The washing machine is innocent, your honor

LG and Samsung just can't stay mad at each other over a few broken washing machines. The two electronics giants have agreed to end the legal disputes that emerged after Samsung accused an LG exec of willfully wrecking its washers at the IFA trade show last year. As LG explains to us, it was in the "best interest" of not just the companies, but South Korea. The country is dealing with a rough economy, you see, and the two sides would rather focus on more appealing products than tearing each other down in court. The truce doesn't let LG off the hook -- South Korean law still lets authorities dole out punishment even if the plaintiff withdraws. Both LG and Samsung have asked for leniency, however, so it won't be surprising if this washing machine war ends without any casualties.

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One of these things is not like the other...

The streaming music business is getting particularly cutthroat, it seems. According to Billboard, Apple exec Jimmy Iovine has been trying to lure the first-tier musicians from Jay Z's artist-owned Tidal service (possibly for an upcoming streaming option) by paying them "more money upfront." Jay Z isn't directly confirming the rumor, but he isn't exactly denying it, either. He explains that a poaching attempt just reflects Iovine's "competitive nature" and that the two have talked about their rival offerings. The rapper claims that he's trying to make nice, and that he doesn't "have to lose in order for you guys [at Apple] to win" -- he sees the two sides trying to help artists. That may be true, but something tells us that Apple isn't about to make life easy for a direct competitor... especially one whose emphasis on exclusives and special deals could hurt Apple's bottom line.

[Image credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Roc Nation]

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Microsoft knows there's a lot riding on the Surface 3. And it looks like the company's finally listened to feedback from people who have asked for a little more oomph from these devices. Nearly three years after Surface with Windows RT was born, Microsoft is introducing its third-generation Surface, a tablet that runs full Windows, not the misstep of an operating system that was RT. This time around, Microsoft's tablet also features a screen designed to work with a pen, while an overhauled Type Cover promises to deliver a more solid, less wobbly keyboard and an improved trackpad. The Surface 3 is as much a PC as the Surface Pro 3, leaving behind the days of being just a would-be iPad competitor. It is, perhaps, what the Surface line should have always been.

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How many times have we said that the Surface would be great, if not for its OS? The truth is, the Surface RT and Surface 2 were lovely, well-crafted things, with great screens, solid build quality and long battery life. We just wished they could run the full gamut of desktop programs, in part to make up for a limited selection of Windows Store apps. Well, it seems Microsoft has finally reversed course. The company just unveiled the Surface 3 and, as rumored, it comes loaded with full Windows 8.1. A more full-featured OS also means a more robust processor -- specifically, an Intel Atom CPU similar to what you'll find in Chromebooks and other budget machines. Additionally, the screen now supports pressure-sensitive pen input -- something the higher-end Surface Pro could always do, but never the Surface RT. All told, although Microsoft is still calling the Surface a tablet, it might finally be versatile enough to take on not just other slates, but low-end PCs as well.

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If you've been sitting, wishing and waiting for your Android handset to let you make free data-based calls, then today's your lucky day. Our chums over at Engadget Spanish have discovered that WhatsApp's long-promised voice calling is now available on Android. Once updated, Facebook's app provides a new tab that'll let you dial friends on top of texting them. So how does it work? I gave it a whirl over here in France, calling my colleague Richard Lai in Hong Kong. Though the quality was clear, there were a couple of technical glitches. On one call, a one-to-two second delay made a conversation challenging, and on another, Richard complained about an annoying echo. Several other attempts were problem-free.

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US air warfare superiority has always been a constant, but the nation's pricey, complex new fighter jets can't dominate the air if they can't get there. Even the military's science arm, DARPA, said that "US military systems today are often too expensive... (and) are obsolete by the time they become operational." Ouch. But DARPA is at least doing something about the problem. It's developed a project called the System of Systems Integration Technology and Experimentation (SoSITE) with the aim of nothing less than completely overhauling US military air power. To do that, it wants to build open systems that help drones, missiles, "mission truck" planes and fighter jets work together.

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Square Enix, the gamesmaker that gave us the Final Fantasy series (alongside plenty of other games), also has a sideline in fancy high-end action figures. Its latest collection tackles the Star Wars universe, well, the darker side of said universe. Alongside Darth Vader (which was teased late last year), Play Arts Kai (the brand Square Enix releases them under) has revealed two more additions: a particularly stoic-looking Stormtrooper and Boba Fett. But reimagining action figures (or perhaps licensing) ain't cheap: Each one retails for around 12,000 yen (roughly $100), but (but!) they can be articulated at 14 different points, with three joints on each arm for maximum dramatic posturing... not to mention reminding yourself (and younger family members) that these aren't for kids.

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There's a growing number of smart locks out there, but if design's as important to you as feature set, this one could be of interest. The device is called Friday Smart Lock, and it can be unlocked remotely through its accompanying iOS or Android app. Once installed, and with the app set up, you can grant both one-time or permanent (revokable) access to friends and family. Its creators, tech startup Friday Labs and architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group, made the device small, so the baseplate and battery fits inside existing US single cylinder and Scandinavian deadbolts.

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Fear of public speaking is quite common, and chances are you either know someone who has it or you suffer from the phobia yourself. This smart glass app called Rhema, created by researchers from the Human-Computer Interaction Group at the University of Rochester, was designed for people who need a bit of help addressing crowds. Rhema can listen as you speak, upload your recorded voice to a server, analyze its pace and volume, and then give you feedback in real time. To test it out, the team had 30 subjects try out several different feedback systems installed on Google Glass. These include ones that shows a traffic lights-like scheme and another that uses graphs.

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