Latest News

Facebook sashays into the fitness space with Moves acquisition

Photo 2014-04-24, 10 08 44 AM

Facebook is acquiring its way into the fitness space with a new acquisition announced this morning. Moves, an app for iOS and Android, has been used by thousands of people to track their activity, using background location services and GPS to create an automated outline of your day.

Moves is different from other phone-based activity trackers in that it attempts to add context — where you were, and what other things you were doing while walking, biking or running — and presents it in a feed.

Facebook will be acquiring the team, but will reportedly not be integrating their data for some time. Moves also has a pretty useful API that connects to apps like OptimizeMe, Lifesum, Momento, GridDiary and others.


theScore for Android adds Feed to consolidate news, scores and highlights


Popular sports news app, theScore, just received a big update on Android to answer its iOS version from last December.

Feed is integrated into MyScore, the section that places all your followed leagues, teams and players together. Feed goes further by, predictably, placing the most interesting news, scores and highlights in a relatively chronological order. Like a miniature social network within the app, the Feed is updated in real time, and works with theScore’s push notification system to ensure users don’t miss anything.

The Android app is still slightly behind its iOS counterpart in usability — some of the more fringe sports don’t receive the same attention, for example — but it’s nice to see one of the app’s best features hit Google’s platform, even if it did take five months to get here.


BlackBerry Classic set to launch in November


For the loyal BlackBerry users out there it looks like the BlackBerry Q20,otherwise known as the BlackBerry Classic, will see a release scheduled for November.

John Chen, BlackBerry’s CEO, stated in an interview with USA Today last week that “There’s a new product called the BlackBerry Classic that’s coming out. It’s an updated and enhanced version of one of our most popular and successful products called the Bold. It will include a keyboard and a good touch-screen, very fast Internet, Web-browsing capability and multimedia capability. But also it will be very productive and very secure. So, all the familiar things that people love, with some new technology updated. That will come out in November along with the server that helps companies manage devices.”

This device was announced late February and the specs will feature BES 12, “a generous 3.5-inch touchscreen,” with a “large battery” and is “crafted from premium materials and designed for reliability and durability.” In addition, the “Classic” and iconic design of this BlackBerry will bring back the navigation keys (menu, back, send, end) and a trackpad.

No word on price points or carrier partners.

Source: USA Today
Via: Berry Review


Samsung and Swarovski come together for the Galaxy S5 ‘Crystal Collection’

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 8.11.18 AM

This is just for looks and will not officially be coming to Canada. Samsung and Swarovski have teamed up to launch the “Crystal Collection” of the flagship Galaxy S5. From looking at the 13-second teaser video it seems the GS5 is generally the same and what is already available to the masses, but the back cover has been fully engulfed with Swarovski crystals. This flashy and encrusted gem will be available in Korea this coming May.



Google, Samsung and the fight for the microSD slot


It’s no accident that no Nexus devices since the Nexus One have included microSD cards. Google has been slowly chipping away at the usefulness (and viability) of using external storage within Android, both as a means to increase security, and a way to improve user experience.

With the two latest and great Android devices in the Galaxy S5 and One M8 including microSD slots — the former a given, the latter a surprise — we have come to a tipping point in the life of SD cards on the platform.

Today, most high-end Android devices come standard with either 32GB of internal storage standard, or offer secondary (and often prohibitively expensive) options for more internal storage. This is a good thing: recently Android versions, plus OEM and carrier pre-installs, often take up 5GB, reducing a user’s usable space out of the box from 16GB to around 11GB. Samsung was most famously guilty of this in last year’s GS4, and prompted a backlash from users complaining they weren’t getting what they paid for.

Leaving behind for a moment the reality that 16 million bits is not actually 16 gigaBYTES of space — and that hard drive manufacturers have been guilty of this deception for years — should Android’s microSD support die once and for all?



Sony’s Background Defocus app debuts on Google Play


Sony has debuted its standalone Background Defocus app in the Play Store ahead of the release of the Xperia Z2.

The company has been recently decoupling many of its core apps, from camera features to its own keyboard, in a quest to make updates faster and more seamless. Background Defocus is, like Nokia’s Refocus, a single function application that allows users to take a photo and add a background blur. A feature currently in vogue, the HTC One enables this at the hardware level, capturing two photos simultaneously, while the Samsung Galaxy S5′s Selective Focus feature takes multiple photos to determine the placement of an object in space.

Recently, Google released a standalone Camera app for all Android devices running KitKat or above, featuring a similar technology called Lens Blur. While it appears that Sony’s Background Defocus app is a little more granular — you can adjust background blur on a sliding scale, rather than tapping on a part of the photo like in other apps — its presence is no longer as interesting as it sounded when the app debuted alongside the Xperia Z1s at CES.

The good news is that Background Defocus will work with any Xperia device running Android 4.3 or higher, which comprises a good chunk of its recent flagships, from the ZL to the Z Ultra, Z1 and above.


Canadians travelling to the U.S. can now rent smartphones with unlimited data and calling

Explora smartphone rental

Canadians travelling to the U.S. have a limited set of less than favourable options when it comes to using their smartphone. They can A) try to live off of Wi-Fi for the duration of their trip B) sign up for a travelling plan from their local carrier with marked up data prices C) try to snag a local U.S. SIM card D) suck it up and pay exorbitant roaming fees. Explora is now presenting a new option to jet setting Canadians: a rented smartphone with the requisite bells and whistles.

For $8 per day, international travellers can rent a Google Nexus 5 with unlimited data and nationwide calling. The phone is sent to a pre-specified hotel or residential address for easy pickup upon arrival, and can be returned via a pre-paid envelope once the trip is done. The Nexus 5 also comes pre-loaded with 40 apps, many of which you’d expect (Facebook, Google Maps, Skype, Expedia, etc.), and some feature special offers just for Explora customers (Taxi Magic, for example, knocks $10 off travellers’ first cab fare).

While the $8 flat fee will add up over extended trips, it’s perfect for a weekend jaunt to New York, and the convenience factor is significant. If Explora can improve the device selection and pre-loaded app offers, it might have a real winner. We’ll certainly give it a try during our next U.S. trip.

Via: Explora


Facebook now at 609M mobile daily active users, 59% of ad revenue from mobile


When Facebook initially filed its IPO back in 2012, it noted that mobile in general, and its capacity to monetize its mobile products in specific, were considerable risks to the company’s growth. Today Facebook released its Q1 2014 results, demonstrating just how much has changed in two years.

Facebook posted a revenue total of $2.5 billion during the quarter, a 72% increase year-over-year. $2.27 billion of that revenue came from advertising, of which mobile advertising represented 59%, a 30% increase year-over-year.

Mobile also played a big role in Facebook’s operational highlights. As of March 31st, Facebook now has 1.01 billion mobile monthly active users, an increase of 34% year-over-year, at an average of 609 million mobile daily active users. Facebook’s mobile growth far outpaced its total growth, which is now at 1.28 billion monthly active users, an increase of 15% year-over-year.

“Facebook’s business is strong and growing, and this quarter was a great start to 2014,” Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. “We’ve made some long term bets on the future while staying focused on executing and improving our core products and business. We’re in great position to continue making progress towards our mission.”

Facebook will be hosting a conference call at 5pm EST today about its Q1 2014 results, and we’re sure mobile will be a hot topic of conversation.


Apple Q2 earnings: $11.62 EPS on $45.6 billion revenue, 43.7 million iPhones sold


Apple reported its Q2 2014 earnings this afternoon, and though the company erred on the conservative side of guidance, it earned record revenue and strong profit numbers.

The company earned $11.62 per share on revenue of $45.6 billion, walking away with $10.2 billion in net profit. The numbers, including strong gross margins of 39.3%, were up marginally from the same quarter last year.

Selling 43.7 million iPhones and 16.3 million iPads, Apple continued to show strong sales from a quarter that saw no new products. Though Cupertino doesn’t break down its sales by type of iPhone, it’s believed that the 5s outsells the 5c by a margin of two to one. Apple stated that 66% of the quarter’s revenues were from international markets, so much of the iPhone’s growth is from developing regions like China. The iPhone’s sales numbers got a small boost by a slightly lower average sales price (ASP) of $596, down slightly from a year ago. The likely cause is a boost in sales from older devices like the iPhone 4s and, to some extent, the iPhone 5c.

Though the iPhone’s sales continue to excel, increasing from 37.4 million to 43.7 million, iPad sales have dropped precipitously. Indeed, the company sold 19.5 million devices the same time last year, compared to just 16.3 million in Q2 2014. With a strong lineup of devices, including the refreshed iPad 4, the Retina iPad mini and the iPad Air, it appears that either customers are unsure how the iPad fits in with their existing workflow, or are choosing to buy cheaper Android tablets that do most of what an iPad does at a fraction of the cost. (more…)


Motorola reportedly prepping Moto E, a dual-core 720p Android device that’s 6.2mm thin


Motorola is reportedly attempting to transmute the essence of the Moto G into an even smaller, cheaper package. According to Xataka México, Motorola was impressed with the sales figures of the $200 Moto G and felt it necessary to draw down some of those extra costs.

The Moto E will reportedly cost around $150 USD, with a 4.3-inch 1280×720 pixel display, a 1.2Ghz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage, a 5MP camera, a 1900mAh battery cell, Android 4.4 KitKat and, of course, HSPA+ connectivity. (more…)