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Twitter acquires Android lock screen replacement Cover

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Twitter has acquired Cover, the high-profile contextual lock screen replacement that emerged from private beta late last year.

The acquisition comes after Yahoo bought Aviate, with offered a similar product as a home screen replacement. Cover will continue to be offered in the Play Store for now, but that may change as Twitter decides what it wants to do with it. Cover’s an interesting product because it uses your phone’s lock screen as a context gateway, offering shortcuts to apps that you use most often depending on the situation.

Twitter has also been working on improving its Android app in recent months, but the development continues to feel a step behind its iOS counterpart. The company also tends to offer unique services like the now-defunct Twitter Music, only on Apple’s platform. Still, acquiring Cover means that Twitter sees potential in bringing its social network to a new spectrum of Android users, which is good news for the ecosystem as a whole.

“Twitter, like Cover, believes in the incredible potential of Android. They share our vision that smartphones can be a lot smarter — more useful and more contextual — and together we’re going to make that happen. We’ll be building upon a lot of what makes Cover great, and we’re thrilled to create something even better at Twitter.”

Anyone use Cover here? Does this decision change your mind about it?

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Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 808 and 810 SoCs bring 64-bit to Android’s future flagships

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So far, we’ve seen Qualcomm announce three 64-bit systems-on-a-chip, the 410, 610 and 615. All of these, though unreleased, target the mid- to upper-mid crowd, but today’s announcement of the Snapdragon 808 and 810 reinforce Qualcomm’s commitment to the high-end.

The chips won’t launch until sometime in 2015, so don’t get your hopes up too high, but when they arrive they’ll be among the first supporting ARM’s new ARMv8 instruction set, along with newer technologies like CAT6/7 LTE and 3x20Mhz carrier aggregation, among others. (more…)

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Montreal Children’s Hospital launches text message service to reduce wait times

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Waiting to see your doctor is a source of frustration for many Canadians. Several independent organizations have installed kiosks that allow patients to register their smartphone and receive a text a few minutes before the doc is ready to see you. These all come a price per text at $3.

The Montreal Children’s Hospital in Quebec has launched a similar service to those visiting the hospital and they are calling it “a first of its kind in Québec.” This is only available to those visiting the emergency department and one must first register their child’s hospital card or Medicare card number and register their number through the kiosk at the hospital or the website. Wait times are sent via text every five minutes and alerts are only sent when five or less patients are ahead of them.

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There doesn’t seem to be a service charge like the others, but it does count as a text message on your monthly carrier bill.

Dr. Harley Eisman, Director of the Montreal Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Emergency Department, stated “the goal is to make wait times more palatable for patients and families so that ultimately, they can make more empowered decisions. Sometimes, this can mean that they decide to go for a walk, or get a bite to eat while they wait instead of sitting in the waiting room, and other times, it may mean they decide to go home or seek care elsewhere. Ultimately, we hope that by giving parents more options with this new service, it will help to enhance the patient experience.”

Source: MUHC

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Microsoft claims Windows Store has 400,000 apps, saw its 5 billionth download in March

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Microsoft’s General Manager of the Windows Store offered up a bunch of new information about the company’s two main mobile platforms today, claiming massive increases in sales numbers since last year.

Specifically, combined downloads between the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store have increased to 5 billion as of March, a 200% increase since early 2013. (more…)

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HTC One Mini now available at Fido

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Fido customers looking for a low-cost, mid-sized smartphone now have the option of purchasing the HTC One Mini.

The 4.3-inch device was recently added to Fido’s lineup of Android devices, and is available for $0 on a 2-year contract with a Smart plan, $150 on a 2-year contract with a Standard plan, and $400 outright.

We really liked the HTC One Mini when it was released, and despite its relatively low-speed 1.4Ghz Snapdragon 400 SoC and 1GB of RAM, it’s since received Android 4.4.2 KitKat with Sense 5.5 and should satisfy most users’ needs.

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‘Moto X+1′ could be the name of Motorola’s next flagship

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‘Moto X+1′could be the name of Motorola’s next flagship

Motorola exclusively launched the Moto X in Canada last year via Rogers. This flagship device brought many unique characteristics to the smartphone game that includes deep integration with Google, but the main design element of Moto Maker — which allows the users to customize the device — has yet to make it here.

The Moto X is now available at Fido and MTS, but Rogers stated to us that the “Moto X is nearing discontinuation at Rogers.” The device can still be purchased from various retail store, but is now available from their online store. (more…)

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HTC One M8 review

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There’s a popular idiom reinforced in schools every year to millions of students: two heads are better than one. The thinking goes, one person is an island, and smart as he may be, there’s always another way to look at a problem. With the second HTC One, the M8, the Taiwanese manufacturer worked closely with chip designer Qualcomm to create a device with two cameras that work together to seamlessly solve one problem: depth.

While there’s no question that the all-metal One M8 is beautiful, fast and well-made, some of HTC’s decisions, including that dual-camera array, provoke more questions than they answer. That there is so much to like about the phone makes its failings even more frustrating — and disappointing. This is the year HTC needs to make its comeback, and with the One M8 as its vehicle, can the once-leader of the Android market regain its footing?

(more…)

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CyanogenMOD reveals its new logo and mission statement

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Customization. Security. Open Source.

These are the three tenets of CyanogenMOD’s new logo and mission statement, revealed this week. The company has gone legit, emerging from its two funding rounds as a de facto Android development house, creating custom ROMs for OEMs like Oppo and OnePlus.

The new logo, which features a broken hexagon unfurled into a “C” and arrow, inside which another smaller hexagon sits, represents those three tenets. (more…)

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Apple acquires Novauris to improve Siri speech recognition

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Just a day after Microsoft unveiled its Cortana digital assistant as part of a major Windows Phone update, Apple has confirmed its acquisition of speech recognition technology company Novauris. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, it’s clear the company was brought in to work on Siri.

After an initial splash and some savvy commercials, Siri has yet to live up to its promise, with some reports suggesting that 4 out of 5 iPhone owners haven’t used Siri in iOS 7. Novauris’ founders have a long history in voice recognition, and were developing large-vocabulary, automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology for access to information stored locally on mobile devices or remotely on servers prior to being acquired. Novauris’ onwership of the core technology, as well as its familiarity with both the embedded and server side of voice recognition, could be a huge boon for Apple. Siri is currently powered by Nuance, a technology Apple has unsuccessfully attempted to acquire in the past, and the company might be looking to bring as much of Siri’s core technology in-house to spur innovation and further differentiate from competitors.

We asked Siri for comment on her future plans, but she declined to comment.

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