Shazam for iPhone

It's easy to track down iPhone apps that name catchy tunes, but it now looks like Apple wants to spare you from having to search in the first place. Bloomberg sources claim that a future version of iOS will incorporate Shazam's song recognition in the same way that the existing mobile platform integrates Facebook and Twitter. While built-in music detection wouldn't be a new idea (just ask Windows Phone users), you could ask Siri to tell you what's playing rather than hit a button. There aren't any clues as to when the feature would reach iOS. However, Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference begins in early June -- if the rumor is accurate, there's a good chance we'll get the full scoop in a matter of weeks.

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One of the big promises that came out of Microsoft's Build conference this year were apps that'd work across a number of Windows devices with a single purchase, and Redmond is using Halo to lead that charge. The first group of applications includes Halo: Spartan Assault and Skulls of the Shogun, both of which recently made the conversion to universal games -- making them playable across Windows Phone, Windows 8 and RT devices for one price. If you'd rather not pay for your entertainment, though, Microsoft also converted the likes of Wordament, Minesweeper and Hexic too. However, as Windows Phone Central notes, buying the universal version of Skulls doesn't grant access to the Xbox 360 version, nor does Spartan Assault's universal purchase unlock the Xbox 360 or Xbox One versions. Given that the Xbox division is still pretty separate from everything else though, that isn't exactly surprising.

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Cheesy moniker aside, Sprint's newly minted Framily plan is not one to be ignored. It allows you to save money by sharing an account with, well, friends and family, all while being billed separately on up to 10 lines. Following in similar footsteps, AT&T's prepaid subsidiary Aio Wireless has now announced Group Save, which allows users to get a maximum monthly discount of $90 per account. It's simple, really: the more lines you add, the more cash you save every month on your bill total, not per line. With Aio's Group Save, you can have up to five lines; the first two get you a $10 discount, while lines number three, four and five knock off $30, $60 and $90 per month, respectively.

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With all the modular phone concepts, balloon internet projects, robots and drones it can be easy to forget Google's main business angle: search and advertising. Google reported its first quarter earnings today and didn't have much to say about our favorite topics -- we'll hear more about those at Google I/O in June -- or even its pending sale of Motorola to Lenovo. Responding to an analyst's question, Google execs Patrick Pichette and Nikesh Arora mentioned the need to "keep evolving (search) results," as it increasingly serves up info (sports scores, TV listings, restaurant menus) on its own website instead of just providing links. That's probably also behind its push for Google Now results that bring up relevant info before the user even asks, on the desktop and mobile. In a brief reference to the Chromecast, Pichette called the $35 device a hit, mentioning the over 3,000 developers had signed up to build apps since the launch of the SDK.

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We already know Apple is working on improving Siri, but gosh dangit, the folks in Cupertino just aren't moving as fast as some would like. That's why a quartet of freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania decided to try making Siri do more on their own... at a hackathon, no less. They wound up taking third prize for the hack -- called GoogolPlex -- and after some fine-tuning, Alex Sands, Ajay Patel, Ben Hsu and Gagan Gupta are ready to help you make your virtual assistant do more. The setup process is trivial: you just have to change your Wi-Fi connection's proxy settings (seriously, it'll take five seconds). Once that's done though, you can invoke Siri and ask GoogolPlex to play tunes in Spotify, crank up the heat on your Nest thermostat or even start your Tesla.

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Cortana on Windows Phone

Don't despair that Windows Phone 8.1's signature virtual assistant, Cortana, doesn't officially work outside of the US -- as it turns out, there's a fairly easy way to try it in other countries. Pocket-lint notes that early adopters can chat with Cortana by choosing US language, region and speech in their phone settings. Provided you can live with American spelling across the interface, everything works as expected -- you can find local shops, call friends and set reminders using only your voice. You'll still have to wait until later in the year to get a truly localized version of Microsoft's digital companion, but you can at least see what all the fuss is about right now.

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If you have any documents (or e-books acquired in a "non-standard" way) stored on your Kindle, now you can access them anywhere via Amazon Cloud Drive. Starting today, documents uploaded to your e-reader via your browser, mobile device or email will automatically be stored in a new "My Send-to-Kindle Docs" folder within Cloud Drive. Unlike previous document uploads that were automatically converted to Kindle format, new additions will be saved in the cloud in their original format. That means you'll be able to edit the Word doc for your book on show ponies (might we suggest a working title of Pageant Ponies: America's Real Beauty Queens?) from your desktop seconds after catching a typo. With the move, Kindle owners can combine their existing 5GB of free cloud storage with the 5GB offered to Cloud Drive users for a total of 10GB of space. You know what that means: plenty of room to store sequels to your equine masterpiece once you hit it big.

Image source: Flickr/Zhao!

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Project Ara is primarily focused on building a modular smartphone in the hopes of changing the industry, but is that the only type of mobile device on the drawing board? Absolutely not. An executive at Toshiba, one of Google's partners on the project, just revealed that his company's vision of the concept goes beyond smartphones. Shardul Kazi, Senior VP and Technology Executive at Toshiba, posited that devices like smartwatches (and beyond, he says) could also take advantage of Ara's blocky component modules, which allow you to mix and match whatever features and components you want to have.

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While we'd seen rumblings that it was in beta testing, Google's Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android made its official debut today. This means that those who fancy Mountain View's mobile OS can take a gander at files that reside on a Windows or Mac machine that's safely docked in the office. The Remote Desktop app has been available on the desktop for quite some time, and now the same access is available through Chrome on Android smartphones and tablets. For those who prefer Apple's devices, an iOS version of the software should be on the way soon.

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While Google has continued to toss new features into the camera app shipped on its Nexus devices, many Android phones replace it something else. But just as we revealed a few weeks ago, now it's available in the Play Store, ready to run on any phone or tablet using Android 4.4 KitKat. Beyond bits like Photo Sphere that we've seen before, Google is filling in the blanks on its new "Lens Blur" option. Meant to emphasize the subject while blurring the background for an impressive depth of field effect, it uses algorithms to simulate the large camera lens and aperture your phone or tablet doesn't actually have. Taking the photo requires an upward sweep to capture multiple images, used to estimate the depth of objects for a 3D map that lets the software re-render the photo later and blur specific items based on where it thinks they are. Google's Research Blog has more details on how it's all done, including the Lytro-like ability to change which object is in focus after you take the shot.

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The HTC One (M8) brought with it a load of new camera features, including its unique Duo Camera setup on its back side. Now, the handset maker is opening up the code that powers the pair in a SDK preview for third-party devs. This means that apps can be designed specifically for the M8's cameras with DualLens and DimensionPlus APIs baked right in. In other words, developers will get their hands on that bokeh-style refocusing and multi-angled shot selection in addition to depth maps from the pair of cameras. Of course, only time will tell how eager app makers are to latch on to HTC's smartphone snapshooting tricks, but at least now they'll have the necessary tools to do so.

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2013 was the year of the smartwatch. In promise, anyway -- maybe not delivery. Of the many, many different, colorful and unusual timepieces that would populate our blogroll, it was perhaps Samsung's Galaxy Gear that made the most headlines. Why? Partly because it was a new product from one of technology's biggest players, and partly because it was just so bad. Poor battery life, an unpopular design and limited apps meant that the $300 accessory never had a chance of catching on. But, resilient as ever, Samsung is having another crack at it. In fact, it's having another three cracks at it with the release of the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit smartwatches. The big question this time around: Is the second-gen Gear any better than its predecessor? Spoiler alert: Yes, it is. But enough that you might actually want one? That question is a little more complex.

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Technology problem? Easy, just hit the Mayday button (if you have one) or sign up for Google Helpouts and within a few minutes, you'll instantly connect to an expert. Compare that with selecting a healthcare plan, or making trips to the clinic, and medicine can seem a little old-fashioned. Better is looking to change that with an iOS app that offers both a concierge to help you navigate your HMO's bureaucracy, but also to offer instant access to the physicians at the Mayo Clinic when you're feeling unwell. The app is launching from today, setting you back $49 a month, and while it's currently not covered by any insurance plans, there are some incentives to help soften the blow.

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Project Tango's infrared projector in action

Want to get a better understanding of Google's 3D-sensing Project Tango smartphone beyond the usual promo videos? iFixit is more than happy to show you now that it has torn down the device for itself. The close-up identifies many of the depth mapping components in the experimental handset, including the infrared and fisheye cameras (both made by OmniVision), motion tracking (from InvenSense) and dual vision processors (from Movidius).

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It's just seven days until OnePlus launches its first Android flagship, but that hasn't stopped the company drip-feeding news about the device. Surprisingly, the outfit promises that the unit will cost under £290 in the UK, €350 in Europe and $3,000 HKD in Hong Kong -- which we're taking to mean £289, €349 and $2,999, respectively. By way of comparison, that's £10 less than you'd pay for a Nexus 5 and £20 more than you'd need for a Lumia 1320. Now, given that the handset is shipping with a Snapdragon 801, 3GB RAM, 5.5-inch 1080p display and a 3,100mAh battery, what is OnePlus likely to scrimp on in order to get it down to that price? Why not dive in over at the forums and speculate with us.

Update: No sooner had we begun to shoot the breeze concerning the rest-of-the-world pricing when the company announces that the OnePlus One will also land in the US, where it'll retail for "under" $400.

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