage “Samsung Apps.” Another feature called “Find my watch” sounds a lot like a feature for locating a missing Galaxy Gear and Samsung also references wireless charging: “turn on NFC in Settings and bring the mobile device and charger together, back to back.

We reported previously of claims that the Galaxy Gear would pack in a 2.5 inch OLED display, dual core processor, an accelerometer, speakers, and built-in NFC, and another that added 1GB of RAM, a “320×320 1.67-inch AMOLED display” and an ARM Mali-400 MP4 GPU. There is still nothing official for specs, but it’s likely we’ll be seeing something similar to the above based on the prototypes and developer units floating around. Read more

Samsung Galaxy NX Camera available in the US starting October for $1,599/$1,699 w/lens

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Samsung announced today that the new Galaxy NX camera that it first showed off at a London event back in June will soon become available in the US after landing in the UK this month. Starting October, you’ll be able to pick one up for a hefty $1,599 (body only) or $1,699 with the bundled 18-55mm lens. This is the first time Samsung, or just about any big camera manufacturer, has released a professional mirrorless camera system running a full-blown Android OS. The device follows the more consumer friendly and less expensive compact Samsung Galaxy Camera it introduced last year. To navigate through the Android 4.2.2 UI, the Galaxy NX packs in a 4.8″ HD TFT LCD touchscreen display, 1.6GHz quad core processor with separate image signalling processor, hybrid autofocus, and a 20.3mp sensor. The device will also support 13 interchangeable lenses from the NX line and a brand new 10mm fish eye lens. And what good would an Android camera be without built-in Wifi and LTE capabilities? The Samsung Galaxy NX is definitely an interesting move for Samsung and we plan on bringing you a full review of the device soon.  Read more

Google remains digital ad king, Facebook making gains in mobile, no one else close

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Increased competition in digital advertising doesn’t seem to be hurting Google: the company is on track to increase its market share to almost 33 percent this year, with a commanding 53% in mobile advertising. The projections were made by research company eMarketer based on an analysis of company reports, though both dollar and percentage figures are slightly down on its earlier predictions back in June …  Read more

Hugo Barra resigns from position at Google, will join China’s Xiaomi

Image: Wired.com

Image: Wired.com

According to a new report from AllThingsD, citing “sources in position to know”, one of Google’s top Android executives is leaving the company. The report states that Hugo Barra, who was the vice president of product management for Android, will soon be departing the company to join Chinese phone maker Xiaomi. Xiaomi produces its own high-end Android-based devices, though with a heavy custom skin on top. Barra originally joined Google in 2008 as a group product manager, having previously worked for speech firm Nuance, and has moved up the totem pole since then.

This news comes on the heels of Andy Rubin, the creator Android, stepping down from his position earlier this year. Given that Android is Google’s top product right now, Barra’s decision, especially when coupled with Rubin’s departure, will undoubtedly cause some tension within the company. Barra often appeared on stage at Google events, most recently at the second-generation Nexus 7 unveil.

AllThingsD also says that Barra tendered his resignation only recently, but that it was before he ended a romantic relationship with another Google employe. It is now believed that Sergey Brin, who recently split from his wife, is currently involved with Barra’s ex.  Sticky.

Update: Barra’s G+ statement:

A new Android chapter

After nearly 5½ years at Google and almost 3 years as a member of the Android team — the most amazing group of people I’ve ever worked with in my life — I have decided to start a new career chapter.

In a few weeks, I’ll be joining the Xiaomi team in China to help them expand their incredible product portfolio and business globally — as Vice President, Xiaomi Global.  I’m really looking forward to this new challenge, and am particularly excited about the opportunity to continue to help drive the Android ecosystem.

It has been an amazing ride and true honor to be part of the Android team at Google, and I especially want to thank +Andy Rubin , +Hiroshi Lockheimer , +Sundar Pichai and +Vic Gundotra for their phenomenal support and mentorship over the years.

+Android team, I will truly miss you all!

Sundar Pinchai’s statement:
Congratulations to Hugo on his exciting new adventure. We’ll miss him at Google but we’re thrilled that he’s sticking with Android. Best wishes Hugo!

Read more

Sergey Brin splits up with wife with ties to Google

It’s never fun when personal matters become issues for a company but founder Sergey Brin owns a lot of voting stock in Google and a split in his family could send a lot of his $22.8B in wealth and power off to parts unknown. According to AllThingsD, wife Anne Wojcicki had a prenup. so a risk to Brin’s voting share of the company would seem to be minimal. The couple is reportedly still married though living in separate residences.

The report goes on to say Brin is now with someone else he met at Google.

Wojcicki’s sister, Susan, is SVP of advertising and commerce Google (and one of the original Googlers and provided the garage where Brin and Page got their start) so there’s even more stickiness to deal with if things do get sticky.

 

 

 

Google drops Nexus 4 price to just $199 for 8GB, $249 for 16GB

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Google has just announced that it is cutting the price of its Nexus 4 in Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, Korea, the United States, and the UK. The device now runs just $199 for 8GB of storage and $249 for 16GB in the United States. Previously, it was priced at $299 for 8GB and $349 for 16GB.

Even though the Nexus 4 was released nearly a year ago, it’s still very solid smartphone, and will continue to get updates directly from Google for a long time to come. The device is powered by a 1.5GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with 2GB of RAM and an 8MP camera.

Google is expected to announce a new Nexus device sometime this fall, though exact details still remain up in the air. Some rumors point to Motorola manufacturing the device, while others claim that it will be LG again.

At the same price as many phones are on-contract, the $199 off-contract Nexus 4 is a great deal. It’s available on Google Play now and will ship within 1-2 business days, though that may change depending on demand. Read more

AT&T’s Moto X now available to purchase directly through MotoMaker, $579 off-contract, ships in 8 days

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Five days after arriving on AT&T, Motorola announced today that its new Moto X flagship smartphone is now available to purchase directly through its Moto Maker website. Previously customers were forced to purchase the device through AT&T and enter a code on the Moto Maker site to start the customization process. Starting today, Motorola will allow AT&T customers to purchase the device directly through the Moto Maker site for $199 (16GB) or $299 (32GB) on contract, and it’s also making the device available without a contract for $579 (16GB) or $629 (32GB). While Motorola originally planned to ship devices ordered through Moto Maker in 4 days, the site is currently quoting a shipping time of 8 days.

The Moto Maker tool is the standout feature of the Moto X, allowing users to choose from over 2000 customization options for back, front and accent colors, unique wallpapers, and engraving. Unfortunately, we found out earlier this month that engraving won’t be available initially due to some manufacturing issues.

Verizon announced that Moto X would arrive in black and white on August 29, but the Moto Maker customization tool remains and exclusive to AT&T. Other major US carriers are expected to start carrying the Moto X by early September.  Read more

Doctor uses Google Glass to share surgery with colleagues/students across town.

Google Glass surgery

A novel new use for Google Glass: In the operating room, a surgeon does an operation wearing Google Glass and shares the procedure real time with his colleagues and students in a far off classroom via Google Hangouts.

“It’s a privilege to be a part of this project as we explore how this exciting new technology might be incorporated into the everyday care of our patients,” said Dr. Christopher Kaeding. “To be honest, once we got into the surgery, I often forgot the device was there.”

Google Glass has a frame similar to traditional glasses, but instead of lenses, there is a small glass block that sits above the right eye. On that glass is a computer screen that, with a simple voice command, allows users to pull up information as they would on any other computer. Attached to the front of the device is a camera that offers a point-of-view image and the ability to take both photos and videos while the device is worn.

It seems like only last week Doctors were using iPads for surgeries.  Read more

Google launches app for iOS to setup Chromecast, manage settings

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Google has released a new application for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch to make it easier for users to setup and manage the Chromecast TV device.

• Set up your Chromecast to work with your Wi-Fi network
• Manage your Chromecast settings (such as changing your device name, Wi-Fi password, etc.)

The application is free on the App Store. The Google Chromecast is a device that plugs into a TV set via an HDMI port. The Chromecast allows users to stream content, such as YouTube and Netflix, from devices like computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Read more

Microsoft’s latest painful Scroogled ad fails school

Microsoft is still going  with its Scroogled ad campaign (though by the production value, they aren’t investing much).  Dubbed  ‘misleading and intellectually dishonest’  this campaign has tried to paint Google as a company without scruples but in playing sloppy with facts, does the opposite.

This particular ad focuses on schools. Microsoft recently offloaded all of their unsold Surface RTs to the education market for reduced fees. They have a Bing for Schools search engine which doesn’t show ads in the results. Google’s search engine does but its other education products don’t.

As for Google, they say there are no ads for Students,Faculty and Staff in their Free Apps for Education product.

Inbox space for everything, and no ads

Google Apps offers up to 30GB of storage per user, powerful spam filtering and a 99.9% uptime SLA. All hosted by Google – there’s no cost, and no ads for students, faculty or staff.

So, uhh, back to the drawing board?  Read more

Rumored Sony Xperia ‘Honami’ smartphone appears in official teaser ahead of Sept. 4 event

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A couple images allegedly showing an upcoming Sony smartphone codenamed Honami have been showing up in recent weeks. Honami, aka the Xperia i1, might have just made its first official appearance ahead of a Sony press even scheduled for September 4th in Berlin with the company posting the above teaser image to its Google+ page (via Engadget). There is still no confirmation from Sony that this is indeed the 5-inch device that we’ve been hearing about, but from what we can see the image does seem to line up with earlier leaks. Other specs that have been rumored for Honami include a 20 megapixel camera, 1080p display, and Snapdragon 800 processor. Judging by the image above and the accompanying “Have we captured your attention yet?” tagline, Sony will likely spend a lot of time focusing on the rumored 20 megapixel camera when it finally unveils the device. We’ll be on hand early next month to bring you all the official details.  Read more