Moto X+1 for Verizon

Want a good, clear look at one of the devices Motorola is expected to unveil at its September 4th event? You've got it. As a parting shot, retiring leaker Evan Blass (aka @evleaks) has posted press images for Motorola's next big flagship smartphone, frequently known as the X+1. It largely confirms what previously appeared in some dimly-lit photos, including dual camera flashes, a wooden back option and Moto E-style front-facing speakers. There are a couple of new tidbits, though. The Verizon logo leaves no doubts about one of the supporting US carriers, and we're curious about those dots on the top and bottom bezels -- are they Fire phone-like face tracking cameras, plain old screws or something else? You'll get the full scoop in a couple of weeks, but this serves as a nice (if very unofficial) teaser.

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AT&T is making U-Verse more appealing with each passing day. After the carrier revealed it would beat Google to the punch on bringing gigabit internet to Silicon Valley, now U-Verse is getting a great deal of fresh content and making its way to additional mobile devices. Aside from launching on Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and Fire HDX, as well as the Fire phone, the U-Verse app today also welcomed over 50 new channels to its catalog of live TV streaming channels. This includes Cartoon Network, CNN, EPIX, ESPN, GolTV, HBO, HGTV, TBS, TNT and Travel Channel, plus many others -- most of which you can watch even if you're away from your home network. All in all, definitely a boost for U-Verse subscribers, and if you aren't, it's at least good to know that U-Verse looks to be a solid choice, especially now that DirecTV is joining AT&T's ranks.

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Every successive generation of video games is hailed for its massive improvements in graphics performance, but what about sound? That too has come a long way -- and soon there may be a documentary chronicling the history video game audio. It's more than a video game music documentary: Beep (an appropriate title, no?) promises to follow the history of gaming sound from Victorian arcade machines all the way to today's modern blockbusters. This includes not only interviews with experts and sound designers, but behind the scene looks at how industry professionals record and mix samples as well.

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Have a spare display sitting around that you want to turn into an (albeit limited) PC? You might consider picking up a Chromebox. The tiny low-powered machines, which run Google's Chrome OS, are best for basic productivity apps and content consumption, but if you don't need to do any complex processing, they might be a solid fit -- especially if you're on a very tight budget. Today, Acer announced a new model of its own, the Chromebox CXI. There's an Intel Celeron (Haswell) processor, a 16GB SSD, plenty of connectivity and support for two displays. One version includes 2GB of RAM and ships next month for $180, while a model with 4 gigs of RAM will run you $220. Both include a keyboard, mouse and mounting kit in the box.

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There are plenty of places you'd expect to find plankton -- lakes, oceans, reruns of SpongeBob Squarepants -- but the external hull of the International Space Station probably wouldn't make your list. And yet, that's exactly where Russian cosmonauts claim to have found some, according to Russian news agency ITAR-TASS. As it happens, you may want to take that report with a grain of salt: We reached out to NASA for comment and spokesperson Dan Huot said the organization has received "zero official data" from Russia's Roscosmos space agency to corroborate these claims. Looks like it'll be a while before we actually get to the bottom of this.

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We're a week away from the start of college football season, and to prep for the action, ESPN released a score-tracking app for Pebble smartwatches. The software beams game info from the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL alongside both NCAA football and basketball action to your wrist for easy viewing. Should you find yourself some place other than the living room during the big game, the wearable will vibrate to alert you to game update and score changes, keeping an eye on multiple games simultaneously. Sports fans who already have the gadget can outfit it with the ESPN watchapp via the Pebble's library for both iOS and Android now.

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Google's Knowledge Graph is pretty good at telling you who was the 37th president of the US, or what the square root of 342345 is. Ask it more complex questions, like "why does the sun set at night?" and it'll still send you off to find the answer yourself. Next week in New York, Google researchers will present a paper on its "Knowledge Vault," which Kevin Murphy of Google Research, describes as "the largest repository of automatically extracted structured knowledge on the planet." Knowledge Vault applies machine learning (unlike Knowledge Graph which is an extension of community supported tools) to automatically trawl webpages, assimilating their facts, information and connections therein. Not only does this mean it's faster, it can continually grow and update itself. The net result will be a huge database of knowledge, the likes of which would have been unimaginable just years ago.

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Just days ago at Gamescom, Microsoft announced that game pre-loading was coming to the Xbox One in September alongside for nabbing Forza Horizon 2 and FIFA 15 in advance of their arrival. It seems that the new feature has gone live a bit early though, as Madden NFL 15 is currently available for download ahead of its launch at the end of the month. Forking over the requisite $60 now will allow you to outfit your console with the title, so you'll be able to open the playbook immediately on August 26th. This also means that the Xbox faithful are now privy to the pre-loading option that PC and PS4 gamers have enjoyed for some time now.

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Add two inline skate wheels with 360-degree rotatable casters to the base of a skateboard and you've got a Fast and Furious-style drifting device known as a freeboard. Developed in the '90s, these boards are an off-season way to enjoy the smooth carving and extended slides of snowboarding when all you have are city streets. But just like on the slopes, when the hills flatten out, so does a lot of the fun. That's what spurred snowboarder Aaron Aders into action in October 2013. He founded LEIF Technologies with the idea for an electric "snowboard for the streets" that could tackle downhill, flat ground and even uphill terrain with ease. While the technology is still in the prototype phase, the company has its eyes on the future and continues to fine-tune the device at its Brooklyn-based workshop. A Kickstarter campaign is currently underway and the final product is scheduled for a spring 2015 release. We caught up with Aders earlier this week to check out the LEIF in person and take it for a spin.

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There's mounting evidence that HP, once the leading PC maker, does not know what it's doing. After announcing plans to cut up to 5 percent of its work force, the company is basically throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks. Recent experiments include a luxury smartwatch, Chromebooks, a $199 Window notebook and now, a laptop running Android. Here's the sales pitch, and bear with me if this doesn't make sense: The SlateBook 14, according to HP, is for students and teens who already use Android on their mobile devices. In other words, they already own a Galaxy S5 or what have you, and they should have an Android laptop to match. The idea is that they might choose this over a Chromebook because it has more apps, and because it's more familiar. Ditto for Windows laptops -- except, you know, Windows actually has lots of apps too. Setting aside HP's flawed logic (they never said Windows users should stick to Windows Phone): Why would you pay $430 for a laptop running an OS that was primarily meant to be used with the fingers?

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