Microsoft Office Sway

Sharing ideas on the web is tricky. You probably want something more persuasive than a social network update, but it's usually overkill to design a whole web page just to get your point across. Microsoft may have reached a happy balance between the two with Sway, a new part of the Office portfolio that lets you publish content in a slick, web-native format without knowing a thing about code or design. All you do is write and pull in content, whether it comes from your device or internet sources like Facebook, OneDrive and YouTube; Sway automatically organizes it all into polished web layouts that adapt to any screen size. You can switch layouts to fine-tune your work and update projects over time. Think of this as a Medium-like authoring tool that handles much more than just articles -- it's possible to publish daily photo diaries, non-linear presentations and other pieces that would typically require a dedicated web editor or a specialized app.

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One downside of Indiegogo's lax attitude to projects is that there's no requirement for a prototype or any proof that the device being pitched could even exist. In fact, the site is so laissez-faire, that a creator could probably promise a hoverboard powered by unicorn tears, and the only limit to its success would be human credulity. In unrelated news, Arubixs has taken to Indiegogo to ask for $300,000 of funding for Portal, a flexible, bendable smartphone that can be worn on your forearm like Leela's Wristlojackimator - with a watch strap holding it in place at either end.

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Not too long ago Vine blessed iOS users with the ability to import pre-existing videos into the app, and now Google fans can get in on the action. Any clips in your Android camera roll are viable subjects to be trimmed down to six seconds or shorter now, and you can activate your device's flashlight to work as a flash in low-light situations. There are a few other features too, and you can check those out on the app's Google Play page. Now all that's separating your from internet stardom is, well... you.

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As much as Apple would like for this discussion to be over, controversy and conversation over whether the iPhone 6 / 6 Plus has a durability problem is continuing. Just as it tested out antenna reception for the iPhone 4, Consumer Reports has forced Apple's newest mobile devices into its torture testing chambers, measuring them along with several other devices to see how much pressure they can really take. You can see the tests for yourself in a video embedded after the break, but according to CR, the larger iPhone 6 Plus is actually stronger than its counterpart, only deforming under 90 pounds of pressure, more than the 70 it took to bend the standard iPhone 6 and HTC One (M8). Meanwhile, Unbox Therapy gave a brand new iPhone 6 Plus another go in its less-scientific test, and bent it once again, while a Moto X withstood the challenge.

[Image credit: Consumer Reports]

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Those claims that HTC is making an action camera just got much more concrete. The company has posted both a RECamera teaser site and a video (below) which not-so-subtly hint that the adventure-oriented shooter should launch on October 8th, the same day as HTC's "Double Exposure" media event. While there aren't many giveaways in the clip, it shows both a swimming pool dive and a wide-angle lens -- this is undoubtedly a waterproof device meant to take on the likes of GoPro. There's nothing here to confirm rumors that the camera will have a 16-megapixel sensor and wireless networking, but you'll only have to wait a couple of weeks to get the full scoop.

Update: And one enterprising Redditor's found pictures of the device -- which looks like... a... periscope? The image's source has now been taken down. Darn.

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Thanks to the expanded third-party integration in iOS 8, app developers are able to take advantage of things like extensions for that Photos library. It also allows access to the iPhone's camera settings, and a new piece of software offers another option for sorting just that. Manual, a $1.99 add-on for Apple's handsets, allows you to tweak variables in a similar fashion to how you would with a DSLR. There are options for controlling shutter, ISO, white balance, focus and exposure bracketing. On top of all that, a rule of thirds grid keeps compositions in order, a live monitor eyes exposure and a fill flash mode tackles lighting woes. All of that may sound complicated, but the interface is quite simple, so you should be easily making your tweaks in no time -- as long as you have the latest version of iOS, of course. Other apps, like Camera+, tackle manual controls too, so you'll be able to take your pick when it comes to fine-tuning those photos.

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Not sure if you want to hide your shiny new iPhone's newfangled design in a bulky case? Maybe you should -- apparently, it's quite pliable. iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users on Twitter seem to be finding small, but noticeable bends just south of the handsets' volume controls. Front-pocket storage is all it takes to give the handset a gentle slope, according to some users, but it can be bent other ways too. Back pockets and malicious YouTube users (video from Unbox Therapy after the break) can both bend the device to their will.

Update: Just for kicks, the same guy tried the same thing with a Galaxy Note 3, and while its plastic frame gave some squeaking under the pressure, it showed only slight warping after two attempts. There's the difference in materials to account for, but of course we're not surprised -- we've seen how Samsung tests its large phones under pressure.

Update 2 (9/24): For one final video, Unbox Therapy lined up a few more phones: the new Moto X, HTC One (M8), iPhone 6, iPhone 5S and a Nokia Lumia 1020. Unsurprisingly, none bent to the degree of the iPhone 6 Plus, with only the iPhone 6 (standard) showing a slight bend. The Moto X and Lumia 1020 seemed the most resistant to pressure, while the One M8 and 5S creaked, but did not bend noticeably. Meanwhile, UBreakIFix gave it a shot, using a machine to stress several phones with exactly 100 lbs of pressure. The result there? The iPhone 6 Plus bent less than other large phones, but because of its metal frame, it couldn't bend back into shape afterwards. Overhyped video trend or real issue? Only time will tell, but you can see the test after the break, and for now, it looks like most other phones -- including Apple's -- don't respond to stress in the way the iPhone 6 Plus does.

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After surfacing on April Fools' Day, ThinkGeek made its gadget-charging Flux Capacitor into an actual product. Sporting all of the details of the full-sized power plant, this diminutive option leverages your car's cigarette lighter to juice up a pair of devices via two USB ports. Of course, those 1.21 gigawatts of power are reduced to 2.1 amps, and there's an on/off switch for the $25 time-traveling accessory's lights. And yes, they actually pulse just like you hoped. Of course, if you're looking to splurge for the real deal, you'll need to shell out a bit more dough.

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New team collaboration / messaging apps are seemingly everywhere, from Trello to Slack to (now Microsoft-owned) Yammer. A new entrant Talko is interesting not only for its pedigree -- the team is led by Lotus Notes co-creator and former Microsoft Chief Technical Officer / Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie -- but because it marks a return to the days when our phone was a tool for voice communication, instead of primarily text or pictures. In an introductory blog post, the Talko team describes an app that lets users talk, share and do. The idea is that communicating by voice while everyone is online is easier and others can catch up with the conversation at any time since the data is cached on Talko's servers -- Danny Ferry would probably not approve. Right now the app is iPhone only, while Talko says Android and web apps are on the way.

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While Opera Max is slowly making official launches around the world, this cloud-based data-compression service has just nabbed another partner -- and it's a pretty big one, too. Today, the Norwegian company announced that MediaTek will be embedding its app in two of its LTE-enabled 64-bit chipsets: the octa-core MT6752 and the quad-core MT6732. What this means is that should manufacturers want to integrate Opera Max into their MediaTek-powered devices (our understanding is that this feature is optional), they wouldn't have to spend time on testing the app, ergo shorter time to market. And of course, the end user gets to load pages, music and video clips faster anywhere on the device (unlike how the Opera browser only compresses data that are loaded within it), while also saving "up to 50 percent" of bandwidth, courtesy of Opera's cloud servers. That said, the service doesn't process encrypted links, for obvious reasons. For those who aren't familiar with Opera Max, feel free to check out the new video after the break.

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To say that Apple's doing things differently would be an understatement. With the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, the company introduced two new high-end phones at the same time, both with a complete redesign and a much larger screen size than any iPhone that came before. Gone are the days of 3.5-inch and 4-inch phones that, at one time, seemed to provide more than ample amounts of screen space. Now, the new iPhones make their predecessors look like the tiny handset Ben Stiller used in Zoolander. The market has changed, and it was high time Apple did the same.

Even though this is Apple's first attempt at building large phones, it's not breaking new ground -- in fact, it feels more like the company is catching up than innovating. To be fair, finding a fresh take is a difficult thing to do in this crowded space: Samsung's Galaxy Note series, which started out at 5.3 inches and is now up to 5.7, is selling by the millions, and most competing flagships aren't much smaller. Basically, Apple would be leaving money on the table if it didn't address this segment of the market. So how did the company do on its first try at large phones? Pretty well -- mostly.

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Need to hear more from Tim Cook after this week's new iPhone and Watch event? Charlie Rose will air a two-part interview with the Apple CEO tonight and Monday, and excerpts posted to YouTube point to a few popular topics about the company. Cook discusses his company's purchase of Beats by pointing out the brand Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre were able to build, and their recognition of the human element in putting together playlists. In another clip, he continues the longstanding tradition of pointing out how ancient and backwards the TV experience still is, and that Apple is interested in it (we'll reference our advice from 2012 on how to handle these rumors) -- without revealing anything about plans to actually enter the market or adjust the approach of its Apple TV box. You can view the clips embedded after the break, and the first part of the interview tonight (likely at 11PM) on your local PBS affiliate.

Update: The full episode is embedded after the break via Hulu Plus, and pt. 2 will air Monday night, again probably at 11PM on your local PBS affiliate. In part two Tim Cook will talk a bit about privacy and the NSA, there's also a clip of that below.

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We've seen LG flaunting the self-healing coating on its rather peculiar G Flex, but wouldn't it be nice to have this on other phones? Well, Innerexile's Hydra plastic case for the iPhone 6 offers a similar feature. We say "similar," because the hard yet resilient Hydra is apparently able to recover from a heavier bronze brush scratch test -- 1kg instead of the G Flex's 750g -- as well as strong bending in the lab. I received a couple of samples to play with and while I don't have the same testing equipment, I can still attest to the cases' impressive build quality, glossy finish and flexural strength -- as shown in my hands-on video after the break. But as with the G Flex, the Hydra's patented self-healing coating is meant for light scratches only.

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Tin Can String

HD Voice technology isn't particularly new -- in fact, some UK operators have supported it since as far back as 2010. Very few devices were HD-capable back then, though, but lots of modern smartphones are now suitably equipped, leading other carriers to get their acts together. Today, Vodafone announced it's joining the party, letting anyone with a supported handset make HD calls to others on the same network. HD Voice, if you weren't aware, widens the frequency range of your call, ensuring conversations almost sound like you're talking to someone face-to-face. Today's launch means O2 is now the only major UK carrier not offering the feature, and it says it has no official plans to either. Given most smartphone usage is dedicated to messaging and photo apps these days, today's launch might not excite Vodafone customers all that much. The difference in quality is noticeable though, so prepare to feel like someone's living inside your head the first time a call connects in HD.

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Now that Apple's new iPhone 6 Plus is ready to play in the Galaxy Note 4's size territory, Samsung is taking the competition on with a few new ads. It's revived the "It Doesn't Take A Genius" tagline, and first up is a segment making fun of Apple's glitchy live video stream during yesterday's presentation. The rest of the videos play up Samsung's features like multitasking windows, stylus and fast charging, or make fun of anyone using a watch that still requires a phone to get connected. Whether you're already lined up for a refreshed slate of iStuff or if you weren't too impressed, the latest round of Apple vs. Samsung -- on store shelves instead of in the court room -- is here (complete with bonus flame action).

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