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City of Waterloo commits to BES10 and BlackBerry


The success of BlackBerry’s transition to an enterprise services company lies partially in its ability to convince organizations to adopt BES10 as their enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution of choice. To that end, BlackBerry has recently trotted out companies around the globe that have committed to BES10 as news releases in their own right, with the hope of creating a narrative of momentum. BlackBerry has done so again today, announcing three Canadian organizations that have now deployed BES10 and BB10 device to their workforce, including Canada’s oldest metal manufacturing company Samuel, Son & Co., and civil maintenance contractor Volker Stevin.

But it’s the third company in the announcement that’s the most interesting. Making good on its January commitment to BlackBerry, the City of Waterloo has not only deployed BlackBerry 10 but collaborated with BlackBerry on a mobile application to provide Waterloo citizens local information and real-time updates. City workers also now have access to BBM groups for emergency communications.

Waterloo is obviously more tech-savvy than most municipalities, with a much stronger connection to BlackBerry. But BlackBerry is also uniquely situated to provide municipalities around the globe with an integrated suite of hardware and software services that other EMM companies simply can’t offer. If they pursue the opportunity seriously, BlackBerry’s future releases could actually contain news of true momentum.

Source: Marketwired



HTC debuts Duo Lens SDK to help developers make better camera apps for the M8


On the same day Google released a standalone camera app for Android devices running KitKat and above, HTC has unveiled a preview SDK for its Duo Lens camera API.

The preview SDK contains an API called DualLens that allows third-party developers to create apps, or augment existing camera apps, with the additional data captured by the second lens, to create a DSLR-like “bokeh” effect.

DimensionPlus, another API, is a proprietary format that utilizes both cameras sensors’ data to create a 3D-like approximation of a scene, making it easy to use the phone’s accelerometer and gyroscope to change the viewpoint of a photo.

We found DualLens, which is called UFocus in the HTC camera app, to be more useful on the HTC One M8 than the DimensionPlus results, but both can be augmented to create interesting effects, and we’re excited to see what developers come up with.



Standalone Google Camera app now available with new Lens Blur feature


Rumours of a standalone Google camera app have proven true, as Google Camera is now available today in the Play Store for all Android devices running KitKat 4.4 or better.

Google Camera fixes the viewfinder crop issue that has plagued Nexus 5 users, in addition to adding a brand new interface and features. The most notable of which is “Lens Blur”, a shallow depth of field effect common with DSLRs that is difficult to replicate on a smartphone due its comparatively small lens and aperture. Google has attempted to solve the problem with a computer vision algorithm that simulates a larger lens and aperture by creating a 3D model of the shot. You can read more about Google’s work on the feature at the Google Research Blog.

Google Camera follows a trend of releasing standalone apps of core Android functionality into the Play Store (e.g. Google Now, Google Keyboard). What core Android functionality would you like to see as a standalone app next?


Fleksy goes international, adds AZERTY, QWERTZ layouts and support for six new languages

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Fleksy is working very hard to out-key SwiftKey in the Android keyboard space. The company recently released its long-awaited 2.0 update, which brought a new Badge system that attempts to gamify high-speed virtual typing, while improving personalization and cloud synchronization.

Fleksy 2.1 adds support for QWERTZ and AZERTY keyboard layouts and support for languages like Swedish, Danish, Hungarian, Czech and Slovak.

The new version also adds 200 new emoji (so important!), a better Settings layout and a number of bug fixes. The full version costs $3.99 but there is a 30-day free trial for those who want to experiment.


Project Ara gets January 2015 street date as developer conference kicks off


Google’s ATAP contingent, retained during the sale of Motorola to Lenovo, has been producing some wondrous things these past few months. And “months” is the key word here, because the team has been working very, very quickly.

In addition to Project Tango, which purports to combine a number of cameras and sensors on a standard Android smartphone to facilitate 3D mapping of its immediate location, ATAP has been working on Ara, not so much a smartphone as a worldview. The idea of the modular smartphone, which uses sets of inputs in three predetermined sizes, 1×1, 1×2 and 2×2, has intrigued an industry eager not only for innovation, but cheaper products. (more…)


Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint sensor reportedly vulnerable to hacks, deemed less secure than Apple’s Touch ID

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The Galaxy S5′s fingerprint sensor has been deemed less secure than the iPhone 5s’ Touch ID, as Samsung has failed to implement failsafe techniques to prevent stolen devices from being unlocked with a faked print.

According to Berlin-based SR Labs, Samsung’s implementation of its Synaptics-based fingerprint sensor “leaves much to be desired.” Last October, SR Labs reproduced a finger imprint using high-resolution sensors, a piece of glass, and a ceramic mould. While such a reproduction would be time-consuming and expensive, Apple’s implementation was given some credit for forcing users to intermittently enter a password to continue using Touch ID for authentication. Samsung, on the other hand, allows for “seemingly infinite authentication attempts,” even in apps like PayPal, with which the Korean OEM partnered for payments.



Popular iOS photo sharing app Frontback comes to Android


Just like that, another former iOS exclusive has made its way to Android. Frontback, the “selfie + 1″ photo sharing community, debuted on iOS last year to great acclaim, allowing users to post two cropped horizontal images, delineated between the front and back cameras (hence the name) with a small caption.

The startup has raised just under $4 million in funding, and bills itself “the world’s most entertaining photo community.” The Android version doesn’t deviate too much from the style of its iPhone counterpart: like Instagram, you’re exposed to a vertical feed of your friends, with a heart in the middle of the two photos for easy liking. (more…)


Impressed Photo Book now available for iPhone

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Supporting local businesses is always a good thing to do. Toronto-based Spoke Technologies released their Impressed Photo Book last year for the iPad and today they’ve made the service available for iPhone users.

The app competes in the photo book category with all the other app, such as Mosaic, Shutterfly and Blurb, but takes it a step further by adding the ability to record your voice on any photo. Pics can be uploaded from either your photo album, Facebook or Instagram. As for sizes, there is 6×8 and 8×8 hardcover, and also a 5×5 softcover. In addition, 5 themes are available — Signature, Be Mine, So Square, Black Tie, Classic — and most books cost $29, with the premium ‘So Square’ hardcover costing $10 more.

More here via iTunes.


Samsung exec says the Galaxy S5 ‘is selling faster than the S4′


Samsung successfully launched the Galaxy S5 last week in a massive 125 countries, including Canada. The company has been shy on producing numbers and when they do they usually come out with a fancy infographic to show its success over previous flagship devices.

During an interview with Reuters, Yoon Han-kil, SVP of Samsung’s product strategy team, declared that the GS5 is selling far better than the GS4 did last year. “(The S5) is selling faster than the S4 so far, though it’s difficult to share specific numbers as we’re still at early stages… S5 sales should be much better than the S4.”

The Galaxy S5 is a better looking device than the Galaxy S4 as it has more design class and comes with improved specs (screen, processor and camera), but Samsung also added in a bevy of free apps that were included to entice people to purchase.

“With the S4, we thought smartphones shouldn’t just focus on hardware. They also had to come with a lot of software and services, and that line of thinking did lead us to cram many services into the device… We still feel the same way but this time around, we decided not to put in so many things and only include what the user really needs, so I cut out a lot of services and software.” Yoon said.

The Galaxy S4 sold 10 million units within the first month of sales. A report earlier this week indicated that Samsung is aiming to sell 55 million Galaxy S5 units by the end of the second quarter.

Read our Galaxy S5 review here

Source: Reuters


Samsung’s Make it Meaningful website shows how they ‘strive to create the culture of tomorrow’

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Samsung is a massive company with billions of dollars in revenue every quarter. We usually cover their mobile smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and fitness bands, but they are also into shipping, real estate, printers, home entertainment and kitchen appliances (to name a few).

To celebrate their progression in moving mankind forward, Samsung created a dedicated site called “Make it Meaningful.” The intent is aimed at informing users of how Samsung thinks about design and how their products come to life. Samsung notes that “they strive to create the culture of tomorrow” and that the core of every product, beyond profit, is “the value of people’s dreams… our design should begin with empathy for people’s lives.”

There are several back stories and interviews with designers around the world, but unfortunately none are Canadian. Samsung’s designers live by three design values: Balance of reason and feeling; Simplicity with resonance; and Meaning innovation. The site is informative and gives a good look back at what Samsung has created and possibly how the future will be shaped.

Source: Samsung Make it Meaningful
Via: Engadget