0

We know what you're thinking, but a new app called Selfies is actually kind of fun, considering that it's a barely-promoted one-off from Automattic (the company responsible for WordPress). It told TechCrunch that Selfies was in development for eight weeks or so as part of the Gravatar universal avatar app before it became a separate thing. Trying the app showed that its basic-ness is part of the kick, since it let us post our own pic right after logging on. (We also found it to be a little rough around the edges with a few crashes.) Right now, there's just a single public feed showing ever photo, but the company has plans to filter the best content soon. You can try it now for yourself, but only on Android -- the company narrowly picked that platform to launch it first thanks to a user poll.

0 Comments

As London becomes the bright shining center of the European tech scene, it's only natural that the city would like to maintain its place at the top of the pile. That's why mayor Boris Johnson is pledging that London will roll out a 5G network across the city by 2020. It's part of a long-term infrastructure investment plan that'll see connectivity given equal prominence to more conventional resources like transport, energy and water. At the same time, broadband speeds for each home in the capital will be made public alongside data from the networks in order to find communication blackspots that require additional work. Of course, given that 5G as a standard has yet to be defined, it'll be interesting to see if the mayor can make good on his promise -- unlike the one about turning London into a giant WiFi hotspot by 2012.

0 Comments

0

BlackBerry was slow to see the danger of touchscreen phones, which meant that BlackBerry 10 was a year or so too late to arrive. When it did, however, the company launched the all-touch Z10 first, alienating the keyboard-loving faithful that clung to BlackBerry in its darkest days. But when the Q10 finally came, our Tim Stevens found it to be painfully average -- and the subsequent year hasn't been kind to either the device or the company. But lets talk about the hardware itself, talk to us about your experiences and what, if anything would you change? While you're thinking that way, why not try writing a review of the device, too? Just hit the "Review Device" button and you can add your voice to that of our critics.

0 Comments

HTC One Dot View case

Windows Phone 8.1 may have only just reached the general public, but it's already in line for a surprisingly large update. Microsoft has posted developer documents (sign-in required) for Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1, a tweak that fills in a few key hardware and software gaps. Aside from previously revealed folder support, the upgrade will allow for smart cases akin to HTC's Dot View or LG's QuickCircle. Phone makers will get to run special apps when the cover is closed, and specify what happens when it's open. This seemingly simple addition could be important, since The Verge claims that HTC is preparing a Windows Phone version of the new One -- such a device would need smart cover features to perform the same tricks as its Android counterpart.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

0

BenQ may not be a familiar name to some -- at least not in the US -- but its roots in the electronics industry date back to the '80s. The company, formerly a division of Acer, was spun off in 2001 in an attempt to build a brand name for itself. With a background in manufacturing, BenQ began building devices for companies like Nokia and Motorola; devices that were mostly for sale in Asian markets. Soon, it started its own line of mobile handsets and in 2005, BenQ announced a cube-like multimedia device called the Z2. It was poised to compete with the other camera-toting and music-playing cellphones at the time, while also targeting the youth market with its unique form factor and colorful exteriors. Curious to know more? Check out our gallery below.

0 Comments

Homer app for iPhone

Ever had the urge to peek at your friends' phone screens, whether it's to learn about their favorite apps or simply pry into their digital lives? Well, you can now do that without having to either strike up an awkward conversation or get overly nosy. PayPal co-founder Max Levchin and the HVF crew have launched Homer, an iPhone app that lets you share your app picks with fellow users. All you do is take screenshots of your home screens and submit them; Homer scans the pictures and identifies the apps, making it easy to compare them with pals in your contacts or on social networks.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

0

IRL: Taking HTC's One M8 for a test drive

The original HTC One was one of my favorite smartphones from 2013, but it was easy to see why you'd pass it up in favor of an archrival like Samsung's Galaxy S4 -- it just didn't have the battery life, camera quality or expansion to keep up. Fast-forward to 2014 and it's a different story. Most of those headache-inducing flaws have been fixed in the new One; indeed, my colleague Brad Molen suggested it was an all-around better device. But is that enough to avoid a twinge of buyer's remorse, especially with the Galaxy S5 and Sony's Xperia Z2 upping the ante? I spent a few weeks with the new One to find out whether I'd still be pining for features from those other devices.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

close up of a businessman using smart phone

Tinder's swipe-able interface is such a hit, that a lot of new apps are copying it. One new, notable app among them all is called Weave, which is essentially (there's no other way to describe it) a more boring Tinder to find fellow professionals instead of Friday-night dates. In fact, it's so promising that its developers have just raised $630,000 in seed funding. If you're thinking, "But I already have LinkedIn!", well, it works a bit differently from the more traditional social network. To use the iOS or Android app, you'll need to log in using your LinkedIn credentials, after which it'll pair you with professionals in your area. Just like in Tinder, just swipe left to pass, or right to initiate a chat or express interest in meeting up.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Out of the many trappings US carriers have in common, throttling speeds for heavy data users is certainly one of them. So, accordingly, it's not surprising for Verizon to confirm reports that it will soon start slowing things down for more customers. According to Droid Life, Verizon has admitted that, beginning in October, people with an unlimited 4G LTE data plan will see reduced speeds should they fall in the network's top five percent of internet users, among other things. More specifically, this is part of a plan Verizon is calling "Network Optimization," which means throttled speeds for anyone who consumes more than 4.7GB of data per month, is enrolled on an unlimited data plan, has fulfilled a two-year contract but is still with the carrier, and attempts to "use data on a cell site that is experiencing high demand." Chances are most of you won't be affected by this, but it's definitely not good news for others who may be.

0 Comments

Well, it seems like the US cellphone unlocking bill didn't get held up legislation after all: the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act just passed through the House of Representatives with unanimous support. The measure reverses the 2012 decision that made phone unlocking a violation of copyright law and frees consumers from the mercy of their cellular provider, but it's not law yet -- the bill still needs the signature of President Obama. Still, that's almost a formality: the "bulk unlock" measure portion of the legislation that caused waves in the Senate has since been removed from the bill. Its text is clean and simple: unlocks can be "initiated by the owner" of any device or "by another person at the direction of the owner" with the express purpose of connecting to the wireless network of their choice. Sounds good here.

[Image credit: Mondo3, Flickr]

0 Comments

Regardless of what you may be searching for on The Pirate Bay, it wouldn't hurt to be doing so with style and ease of use. In consideration of this, the popular (and controversial) torrent-sharing property has launched a brand new mobile site, featuring a rather subtle, less clustered look that should make browsing through it a much more enjoyable experience. As TorrentFreak points out, this is the first time Pirate Bay's done a major design revamp in almost a decade, a change likely to be considered a breath of fresh air by its users, particularly those who like to use the website on devices like smartphones and tablets. The Pirate Bay doesn't appear to be redirecting all mobile visitors to the new page yet, but you can check it out here right about now.

0 Comments

Now that Microsoft is rolling Windows Phone 8.1 out to handsets, users can now start chatting with its new virtual assistant, Cortana. Right now, she's limited to the US, but the Cortana man at Microsoft, Marcus Ash, has tweeted that "barring an unforeseen issue," the UK developer preview will go live in "less than two weeks" and, wait for it, not feature the reassuring tones of Jen Taylor, the original talent behind Halo's Cortana. Like Apple's Siri, Cortana will adopt a British accent when it rolls out, presumably to make owners feel more comfortable when interacting with the digital sidekick. Sure, she'll still take notes, dictate messages and offer up calendar alerts and reminders, she just won't sound like the Cortana you've relied upon during many a gaming session (unless you indulge in a bit of location trickery).

0 Comments

Back in June, Google revealed Cardboard: an open-source attempt at mobile virtual reality. Heck, even the "hardware" is open source --here are instructions to make your own, right now!

But the concept is more than a low-tech solution to mobile VR. It's emblematic of Google's approach to virtual reality: use the phone that's already in your pocket. Samsung's taking the same approach later this year with Gear VR, only it's also partnering with Oculus VR on the software side.

This stands in stark contrast to the PC-dependent, ultra-high-res experience Oculus VR and Facebook are aiming to achieve. The Oculus Rift headset both literally and figuratively kickstarted the re-birth of virtual reality in modern technology. It remains the peak of technological achievement in virtual reality. And now, the medium is splintering into two distinct futures: one of entertainment, the other of immersion.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Firefox has already shown off an Android launcher and is now trying some spiffy personalization features for its Android browser. The latest beta flaunts a new class of "panel" add-ons with home page feeds like Pocket, Wikipedia, Instagram and more. Firefox has also released a new set of APIs for those plug-ins, letting any app developer create a home screen page. I tried it out with Instagram and Pocket and found it gave me a quick way to view photo streams and articles without touching the apps. But I've got similar features with my launcher (Terrain), which seems a more logical place to put third party feeds. If you'd like to try it, it seemed stable enough during limited usage, but like any beta, the risk is all yours.

0 Comments

The intrepid disassemblers over at iFixit have torn Amazon's Fire phone asunder in order to determine how repairable it is, but what did they find? At first blush, things seemed promising, with standard Torx screws holding the chassis together, but after that things started to get sticky. The battery, for instance, is attached with an adhesive tab, but the five front-facing cameras are all held in place with liberal dollops of glue. So much so, in fact, that do-it-yourself repairs are nearly impossible unless you're patient enough to melt each component out of its adhesive prison. Getting spare parts isn't ideal either, since the components share so many resources that you can't just replace one piece -- you've got to buy the lot. That's why the phone scored a measly 3 out of 10 for repairability, which is yet another reason not to buy one.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments