A group of developers thought it would be fun to merge playground activities with mobile gaming -- so they did. They've created a system called Hybrid Play that lets kids (or adults, no judgment here) control games on their phones with see-saws, swing sets and other playground toys. To transform these outdoor playsets into big controllers, kids will have to clip the Hybrid Play sensor (above) onto their slides and merry-go-rounds. This sensor (which is dust- impact- and water-resistant) is powered by an Arduino microcontoller and equipped with accelerometers, gyroscopes, infrared and Bluetooth. It transforms real-life movements into signals sent to your phone, which the app then converts into virtual action. By the way, the system's iOS and Android apps will come loaded with a selection of games to choose from, but everyone can make their own, as it's an open-source project.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Xiaomi's a force to be reckoned with in China -- its new phones routinely sell out online in seconds -- but its influence is steadily growing outside its native home. That's why the company's infrastructure has been quietly shifting these past few months, and VP/former Googler Hugo Barra pulled back the curtain on what Xiaomi's been up to. Long story short: it's moving user data around the world, not only to make sure its services work better, but also to better protect its users' information.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Microsoft Torque on a Samsung Gear Live

Slightly irked that you have to say "OK Google" whenever you want to use voice search on your Android Wear smartwatch? Microsoft, of all companies, is coming to your rescue. The developer is leading a trio of experimental Android releases with Torque, an app that lets you start a Bing search just by twisting your wrist; you only have to speak when you're asking your question. You'll get optimized output for certain kinds of search results, including maps, stocks and weather.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Inside An AT&T Store Ahead of Earnings Figures

It's no secret that the US wireless market is saturated, and that most people who want a mobile device have already purchased one by now. Naturally, this means that the national players in the industry are looking for other points of revenue to aid future growth. AT&T is proving that it's one of the most successful in this venture by announcing today that it's activated a heap of connected devices last quarter -- to the tune of 1.3 million. That's a healthy number, especially since the company accumulated only a tenth of that in the previous quarter. This genre refers to a wide range of gadgets that come with an AT&T SIM card inside, but the most interesting part of this announcement is that over 500,000 of those activated devices come from connected cars.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Heads up, Android fans: Google Earth for your phones is about to get a lot better. That's what the folks in Mountain View are promising, anyway -- they've released an update to the app brings with it snappier performance and improved labels for maps (you'll never wonder where Foster City and Redwood Shores begin and end again). Perhaps the biggest change, though -- a completely rebuilt 3D rendering engine -- means those cityscapes and mountain ranges you pore over should show up with more crispness and clarity. Try not to lord that over your friends using Apple Maps, will you? Throw in a way to import your own custom .KML files into the app from Google Drive and you've got all the makings of a pretty momentous update. Itching to take it for a spin? Mosey on over to the Google Play Store to get your globetrotting fix.

0 Comments

Testing Apple Pay in September

Went on a spending spree with your Bank of America debit card the moment Apple Pay hit your iPhone? You might be in for a (brief) shock. The bank is now issuing refunds after it charged at least some Apple Pay users twice when they made purchases at retail shops. While it hasn't said what triggered the glitch, the issue doesn't appear to involve Apple's software -- there haven't been widespread reports of problems with other cards, and Apple itself doesn't process transactions. Whatever was the cause, it's not surprising that a major mobile payment service would run into some hiccups just after launch. Let's just hope that things go more smoothly from here on out.

0 Comments

At its mobile developer conference in San Francisco, Twitter just announced Digits, a brand-new way to log in to apps with just your phone number. Instead of going through the tedious process of signing up with an email and password or using one of many different social logins, all you need is to enter in your number. When you do, you'll get a confirmation code via SMS. Enter that in as well, and away you go; no need to remember passwords or go through CAPTCHAs. Digits is not based on your Twitter account at all; it's actually an entirely new product that developers can incorporate into their apps. It's a key part of Fabric, Twitter's new mobile development kit that it's rolling out today. Digits is available for iOS, Android and the web, and it's available in 216 countries in 28 languages right now.

Aside from Digits, Fabric includes several other tools that Twitter hopes developers will incorporate into their existing apps, such as Crashlytics, the crash-reporting tool that the company bought last year, and MoPub, its advertising platform. There's also something called TwitterKit, which finally brings system-level Twitter sign-on to Android, a service that's been on iOS for a while now. This means that you only need to sign on to Twitter once on an Android phone, and you'll be able to easily access all apps that require a Twitter login. Especially of note is that developers can now not only embed tweets in their apps, but also add the ability to compose and post tweets inside of them without having to launch the dedicated Twitter app.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you're anything like us, Google's Gmail has an iron grip on your life. Google's looking to create a whole new iron grip with a new app from its Gmail team, and it's called "Inbox." What is it? That's a good question -- Google's made a demo slash advertisement video that we've dropped below. As far as we can tell, Inbox is a combination of Google Now and your Gmail inbox -- a "smart" inbox, if you will. It combines alike pieces of email (bank invoices, for example), highlights related information (like Google Now alerting you to flight changes, traffic, etc.) and keeps track of your life (it'll give you reminders, among other heads ups). Is this the end of Gmail? We seriously doubt it, but it is Google's latest foray into simplifying email. Head below for more!

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

For anyone with a Sky+HD box, the Sky+ app for Android and iOS gives you a handy way to manage recordings while away from home, and lets you use mobile devices as substitute remotes when you're plonked in front of the TV. Now, with an updated version of the app released today, you can also use it to push your summer holiday snaps to the biggest display in your living room. As long as the smartphone or tablet running the Sky+ app is connected to the same WiFi network as your set-top box, tap the new camera icon in the app's navigation bar and you'll be able to send any images stored on the device to your TV screen, or set a slideshow running.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Padlock

Just because FBI director James Comey believes his agency has a right to see your phone's encrypted data doesn't mean he'll get his way. Members of Congress from both major parties, including House Representatives Darrell Issa and Zoe Lofgren as well as Senator Ron Wyden, are saying that there's "zero chance" they'll pass a bill requiring that device encryption includes backdoor access for federal investigators. They argue that law enforcement has blown whatever chance it had at public support -- accountability problems at multiple agencies (especially the NSA) have led many to distrust the government's data requests. As it stands, the FBI is battling some fierce legal headwinds. The House recently passed a bill banning the NSA from using backdoor searches, and it's doubtful that these politicians will heed Comey's calls for more access.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

If you ever thought to yourself, "Self, I need a crowdfunded toothbrush that tracks my oral activities," you're in luck. The folks at Goodwell estimate that we'll each go through some 300 toothbrushes over the course of our lifetime. As such, it wants to do its part to wage a war against the "planned obsolescence" of traditional fang-cleaning apparatus. For just $69, you get a hollow aluminum handle with a compostable, replaceable, charcoal brush head -- even with a $79 subscription for replacement parts that's still cheaper than Oral B's SmartSeries. If you're feeling even more spendy though, you can get what's known as the premium kit, which comes with screw-on flosser and tongue-scraper accessories, costing $89.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

When Tim Cook apologized for Apple Maps in 2012, he promised to do everything to make the app better. The company's latest push to improve its navigation app involves putting all the small businesses it can on Apple Maps -- that is, with a little help from the owners themselves and a new portal called Maps Connect. The service lets owners add or edit their establishments' locations and gives them the opportunity to beef up their their profiles with their website, Yelp , Facebook and/or Twitter pages. They can even sign up for iBeacon (the company's indoor tracking tech) installation on the page, though at the moment, Apple's prioritizing businesses with more than a million visitors every year and offer WiFi throughout their premises.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

When the Moto 360 last got an update, the painfully handsome smartwatch seemed to get a noticeable boost in battery life. Now, with a new bit of software, Motorola's itching to improve its battery life just a little more... as well as stamp out a few bugs for good measure. Perhaps the most notable addition is the 360's newfound ability to shut off Ambient Mode (which leaves the screen on, albeit at a lower brightness) automatically once its battery level hits 15 percent. Also on deck this time are some minor UI changes (you can temporarily dismiss a notification without leaving the watch face), the addition of mood lighting when you plop the thing in its dock, and some behind-the-scenes Bluetooth improvements. All of the above will be hitting your wrist sooner or later -- Motorola says the update is rolling out in waves, so be patient if your smartwatch doesn't get a little smarter as quickly as you'd like.

0 Comments

0

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It's a conflicting time for Apple. On one hand, it's a joyous occasion for the company because its latest iPhones, which come in larger screen sizes than the last, set new sales records worldwide; but on the other hand, its lineup of iPads just experienced its third straight quarterly decline. Coincidentally, this comes just a week after Apple announced its annual tablet refresh, which includes a thinner and more powerful version of the iPad Air along with a Touch ID-enabled mini with Retina display.

Just because it's down doesn't mean it's out. Giving up on a product category isn't really Apple's style, and last week, it offered up the Air 2 as exhibit A. The company made it clear that making a solid top-of-the-line tablet is on the top of its to-do list, so naturally the new 10-inch device got plenty of upgrades in nearly every aspect of its design. Curiously, it didn't give the mini lineup the same kind of treatment: The mini 3 got so little love this time around that the best news about it is the fact that last year's version is now $100 cheaper. Should the new iPads still get a place in the consumer's backpack? Read on to find out.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Vine channel following on iOS

Vine is full of video creators talented enough to score TV deals, but keeping up with them has usually meant either following them one-by-one or browsing channels for ages. You have a much easier way to catch up on those clips as of today, though: Vine's iOS app now lets you follow channels, which puts featured videos in your feed alongside everything from people you follow. If you're a space buff, for instance, you can add the Science & Tech channel in hopes of seeing some orbital footage.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments