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Rdio brings a new General Manager to Canada to better compete with Spotify


Rdio is once again ramping up its Canadian presence in the run-up to Spotify’s launch north of the border. The company announced today that it is bringing on former Bark & Fitz CEO, Michael Orrbrooke, as a new General Manager for the company’s Canadian operations.

Rdio has grown steadily since it launched in Canada, and Orrbrooke’s role will be “growth and strategy” for the up-and-coming streaming music service. In April, Rdio announced a partnership with Shaw Communications, wherein Rdio would become the streaming service of record across Shaw’s considerable advertising and content network.

Scott Bagby, Rdio’s President of International, said, “The new role is part of Rdio’s commitment to Canada as one of our most important international regions,” though the company hasn’t released subscriber numbers to back up that claim.

The move is in line with Rdio’s strategy to grow its ad-based free streaming tier, which launched in January to grow the company’s user base. Rdio is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone, as well as the web, and costs $9.99/month for the Unlimited tier.


Raspberry Pi announces lower power Model B+ with four USB ports and improved audio


When Raspberry Pi launched two years ago, it was supposed to be an educational tool — a small, cheap computer capable of running a basic OS that children could use to learn to code. The device exploded in the enthusiast market as DIYers created exciting new use cases using a range of operating systems, including Android.

Since then we’ve seen several iterations of first generation Raspberry Pi hit the market but today brings a new model, one that the Raspberry Pi Foundation is calling the ‘final evolution’ of the Raspberry Pi 1.0. Called Raspberry Pi Model B+, it adds some pretty significant hardware upgrades. (more…)


Google launching a media-heavy redesign of its Play Store


Google is set to launch a media-heavy redesign of its Play Store in the coming months, likely in the run-up to the release of Android L.

The company launched a new set of design principles at Google I/O, Material Design, and has committed to overhauling most of its mobile and web portals to coincide with this fall’s launch of Android L.

Android Police has received what appears to be a series of screenshots from a new version of the Play Store, for both phones and tablets, showing a media-heavy, minimal redesign of Android’s app centre.

Like many websites today, Google is making app logos, screenshots and content overviews front and centre, with a surfeit of white space. Reviews are front and centre, and app descriptions are more widely spaced.

It’s not clear when the redesign will launch, but it makes sense that Google will roll it out, possibly piecemeal, over the next few months.


BlackBerry promo video shows how BBM Protected is for ‘conscious organizations’


BlackBerry launched BBM Protected a month ago, the first product of its eBBM suite of services. The functionality is free for those who purchased of BES 10 and targets those enterprise customers who would desire to have an added level of security with their instant messages.

BBM Protected uses FIPS 140-2 encryption to send messages between users in the same company and between other Protected customers. A new video has been uploaded by BlackBerry that deems BBM Protected is for “conscious organizations” who want Secure IM. (more…)


Samsung dreams of a day when retina scans will pay the bills


Samsung recently introduced its new Exynos quad-core ModAP processor and it looks like it is already setting an eye to what’s next — possibly even the Next Big Thing.

The official Samsung Exynos Twitter account has teased an insight into what they are working on, stating, “Security can be improved using features unique to us. That’s what we envision. What would you use?” The image shows a large-sized smartphone with an edge-to-edge display and a fingerprint scanner. The highlight of the picture is located in the middle of the display and hints that users will someday have the ability to pay bills by a simple scan of the retina, which would be a significant level of added security.

There is no timing on if or when this will happen, but before the Galaxy S5 hit the market it was rumoured that Samsung would launch the flagship with a fingerprint sensor, and was actively “studying” eye scanner technology.

Source: Twitter


Samsung Apps brands to GALAXY Apps, promises ‘hundreds of exclusive apps’


Samsung has rebranded its Android app store to align more closely with the Galaxy brand, which is perhaps more well-known in North America than the company itself.

Galaxy Apps is the destination for “hundreds of exclusive apps” only for Galaxy owners, and will be the single portal for promotional apps and discounted products. (more…)


Google Maps for iOS now scans Gmail to find reservations and appointments


Google Maps for iOS has been updated with some features that some with find extremely useful, others rather invasive.

The app now scans a user’s Gmail account for addresses and times, and displays them on a map for easy navigation. Of course, this is an opt-in feature but for users already embedded in the Google ecosystem, the two services working together will provide greater value for both.

Maps 3.2 now shows search results on the map or a list, with a toggle to easily switch between the views. Such functionality makes it far easier to scan through large swaths of data at once, or to orient oneself on an actual map in a foreign city.

Finally, the Explore feature has been updated to show “different places and activities depending on the location and time of day,” according to Google, adding Now-like context to iOS Maps users.

All of these features move Google Maps’ needle even further away from a mere navigation app and closer to something like Foursquare, Yelp or TripAdvisor, all of which purport to add context and suggestions to where you are, and when you are there.

SourceApp Store