Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition arriving at U.S. retailers on October 10 for $549

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Samsung today announced U.S. availability for the new Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition that it first unveiled earlier this month at IFA. Preorders for the device will kick off tomorrow at midnight ET, and become available through the company’s major retail partners on October 10.

Samsung will be selling the new Note 10.1 in Jet Black and Classic White for a retail price of $549.99 (16GB) and $599.99 (32GB). Preorders will be available through select retailers, and the following stores will have stock of the device on October 10: Best Buy, Best Buy Mobile specialty stores, BestBuy.com, Amazon, PC Richard & Son, Fry’s, Tiger Direct, Walmart, Samsung.com.

As a reminder, the new Galaxy Note 10.1 features a Exynos® 5420 quad-core processor, 3GB of RAM, and a 2,560 x 1,600 pixel WQXGA display with over 4 million pixels, and that new leather-like textured backside like the new Galaxy Note III. You’ll also get those new S Pen features that we first saw on the Galaxy Note III, $600 worth of free bundled content, and other goodies. Head below for Samsung’s full press release.  Read more

Nexus 5 to “match or beat” iPhone 5s graphics performance – preliminary benchmarks

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The Nexus 5 appears set to match or beat the iPhone 5s in graphics performance, according to benchmark data posted on the the GFXBench website, achieving 23.1 frames per second in a key test.

The GFXBench T-Rex tests are one of the most demanding tests of the graphics performance of a phone, and provide a particularly good guide to how well a handset is likely to fare when paying graphics-intensive games. The just-released iPhone currently tops the T-Rex scores, but one of the four tests appears to show that the Adreno 330 expected to be used in the Nexus 5 will at least equal that performance …  Read more

Google Talk & Hangouts bug sends messages to the wrong recipients – Google investigating

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Update 2, Sept. 27: Google is reporting that Google Talk issues have now bee resolved for all users.

Update, Sept. 27: Some users are continuing to experience issues with Google Talk services today. Google says it expects “a resolution for all users in the near future.”

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TechCrunch alerted us to an issue with Google Talk and Google Hangouts, which is rather alarmingly resulting in some messages being delivered to the wrong recipients.

examples …  Read more

Samsung Galaxy NX Review: The first professional-level Android powered camera

As a blogger, taking great, print-quality photos when covering events or doing reviews is a necessity. So carrying around a big DSLR or comparable digital camera system has become a necessary evil. I say evil because the camera world and I just don’t understand each other. The camera market has become stale and full of devices that cater to professional photographers, while seemingly ignoring the incredible innovations that have happened with mobile devices in recent years. Just because pro photogs want their tried and trusted physical controls and pricey glass, doesn’t mean there isn’t room for beautiful touch screens with easy to use UIs, WiFi, LTE connectivity, USB charging, and everything we love about the app and developer ecosystem that we get with Android.

Samsung is the only company that gets it: It’s the first to integrate what is essentially a full Android smartphone on the back of a full fledged, professional mirrorless camera system. It’s the big brother, high-end version of the Galaxy Camera (review) point and shoot it introduced last year.  It’s an intriguing concept and certainly where I hoped camera manufacturers would look to when attempting to take their professional product lines out of the stone age, so I’ve been more than excited to have the opportunity to put the device to the test over the last few weeks.

DESIGN/ SPECS: Read more

YouTube launches Audio Library with more than 150 royalty-free tracks

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YouTube announced today on its YouTube Partners & Creators Blog that is launching a new Audio Library that will provide YouTubers with access royalty-free instrumental audio tracks to use in their  YouTube videos and elsewhere. The new Audio Library tool is available via a link in the YouTube video manager and currently provides access to over 150 tracks grouped by genre, instrument, and mood that can be downloaded as 320 Kbps MP3s.

Google also noted that it teamed up with a number of musicians to record the original tracks:

As you can see, this project was a whole lot of fun. We searched far and wide for musicians to create tracks for us and ended up finding co-conspirators in multiple places: an acquaintance down in LA, music houses across the country and a well-known music producer in Brooklyn. And it turns out the latter produced albums for Phish and Sean Lennon. So, we’re basically rock stars now (or we felt like them for awhile).

You can check out the new Audio Library for yourself here. Musicians that are interested in submitting music to be considered for the audio library can do so here. Unfortunately, in exchange for offering up your tunes royalty-free forever, Google does not seem to be crediting artists for their contributions in the Audio Library.  Read more

Of course Samsung is making a Gold Galaxy S4

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With Apple’s new gold iPhone 5s getting a lot of attention since its launch earlier this month, it’s not that surprising that Samsung is moving to introduce gold models of its flagship smartphone. It previously announced its Galaxy Golden, $700 dual-screen flip-phone for the Korean market, and today it is teasing two gold variants of its flagship Galaxy S4 on SamsungMobileArabia Twitter account and Samsung Gulf Facebook page. The two new colors (pictured above), include Gold Brown and Gold Pink, although Samsung isn’t actually showing off much of the device’s gold plated backside. No word on pricing or availability, but we’re assuming these won’t be making it to the US market.  Read more

Amazon to launch revamped, higher-resolution Kindle Fire ‘HDX’ as soon as tomorrow [Now launched]

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Update: Now launched – full press release below

Amazon plans to debut all-new versions of the Kindle Fire as soon as tomorrow, according to sources familiar with the products. The new Kindles are said to be redesigned both externally and internally with faster processors [Quad-core Snapdragon 800], improved graphics performance, and higher-resolution displays [323ppi for 7", 339ppi for 8.9"]. To represent the upgrade over the older Kindle Fire, Amazon will reportedly slap an “X” at the end of “HD,” making the name Kindle Fire HDX. Also reportedly in the mix are new cases that are akin to the Smart Covers that Apple sells for the iPad…

Read more

YouTube to transition to Google+ powered comments and discussions

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As we are all well aware of, YouTube comments are often some of the oddest things on the web, but as announced in a blog post today, Google is finally looking to improve the quality and relevance of comments. On the Official YouTube Blog, the company has announced that starting this week, all comments on channels with the discussion tab will be transitioned to Google+ discussions. All videos on YouTube will receive Google+ comments later this year.

This means that you will now see comments and discussions that are most relevant to you at the top of the page. For example, comments from people you know, follow, or engage with on Google+ will be shown first. This also somewhat enforces a “real name” policy on YouTube.

This also means that you will be able to create a discussion in the comments section of a video, but only with a limited circle of friends from Google+. These discussions and comments will only be visible to who you choose to share them with, not the public.

  • Comments you care about move to the top: You’ll see posts at the top of the list from the video’s creator, popular personalities, engaged discussions about the video, and people in your Google+ Circles.
  • Join the conversation publicly or privately: You can choose to start a conversation so that it is seen by everyone on YouTube and Google+, only people in your Circles or just your bestie. Like Gmail, replies are threaded so you can easily follow conversations.
  • Better ways to moderate comments: You have new tools to review comments before they’re posted, block certain words or save time by auto-approving comments from certain fans. These can help you spend less time moderating, and more time sharing videos and connecting with your fans.

Google+ powered comments will rollout to channel discussion tabs this week and all videos later this year.

Read more

Google apologizes for Gmail delivery issues, explains what happened

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Google has apologized for Gmail delivery delays experienced by some users yesterday. Google says that whilst most messages were not affected, 29% of messages were delayed by a couple of seconds, with only 1.5% of messages being critically delayed, by as much as two hours. The issue lasted for about 8 hours, starting at around 5:30 am PST.

Read more

iMessage makes the jump to Android in the form of a shady unofficial app (update: removed)

Update: The app has been removed from the Google Play Store.

Earlier this month, iMessage Chat for Android appeared on the Google Play store. The app is by no means an official Apple-created iMessage solution for Android, but the creation of a third-party developer named Daniel Zweigart. Surprisingly, according to a few users who have tried the app, it actually works. You can send messages from your Android device to your iPhone or iPad, and vice versa.

However, it’s quite possible that the Apple IDs and passwords being entered into the app are being collected by the developer for nefarious purposes.

If you’re really curious about how the app works, software developer Adam Bell has discovered that it connects to Apple’s iMessage server posing as a Mac mini. Cydia creator Jay Freeman (aka saurik) has also noted on Google+ that the app forwards all communication from Apple to a server running in China. That means every message you send or receive using this app is being processed—and possibly stored—on a server run by the creator.

However, Steven Troughton-Smith also points out that the app has the ability to download and install software in the background, meaning it is capable of putting malware on your phone without your knowledge. Given this information, we highly advise staying away from the app.

Should you decide to try downloading the app from the Google Play store, we recommend only testing it with a throwaway Apple ID that has none of your payment or personal information attached. We really can’t stress that point enough.

T-Mobile rolling out update to Moto X that dramatically improves camera performance

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When the Moto X finally made its way into the hands of consumers, many people were disappointed by the quality of photos taken with the device’s shooter. Specification-wise, the lens was no slouch, so many people were optimistic that the company would improve the sensor with a software update. Today, T-Mobile has begun rolling out an update to its Moto X variant that, according to AnandTech, greatly improves the quality of images.

  • Camera – Improved Photo Quality: Improved capture of natural light (auto-white balance) and color accuracy for more precise exposure in outdoor and backlit scenes
  • Camera – Improved Focus: Faster touch to focus time and reduced unnecessary refocusing in low light conditions and scenes with continuous motion
  • Camera – Faster Switching: Shortened the time it takes to switch between rear and front-facing cameras, as well as transition between the viewfinder and the Gallery app

AnandTech notes that the update dramatically improves the quality of images taken both indoors and outdoors with the Moto X. The update changes the tuning of the camera and improves exposure in  outdoor and backlit scenes, improves the color accuracy, and reduces the noise in low light images.

In addition to the camera improvements, the update also adds several other enhancements to the T-Mobile Moto X and fixes a handful of bugs. Read of the rest of the change log below:  Read more

Android Device Manager quietly adds ability to remotely lock devices, override previous password settings

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Google has just added an incredibly useful feature to its Android Device Manager service. As first noted by Android Police, you can now remotely lock your Android device with a specific password or passcode, should you misplace it or have it stolen.

Most notably, you can override any other pattern or pin set on the device. The Device Manager will simply ask to you to choose a new password when submitting the lock request, and when you find the device, you simply enter in that passcode to regain access. If the device is in Airplane mode, the service will automatically perform the lock request as soon as it’s reconnected to the internet.

With Google, Apple, and others under strong pressure from the government to improve device security, this feature is incredibly useful. Apple recently launched a new Activation Lock feature that requires an Apple ID and password to reactivate a device after it’s reset via Find My iPhone.

To try this functionality out for yourself, head to the Android Device Manager site and select the lock icon and be sure the service is already enabled on your device, as well.  Read more