Google Gives An Update On Project Ara, The Modular Smartphone

Project_Ara_scattered_partsWhen Lenovo purchased Motorola from Google for $2.9 billion earlier this year, it gave an exception to the Project Ara team, who were then (and still are) developing a fully-modular smartphone: radios, power supply, CPU, and all — the group now known as the Advanced Technology Group. Besides the fact that the endoskeleton’s parts — which make up the Ara phone — can be magnetically unlocked or locked via the phone’s app regarding the parts, the rest of the phone might also have 3D printed parts.

At this point, Google’s Ara project is often so public spoken of, despite the fact that it’s very much in-development and not in any solid, true form. However, the first Ara Developer’s Conference, occurring in Mountain View, California, on April 15-16th might shed some light on that.

Video update on the project, after the break.

Apple Confirms WWDC 2014 For June 2-6th

wwdcOh yes, indeed. The World Wide Developers Conference will run from June 2nd to the 6th, featuring all of the latest wares, software, and designs that Apple chooses to unveil on those dates.

Turns out, ticket sales are available on the website, but will now select attendees randomly — a lottery, designed so that there is a better chance to attend.

Via: WWDC

Amazon’s FireTV Is A Smart TV Box That Plays Games

amazon-fire-tvWith a quad-core processor and a dedicated GPU and 2GB of memory, the Fire TV gives you access to including Netflix, Hulu, Watch ESPN, Pandora, and Prime Instant Video. Plus, the ability to play games with a dedicated gaming controller. Oh, and voice search that keeps you from dealing with on-screen keyboards and Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound support.

The price? $100. Nicely done, Amazon.

Via: Amazon

Microsoft Makes Cortana The AI To Combat Siri, Intros New Windows Phone Tricks

ms_build_2014_windows_phone_joe_belfiore_cortana-100259149-largeToday marks Microsoft’s 2014 BUILD conference, where Windows Phone 8.1 was unveiled. The star addition? Cortana, a personal digital assistant — indeed, the same namesake as the AI in Master Chief’s suit during the Halo franchise. Yup, she’s your new Windows Phone lead feature.

Other included features include the Action Center, which is basically a notification center for Windows Phone with battery percentage indicator (yes, the platform has never had one all this time), WiFi Sense (a Windows Phone will automatically log-in to safe and trusted networks) as well as support for customizeable lockscreens and backgrounds.

Going back to Cortana, the AI features Bing as the search engine of choice, with Yelp taking care of the restaurant portion. Attractions, basic information, reminders, weather, keeping track of appointments, and even interfacing with third-party apps (something that Siri and Google Now don’t do) are all in her feature set. Cortana will roll out to customers in the coming months, and will come pre-installed on new phones later this month.

Spotify Publishes A Dark Redesign For iPhone, Web, And Desktop

overviewThis is the biggest redesign since 2008 for Spotify, across all of their platforms. Instead of the boring, grey jukebox design of old, the Spotifiy design team has a dark, modern, with green accents and a sleek new design interface that is shared through the presentation of album art to the text size and spacing of song titles in playlists — it’s a complete overhaul.

The new experience is exposed at its height on the desktop app, appears as a dark yet very readable and inviting website through the web app version, and on iOS, a mobile optimized and finger-friendly version of both aforementioned design sets.

Starting later today, the redesign will arrive on the web, iOS, and desktop app version of Spotify, with Android coming in the “near future”.

Via: Spotify

Samsung Has The Galaxy Tab 4 Range Alive And Kicking

galaxy-tab-4All sporting LTE at Category 4 speeds, the new Galaxy Tab 4 range sports some pretty mainstream specs: A 1.2GHz quad-core CPU, 1,200 x 800 WXGA graphics, Android 4.4 KitKat, 1.5GB of RAM, 16GB of memory, a MicroSD slot and 3/1.3-megapixel front/back cameras on all models.

Three screen sizes exist: a 7-inch Galaxy Tab 4 7.0, the 8-inch Galaxy Tab 4 8.0 and the most familiar of the entire Galaxy Tab rnage, the 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 4 10.1.

Colors include: black and white; diversity indeed. Pricing hasn’t been made available yet, but will be available during the current quarter.

ViaSamsung

Samsung’s New Monitor Is 28-Inches Of 4K Pixels, At $700

samsung-uhd-700The arrival of affordable 4K resolution monitors is slowly on the roll, especially with the latest arrival from Samsung, in that spectrum of hardware.

Enter, the Ultra High Definition monitor from Samsung, which is 28-inches measured diagonally, two HDMI 1.4 ports, a Displayport, and audio out port, with a minimalist design.

The 4K capability is at 60Hz refresh rate on the display itself, and also possible through the DisplayPort connection, with a billion-colors, seen at approximately 3,840 x 2,160 pxiels.

Pre-orders begin now for $700 per monitor, with a launch on the 18th of April.

Via: Amazon

A Look At: The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 On Verizon

Note 3 on VerizonSame phone, different carrier. 

Back in November of 2013, I reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Note 3; the South Korean company’s third iteration of their most successful “big phone” — i.e. a phablet. In this scenario, fast forward to March of 2014, and Samsung is ready to launch the Galaxy S5, their new flagship smartphone, which is smaller in keeping with differentiation between the models.