Google posts I/O registration, opens at 10 a.m. EST on March 13

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Update: Google leaked its registration page for Google I/O early on Friday, as 9to5Google first reported, and then abruptly removed the sign up information, but now the page is officially live again with details about when and how to register for the upcoming conference.

Two separate tipsters sent 9to5Google screenshots of the Developers I/O page—and they definitely looked legit—when the registration page originally leaked earlier today. Registration for Google I/O 2013 will open March 13 at 10 a.m. EST, according to those screen grabs and the current live page.

A collection of tweets below show quite a few people were able to access the page before Google removed and then reinstated the registration details. Among the particulars, Google recommended folks set up their Google+ and Google Wallet accounts prior to registering on March 13.

Google also confirmed via the Google Developers Google+ page that tickets will cost $900 USD for general attendees and $300 USD for academic attendees, and it expects tickets to sell out quickly.

Google I/O 2013 will kick off May 15 and go until May 17 in San Francisco. The Internet Giant held its annual event in June of last year, instead of May, but it opened registration in March, as well, and took less than an hour to sell out.

Registration is typically hectic for Google I/O events, with many potential attendees finding themselves locked out or unable to access the registration servers. Also, with Google launching Pixel and Glass, this year’s ticket will be the hottest on record.

Perhaps Google should rent Candlestick instead of Moscone.

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Oh, that Pixel Chromebook: It will make some people very happy

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It’s been a few hours since the Chromebook Pixel was announced and I’ve been gauging reactions from around the web.

To be blunt it isn’t good at all.

The things that made the leaked video seem fake are the same things people are complaining about.  The weird 2560×1700 3:2ish pixel display, the square edges and Steve Jobs non-approved vertical touch interface for Chrome.

The new information today doesn’t make it any more enticing. The $1300-1450 price tag is a killer for a platform that recently found its sweet spot with $200-$250 Chromebooks from Acer and Samsung. I mean, you can buy 2 Samsung and 4 Acer Chromebooks for the price of one Pixel…without LTE. The specs, for a clearly high end computer aren’t inspiring either.

USB2 (where do they even find a MoBo chipset that doesn’t have USB3?) Only 5 hours of battery life (save $1050 and get 6.5 hours with the ARM-powered Samsung)? 4 GB RAM (I have a lot of tabs!)? Even 32/64 GB SSD? These are not super-impressive specs, especially not for a high end $1300 flagship machine.

But there are some really big ‘hidden’ benefits which will make many people happy. Read more

Nexus 4 goes free on contract from T-Mobile, still better deal at Play store for $350

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Want a 16GB Nexus 4 on the cheap? Well, T-Mobile is offering a free Nexus 4 if you sign a two-year contract before Feb. 24. Not everyone is keen on contracts, though, but this is one of the most hot-selling Android smartphones on the market right now (and no one can beat free). 

Check it out:

The Nexus 4 notably boasts a 4.7-inch WXGA True HD screen, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, 8-megapixel main camera with LED flash, 2100 mAh battery, and quad-core 1.5 GHz processor.

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‘Ultra-rugged’ 4G LTE Kyocera Torque to land March 8 on Sprint for $100 (Videos)

Kyocera’s latest Android smartphone, the Torque, is an “ultra-rugged” 4G LTE device with Ice Cream Sandwich, but the outdoorsy-type will mostly enjoy its Military 810G Standard and ability to withstand water and dust immersion, shock, vibration, solar radiation, humidity, and extreme temperatures.

So, you can go ahead and dip the Torque into one meter of water for up to 30 minutes, drop it from 4 feet roughly 26 times a day, pile dust on top for 6 hours, expose it to salty fog for 2 days, lay it in the sun for a day, hang out in 95-percent humidity weather for 10 days, or hike Death Valley for 3 hours—all without negatively affecting the Torque.

Bear Grylls, of Discovery Channel’s popular “Man vs. Wild” TV show, even gave the Torque two thumbs up in a series of campaign ads (above and below). If interested in Kyocera’s Torque, pick one up when it lands March 8 on Sprint with a $99.99 price tag after a two-year contract and $50 mail-in rebate.

More videos and the press release are below.

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Chrome enters version 25 with speech-to-text API

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Chrome version 25 was released with a new Web Speech API that allows web developers to integrate speech-to-text dictation into their web applications.

The other feature of importance on the new version is the removal of “silent extensions.” Silent extensions are web-browser extensions that install without your knowledge. From now on, every web extension installation must be manually approved.

The updated version is available here, but Chrome’s auto-update feature may have already installed it for you.

The Chromebook Pixel is real: 12.85-inch Retina touch display, $1,299 for Wi-Fi, $1,449 for LTE — starts shipping next week

Chromebook-PixelThe rumors were true: Google just announced the Chromebook Pixel. It’s a 12.85-inch touchscreen Chromebook with a 2,560-by-1,700 display that packs in “the highest pixel density (239 pixels per inch) of any laptop screen on the market today.” After a video of a touch-enabled Chrome Pixel went viral last month, the Wall Street Journal followed up with a report last night that claimed Google was working on bringing touch to Chromebooks.

The 3.35 lbs. Chromebook Pixel includes a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 Processor, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 4G of RAM, two USB ports, mini display port, 2-in-1 card reader, and a 32GB SSD. Google quoted up to 5 hours of active use for battery life. Of course, the main attraction is the display:

SCREEN
-12.85″ display with a 3:2 aspect ratio
-2560 x 1700, at 239 PPI
-400 nit screen
-178° extra-wide viewing angle

The Pixel has been engineered with the highest quality components to ensure it’s comfortable to use all day long and meets the needs of demanding power users. The body of the Pixel is made from an anodized aluminum alloy to create a smooth and durable surface; vents are hidden, screws are invisible and the stereo speakers are seamlessly tucked away beneath the backlit keyboard. The touchpad is made from etched glass, analyzed and honed using a laser microscope to ensure precise navigation. The Pixel also has powerful, full-range speakers for crisp sound, a 720p webcam for clear video, and a total of three microphones designed to cancel out surrounding noise.

Google said the Chromebook Pixel will be available to purchase starting today in the U.S. and U.K. from Google Play and soon through BestBuy’s online store. Google will sell a Wi-Fi only version for $1,299 U.S. and £1,049 U.K and a LTE model that will ship in April for $1,449. However, factoring in the free 1TB Google Drive cloud storage that Google is offering (for 3 years), the price comes down significantly for those who will want take advantage. Google normally charges $50 a month—or $600 a year—for 1TB.

Motorola offering $50 Google Play app credit with purchase of a new phone

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With so much mobile competition, companies are always trying to get you to buy their phone, today, Motorola has decided to join in on the fun. In an announcement made online, Motorola is offering a $50 dollar Google Play gift card to use on anything available in the app store. You’ll only get the gift card though if you purchase one of the eligible phones Motorola is promoting such as the Droid Razr Maxx or HD. The sale ends on March 4th, so if you want in on the deal you’ll have to act fast. The full list of phones is available below.

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YouTube views now included in Billboard & Nielsen music charts, pushes ‘Harlem Shake’ to No. 1

Why is the YouTube craze “Harlem Shake” debuting at No. 1 on Billboard this week? YouTube announced today that it is partnering with Billboard and Nielsen to include its U.S. data on YouTube views for a number of music charts including the Hot 100 List. Billboard’s Hot 100, for example, traditionally utilized sales and airplay data, but more recently moved to include data from streaming services such as Spotify and now YouTube. YouTube noted in a post on the Official YouTube blog that the data would also include views from user-generated videos that have authorized audio.

This announcement marks a big step in accurately reflecting how music lovers are finding their new favorite songs. And it builds upon our efforts to share this kind of data with key industry analytical tools like Next Big Sound and BigChampagne, which also help artists succeed both on and offline. Most importantly, we hope this news will excite our users, who have helped us discover some of the biggest stars and songs of the past seven years.

The data will initially be used to influence the U.S. “Hot” charts, including: the Hot 100 List, Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, R&B Songs, Rap Songs, Hot Latin Songs, Hot Rock Songs, and Dance/Electronic Songs.

Patent diagrams of Google Glass show a new, detailed view

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A United States Patent Application filling from today revealed three detailed diagrams of Google Glass. Google announced yesterday that it would open applications, asking people to answer the question “If I had Glass”. A Google-approved, answer along with $1,500, will score you a set of the futuristic glasses this year. The new diagrams, along with many pages, detail the future potential. In the filling, mentions of Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth, and more are all listed as connectivity options, as well as back-up battery slots that accept AA and AAA batteries to help keep that LTE juice flowing all day. Some other features of the device possibly include touch input all along the frame of the glasses and different RAM, battery, and storage configurations.

Other possible mentioned features are:

  • Gyroscope and accelerometer
  • Retina laser scanner
  • Semi-transparent LED display
  • Balanced internal distribution for “predetermined weight distribution”

While there are tons of mentioned features in the filling, it’s unsure how many will actually come to life when Glass launches officially next year.

LG’s Jelly Bean-equipped Optimus F5 and F7 to boost 4G LTE presence

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LG announced on Thursday that it plans to expand its 4G LTE footprint by launching the Optimus F5 and Optimus F7 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week.

Aside from sporting 4G LTE, the Optimus F5 has a 4.3-inch IPS display, 1.2GHz Dual-Core processor, and 2,150mAh battery. The Optimus F7 is the more high-end LTE smartphone due to its 4.7-inch True HD IPS display, 1.5GHz Dual-Core processor, and 2,540mAh battery.

Both handsets will début with latest Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2 OS and include LG’s upgraded QSlide and Live Zooming user-interface features.

LG said in a press release that the worldwide rollout of the Optimus F5 will begin in the second quarter in Europe, while the Optimus F7 will launch soon after in selected markets. The announcement didn’t offer information on exact timing or pricing.

Check out the press release and an image gallery below for more details.

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Google rumored to be working with Warby Parker on Google Glass

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…Or so says the New York Times. I just like the idea of a Google Glass Monacle.

In a sign of how acute the challenge is for Google, the company is negotiating with Warby Parker, an e-commerce start-up company that sells trendy eyeglasses, to help it design more fashionable frames, according to two people briefed on the negotiations who were not authorized to speak publicly because the partnership has not been made official. Google and Warby Parker declined to comment.

It is pretty clear that Google will need some serious design effort to get these things to go mainstream.