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Showing posts from December, 2014

Former Apple engineer describes 'secret war' with opponents of copy protection

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A former Apple engineer on Friday told a federal jury that he worked on a project meant to deny rivals access to the lucrative iTunes digital music and iPod device markets, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Previously, the engineer, Rod Schultz, had characterized Apple's frequent updates of iTunes as a 'secret war' between the company and those who sought to break copy protection of music and movies.
At an Oakland, Calif. trial where Apple faces antitrust accusations, Schultz told the jury that his work was 'intended to block 100% of non-iTunes clients' and 'keep out third-party players,' the newspaper reported ( subscription required).
Schultz, who worked for Apple from January 2006 until March 2008, was a senior software engineer on the team responsible for FairPlay, the company's digital rights management (DRM) technology designed to prevent illegal copying and sharing of content. Currently, Schultz is vice president of product at Krimmeni Technolog…

Valve Removes Controversial Massacre Sim From Greenlight

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Hatred, the ultraviolent massacre sim that gained notoriety due to its controversial content, has been removed from Stream's Greenlight program.
Steam custodian Valve confirmed it had deleted the listing, after it had rapidly accrued thousands of votes, suggesting that the game's brutal content had spurred its decision.
'Based on what we've seen on Greenlight we would not publish Hatred on Steam,' Valve spokesperson Doug Lombardi told Eurogamer. 'As such we'll be taking it down.'
Hatred was revealed to the public in October with a trailer that immediately drew controversy. The video, above, features a lone gunman preparing for a massacre in his home, before setting himself upon the surrounding neighbourhood.
Later, the video depicts stabbings, mall massacres, and shotgun executions. The nameless character, dressed in a leather trench coat, is at one point seen jamming a pistol into a fallen woman's mouth, before pulling the trigger.
Valve's decision …

Case over Apple's digital music dominance heads to jury

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Posted: 12/15/2014 03:24:57 PM PST
OAKLAND -- iTunes 7.0: A landmark improvement to Apple's software for the iPod or an empty update meant to drive out competitors and hike prices for consumers?
That will be the $1 billion question for a federal jury in Oakland as they deliberate over whether Apple's dominance of digital music during the iPod's heyday amounted to an illegal monopoly. After a two-week trial with a few speed bumps, lawyers for Apple and the plaintiffs made their final pitches to jurors Monday, offering up divergent portraits of the Cupertino-based tech giant.
Plaintiffs argue that Apple's practice of restricting music downloads on the iPod to the iTunes store stamped out competition from other firms. During his closing argument, plaintiffs lawyer Patrick Coughlin said Apple's software updates, which drove out a rival program from RealNetworks, were a 'one-two punch' in the market.

'Apple didn't want to leave you with that choice,' pla…

Anonymous reaps revenge on Pirate Bay

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ANONYMOUS HACKERS have taken out their frustration about The Pirate Bay site being down on the Swedish government, while a former rival tracker has restarted a version of the torrent site.
Isohunt, another popular torrent tracker, has launched oldpiratebay.org, which recreates the entire database of the mostly erstwhile Swedish site, and is at present unblocked by UK ISPs.
A number of fake Pirate Bay trackers have been popping up in the proxy addresses previously mirroring the original Pirate Bay, but most of these have no functionality or, at their worst, malware payloads.
Isohunt, which appears to be as kosher as an illegal torrenting site can be, said that Pirate Bay represented 'a symbol of liberty for a generation of internet users' and that 'nothing will be forgotten'.
However, this did not stop urine-swigging laptop revolutionary group Anonymous from showing its displeasure through a series of hacks on Swedish websites in retaliation for the raids that brought down …

LG is about to take TVs to the next level with quantum dots

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A new kind of display is about to make TV images appear even more lifelike. LG will show off a TV based on quantum-dot technology at CES 2015 in January, and the company also plans to start selling it later that year.
Quantum-dot tech uses extremely tiny crystals - measuring 2 to 10 nanometers - to generate light. (That's so small that the tiniest crystals are only about 20 atoms thick.) Different-size crystals generate different colors, and the size of the crystals can be controlled precisely. As a result, quantum-dot displays can reproduce color that's even better and more accurate than OLED screens, the current leading tech for advanced TVs.
There are already a few products with quantum-dot displays, most notably Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX, and China's TCL announced in the fall it would build the world's first TV based on the tech.
With LG, which sells roughly 17% of the world's TVs, on board, quantum-dot sets will have a shot at going mainstream. The company did…

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Summary:T-Mobile continues its aggressive march on competing carriers by launching the first cellular Google Nexus 9 and offering low cost unlimited data, voice, and text business plans.
(Image: T-Mobile) Google launched the WiFi-only model of the Nexus 9, see my full review, in early November and this week T-Mobile announced they have the first LTE version available now for $599.76.
The LTE Google Nexus 9, made by HTC, may be coming to other carriers eventually, but T-Mobile is the only place to buy one at this time. This model of the Nexus 9 is the same as the WiFi version with the addition of LTE support. That means it has an 8.9 inch display, front-facing stereo speakers, Android 5.0 Lollipop, and a 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor.
The HTC Nexus 9 can be purchased at T-Mobile's Underground site for $0 down and $24.99/month for 24 months. T-Mobile lets you add the Nexus 9 to your account for $10 per month that matches your Simple Choice data plan. You can also choose to get 200M…

'Half

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After successfully porting two of Valve's most popular franchises to the NVIDIA Shield, today's news is only natural -- Half-Life 2: Episode One is now available for download on Google Play as a Shield exclusive. The expansion's launch is notable not only as yet another high-profile PC game worming its way into the Android ecosystem, but also as a possible marker of something else: the slow death of NVIDIA's original Shield handheld. NVIDIA's original gaming portable is still available, but it won't run the platform's latest release: that's a tablet exclusive.
It's not the first tablet exclusive game to come to the Shield: the slate launched with a handful of Tegra K1 optimized games, including a handful of native Android games and Trine 2. There were enhanced ports of Half-Life 2 and Portal on the tablet too, but those titles were available on the company's handheld Shield as well. Leaving out the portable isn't too surprising ( Half-Life 2 …

Xiaomi is now the fourth

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Brent Lewin | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Watch out Apple and Samsung, the Chinese company Xiaomi is creeping up in the ranks of smartphone-makers.
Read More 'China's Apple' Xiaomi's expansion is under threat
The company is now the fourth-biggest seller of smartphones worldwide, right behind Huawei, according to Gartner.
Xiaomi sold 15.8 million units in the third quarter of this year, a 322 percent increase from the same period a year ago, when Gartner reported it sold 3.6 million units.
Xiaomi isn't the only Chinese smartphone-maker that saw growth in sales year over year.
Three of the top five smartphone-makers worldwide are Chinese companies including Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo. Collectively, these three companies accounted for about 15 percent of all smartphone sales in the third quarter.
The other two leading handset companies were Samsung, which sold 73.2 million units, and Apple, which sold 38.2 million smartphones.
Read More China's Xiaomi makes strides in smartph…

Tech Companies Back Microsoft in Ireland Email Warrant Case

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Corporate lobbyists, news organizations and academics joined forces with Microsoft on Monday in the software company's legal battle with the U.S. government over access to customer data stored overseas. The diverse set of interests filed briefs with a federal appeals court in New York, urging it to reverse a judge's order that Microsoft turn over emails from a data center in Ireland. They argued that turning them over would jeopardize the future of international cloud computing. Technology companies including Apple and AT&T also filed briefs supporting Microsoft's bid to fend off a government search warrant for the emails.
Microsoft began fighting the warrant in 2013, saying that U.S. prosecutors were overreaching by demanding data held in a foreign country without the assistance of local authorities. It is not known whose emails are sought, but prosecutors said they wanted them for a drug investigation. The prosecutors said their demand did not violate Irish sovereignt…

Sony Pictures hack takes yet another weird twist

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The Sony Pictures Entertainment hack has taken yet another weird twist with hackers apparently offering to withhold data stolen from the company's employees.
On Sunday the group claiming responsibility for the crippling Nov. 24 hack offered not to release some email correspondence from Sony Pictures' employees. The group urged employees to contact them if they don't want their correspondence released.
There was no way to determine how many, if any employees, had supplied their details.
The post, which claimed to be from the shadowy Guardians of Peace, or GOP, group, appeared on file sharing sites Pastebin and Friendpaste, according to the website Recode.
'Message to SPE Staffers,' it read. 'We have a plan to release emails and privacy of the Sony Pictures employees. If you don't want your privacy to be released, tell us your name and business title to take off your data.'
Sunday's message also contained links to several file sharing sites for obtaining t…

FCC Won't Issue Public Notice On Net Neutrality Options

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Source: Staff feels record will be sufficient and notice would be unnecessary delay 12/15/2014 03:43:00 PM Eastern

The FCC will not put out a formal public notice (PN) seeking additional comment on any of the proposed hybrid variations on new Open Internet rules offered up by various parties. There had been some speculation such a PN could be issued, with sources saying earlier in the month that the chairman had made no decision one way or the other. But Politico had reported the FCC was leaning toward not issuing the notice, and a source familiar with the FCC's plans, who agreed to speak on background, said Monday that a PN was not going to be issued. The source said FCC staffers feel there has been sufficient input on those suggestions, including filings in recent weeks that made them more comfortable with not putting out a separate notice. Such a notice could delay the process given that the commission would have to set a comment period, even if it were only a couple of weeks, a…

BT in talks to buy EE for £12.5bn

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Telecoms giant BT is in exclusive talks to buy EE - Britain's largest mobile network group.
It said the period of exclusivity would last 'several weeks' to enable it to carry out the necessary negotiations.
'The proposed acquisition would enable BT to accelerate its existing mobility strategy,' it said in a statement.
A takeover of EE would create a communications giant covering fixed-line phones, broadband, mobile and TV.
According to Citigroup, EE holds 33.8% of the UK mobile market by revenue.
In November, BT said it was in talks to buy either EE, jointly owned by Deutsche Telekom and Orange, or O2 which is owned by Spanish firm Telefonica.
EE's owners - France's Orange and Germany's Deutsche Telekom - put plans for an initial public offering of EE on hold this year.
BT spun off its own mobile network, BT Cellnet, now 02, in 2002. In 2005 it was acquired by Spain's Telefonica for £17.7bn.

Three of the top five smartphone companies are now Chinese

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As Xiaomi has grown rapidly, and Lenovo's deal to buy Motorola from Google has closed, three of the world's top five smartphone vendors are now from China, according to third-quarter statistics released today by Gartner.

South Korea's Samsung and US-based Apple remain the world's No. 1 and No. 2 smartphone makers, by a significant margin, according to Gartner. But Samsung's third-quarter sales declined by 7 million units from the same period last year, while Apple's increased by almost 8 million, according to Gartner's tallies.
(Note: These estimates differ from Apple's officially released statistics. But Gartner is reporting 'sales to end users' while Apple reports shipments-allowing for differences in inventory, among other potential discrepancies.)
One storyline worth paying attention to is the rise of China's Huawei, Xiaomi, and Lenovo, which now command a combined 15.5% of the global smartphone market. It's unlikely they'll immedia…

Skype Real

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Imagine being able to speak another language without having to learn it. Skype is making it possible.
The Microsoft-owned chat service on Monday launched the first phase of its Skype Translator preview program first announced back in May. Jointly developed by Microsoft researchers and Skype engineers, the new feature uses real-time speech translation technologies to let you have a conversation with someone over the Internet who speaks a different language.
This means you can have a conversation just like normal, and Skype will translate what you say into the other person's language in 'near real-time.' Then, when the other person says something, it will be translated back to your language.
At this point, the feature is still pretty limited. It only works with Spanish and English, but Microsoft said it plans to add more languages soon. In the meantime, it will translate more than 40 different languages if you're just instant messaging, not speaking. You'll also need a …

Hackers offer to spare some Sony employees from stolen data leaks

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Image: Nick Ut/Associated Press
The hacker group that calls itself GOP or 'Guardians of Peace' doesn't seem to have any plans to stop dumping information pilfered from its hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment to the press. But now they might be offering some Sony employees a way out if they contact the hackers.
In the latest data dump that was sent to reporters, which happened on Sunday, the hackers included what appears to be a merciful message to Sony employees.
'We have a plan to release emails and privacy of the Sony Pictures employees,' the message reads. 'If you don't want your privacy to be released, tell us your name and business title to take off your data.'
That's about as conciliatory as the hackers' message gets, however. In the past few weeks, the hacking collective has leaked controversial email correspondence between Sony executives, as well as financial documents and the personal information of celebrities.
'The sooner SPE accep…

Sony hacking highlights challenge to CEO Hirai's 'One Sony' vision

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Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser
An entrance gate to Sony Pictures Entertainment at the Sony Pictures lot is pictured in Culver City, California April 14, 2013.
The Japanese conglomerate is heading for its fifth net loss in six years, raising questions about its ability to hold on to businesses ranging from making television sets to movies. While activist hedge fund investor Daniel Loeb has given up his call for Sony to spin off its entertainment arm, others believe it should exit weak product lines such as TVs.
Bilingual Hirai is linked to both sides of Sony, having experience at both the video games and music businesses. He is therefore widely considered one of the company's few executives capable of bringing together the manufacturing and movie-making cultures of Tokyo and Hollywood.
But along with racial jokes related to U.S. President Barack Obama and disparaging remarks about top actors, leaked emails from Sony Pictures executives reveal tension between Hirai and the film studio.
The…

Pirate Bay resurrected by fellow torrent site IsoHunt

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A week after Swedish police shut down BitTorrent indexing site the Pirate Bay, torrent search site IsoHunt resurrected it in its entirety.
In a blog post, IsoHunt explains that, while it encourages Pirate Bay users to switch to IsoHunt (two sites are very similar in functionality), it has preserved the entire Pirate Bay site and put it up at the web address oldpiratebay.org.
'We, the Isohunt.to team, copied the base of the PirateBay in order to save it to the generations of users. Nothing will be forgotten. Keep on believing, keep on sharing,' the post reads.
Restoring the Pirate Bay was not a very hard task, since an archive of the entire site has been available for download freely since Feb. 2013.
The new/old Pirate Bay now has a blueish hue, but other than that seems to be identical to the old site, which has been completely unavailable since the police raided its servers.
A couple of days after the shutdown, one of the site's cofounders, Peter Sunde, said he 'doesn'…

Chat App Viber Introduces Games In An Initial 5 Countries, Plans Global Rollout ...

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It's been quite a year for Viber, and now the mobile messaging company is seeing out 2014 with arguably its most significant release to date: the launch of a social games platform.
Viber, which was bought by Japan's Rakuten for $900 million back in February - right before Facebook acquired WhatsApp - is taking a leaf from the Asian messaging app playbook with the launch of an initial three games. It isn't a global launch however. These titles will be available for iOS and Android users in an initial five markets - Belarus, Malaysia, Israel, Singapore and the Ukraine - with the company planning to roll them out to all Viber users worldwide in January 2015.
Earlier this year, founder Talmon Marco said Viber would introduce games before the end of 2014, and the company has just about stuck to that timeline. Just about.
Like other chat apps, linking a Viber account to the games platform will allow users to link to their social graph to do things like send gifts to friends, check …

Microsoft Windows 10 Early Build Leaks; Shows Cortana Integration and More

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Ahead of Microsoft's scheduled 'The Next Chapter' event for Windows 10 on January 21, where it is expected to unveil the consumer preview of the upcoming OS, an early build has leaked showing numerous changes.
WinBeta claims to have received an early version of Microsoft Windows 10 with build 9901, and has posted a video (below) showing various purported changes in the upcoming build.
In the leaked build, Microsoft is seen to have made some visible changes such as new wallpaper showing upfront alongside Cortana integration. The video shows Cortana will be present on the task bar with search option. Interestingly, the voice-based virtual assistant app is seen to also support voice-commands; though the leaked 9901 build showed that the feature still requires some updates to work.
Some of the other changes include Store Beta, which is a revamped app for Microsoft's app store (currently incomplete); the settings pane appears in Modern window frame; face lifted Settings app (s…

Sony follows Microsoft into hungry China market with PlayStation 4 launch

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Sony's PlayStation 4 will soon make a push into China, a country that has a ban on foreign game consoles since 2000. Photo: Getty Images
Sony will release its PlayStation 4 console in China next month, following Microsoft into the world's biggest game market after the government eased restrictions.
Sales will start January 11 with a price of 2,899 yuan ($571), Tokyo-based Sony said in a statement last week. The handheld PlayStation Vita will also begin sales at the same time at 1299 yuan.
Console makers and game developers are pouring into China after the end of a government ban imposed in 2000, trying to win over a generation of players who shifted to computers and mobile devices. Gaming is one of the few bright spots for Sony, which has sold more than 16 million units of the PS4 according to industry data, as the company heads for another annual loss and has been embarrassed by a computer hack in Hollywood.
Sony plans to start packaging consoles for the China market from this mo…

Sony Gave Me $1349 Worth Of PlayStation Games This Year

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In North America alone during 2014, Sony handed out 71 free games totaling a value of $1349 to PlayStation Plus members. I paid $49.99 for all of them.
That staggering statistic comes courtesy of website Push Square, which recently published a comprehensive evaluation of Sony's premium PlayStation service PS Plus. The optional subscription, which costs $49.99 when purchased annually, nets its users online multiplayer for PS4 (granted, that's not entirely 'optional'), cloud-based storage for game saves, discounts on regularly priced titles, access to Tune In radio, and a monthly allotment of free games for PS4, PS3, and PS Vita among other perks.
As of Sony's last earnings call in October, the service has a 7.9 million subscribers.
Push Square really did their homework, and the entire report is worth studying in its entirety to understand the depth and value of Sony's offerings. One strong example is June, when Sony handed out $139.94 worth of free games, including…

Watch the First Street Fighter V Match Live Here [UPDATE]

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Following the Capcom Cup tournament, where EG's Momomich took top prize playing as Ken, Capcom producer Yoshinori Ono took the stage both too introduce the first live Street Fighter V match as well as reveal that Charlie Nash will be a playable character in the PS4 exclusive Street Fighter V.
While Capcom is working on Street Fighter V, Ono promised to continue supporting Ultra Street Fighter IV next year.
Ono also announced that the prize pool for next year's Capcom tournaments will be increased to $500,000.
The original story appears below.
On Saturday, December 13, Capcom is hosting the finale of their Capcom Cup Ultra Street Fighter IV tournament here in San Francisco. You can watch the entire event live through their Twitch channel above, but the bigger reason for fans to tune will be to catch the first broadcast of a Street Fighter V match.
After handing out the $50,000 prize pool winnings for the tournament, Capcom is set to reveal some 'special announcements as well.…

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Summary:T-Mobile continues its aggressive march on competing carriers by launching the first cellular Google Nexus 9 and offering low cost unlimited data, voice, and text business plans.
(Image: T-Mobile) Google launched the WiFi-only model of the Nexus 9, see my full review, in early November and this week T-Mobile announced they have the first LTE version available now for $599.76.
The LTE Google Nexus 9, made by HTC, may be coming to other carriers eventually, but T-Mobile is the only place to buy one at this time. This model of the Nexus 9 is the same as the WiFi version with the addition of LTE support. That means it has an 8.9 inch display, front-facing stereo speakers, Android 5.0 Lollipop, and a 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor.
The HTC Nexus 9 can be purchased at T-Mobile's Underground site for $0 down and $24.99/month for 24 months. T-Mobile lets you add the Nexus 9 to your account for $10 per month that matches your Simple Choice data plan. You can also choose to get 200M…

RIP iPod Classic: Music's most elegant solution

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for The Atlantic
Recently I had a fairly pedestrian thought, a thought I've been having on and off for 10 years: 'I want to put some music onto my portable music listening device.' This used to be a relative cinch: I'd put the music on iTunes, plug in my iPod, and drag the songs over. Now, anytime I dare hook my iPhone up to a computer, there's software that needs updating, apps and photos I need to clear away for extra room, and esoteric rules regarding what is allowed to 'sync.' After finally getting an album onto my phone, another software update a week later reverted my music library to its previous state, putting me back at square one and making me long for my iPod, the last device I owned that was just for music.
Apple discontinued the 'iPod Classic' (the click-wheeled hard drive that changed the way much of the world listened to music) two months ago. Last weekend, The Guardian found absence was making hearts grow fonder. 'With a storage ca…

Project Loon works with France's space agency to develop next

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Project Loon has come a long way since Google X started working on it in 2011: its balloons can now stay afloat for 100 days, for one, and it has recently gained a partner carrier in Australia's Telstra. Now, France's space agency, Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), has revealed that it's been collaborating with the semi-secret lab for a year now to take this moonshot to the next level. Apparently, the agency is helping Mountain View analyze data from ongoing tests, as well as design its next-gen floating hotspots. Google, on the other hand, will help CNES conduct long-haul balloon flights to the stratosphere.
'No single solution can solve such a big, complex problem. That's why we're working with experts from all over the world, such as CNES, to invest in new technologies like Project Loon that can use the winds to provide Internet to rural and remote areas,' said Mike Cassidy, the Google VP in charge of the project. CNES has a long history rese…

FBI warns businesses about large

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There's still some debate over the scale of Iran's reported Operation Cleaver hacking campaign, but the FBI is clearly taking it seriously. According to Reuters' copy of a confidential report, the federal law enforcement agency is warning businesses of advanced Iranian hacks targeting American defense, education and energy firms. The alert stops short of accusing Iran of a cyberwarfare campaign, but notes that the attacks usually come from two connections within the country. There isn't exactly a huge list of suspects here.
To security company Cylance, which first spotted Cleaver, the warning is a sign that the campaign is larger than first thought -- it emphasizes Iran's 'determination and fixation' to breach and spy on crucial infrastructure. The nation's government denies any involvement, but it's hard to imagine the FBI letting the country off the hook quite so easily given accusations that Iran broke into US Navy computers last year. No matter w…

Top 5 smartphones of 2014 (Video)

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It's been one year in the making, but it's finally time to take a step back and look at what we've been given this year in mobile technology. Smartphones have come a long way over the last year. With all of the launches we've seen, it's time to put together the top 5 smartphones currently available...
These are the best of the best. Most of the smartphone released this year pack large phablet-like displays, but we'll throw in a couple of alternatives in case you value pocket space over screen size. Keep in mind, this list is in no particular order, but each smartphone has clearly earned it's place. It's been a long and busy year for the smartphone industry and we've nailed down our top picks. This is going to be your definitive guide to smartphone buying. Without any further delay, let's get right into it.
Check out our Top 5 Smartphones of 2014 video below:
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
First up on the list is Samsung's Galaxy Note 4. This is one of th…

Tech Week: Instagram Vs. Twitter And Europe Vs. Google

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All Tech Considered
Instagram beat Twitter on a key metric, but Twitter's co-founder says he doesn't care. And...

If you've been too busy finalizing holiday vacation plans and buying gifts, we're here to catch you up on the tech headlines you may have missed from NPR and beyond.
ICYMI
Rise of Ransomware: This type of virus is getting more and more common, so Aarti Shahani explains Ransomware. Security experts seem to disagree over whether to pay up when hackers install a virus that sneaks into your network and takes your files, holding them for ransom.
Smart Power: This is a hectic time of year and your wee ones could pull off some shenanigans while you're too busy to notice, so Samatha Raphelson introduces us to the Brio, a power outlet that you won't have to kid-proof.
Big Conversation
Sony Fallout: The humiliating hack of Sony continues to trouble the company and its employees, from more scary warnings that indicate the hackers still have access to its servers, to …

Maryland DUI App Aims To Prevent Drunk Driving

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A new app, called ENDUI-as in 'End-DUI'-recently came out in Maryland. Funded with federal dollars, the app is designed to prevent people from driving drunk by acting as an intermediary to demonstrate partiers are too inebriated to get behind the wheel.
'It's unique,' describes Governors Highway Safety Association spokeswoman Kara Macek. 'I think states are starting to go that route because they're trying to reach consumers where they are and where they spend time, and everyone spends time on their phone. I think we're going to see more of that as we go forward.'
The Governors Highway Safety Association funded this new mobile app-which was developed by the Maryland Highway Safety Office-for approximately $50,000. And they aren't the only state with an app like this. New York, Colorado, New Mexico, and California, all have launched their own version of this app. Every one of these apps, though, are free through iOs and Android phones. One of the ga…

Ford's new SYNC will be more like your smartphone

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Ford's in-car infotainment system is getting an overhaul with SYNC 3, which will add a capacitive touch screen, better integration with smartphone apps and, eventually, support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
SYNC 3 will initially launch in a small lineup of vehicles rolling off assembly lines in 2015. Ford plans to have it available across its full North America line by the end of 2016.
While there are 10 million vehicles on the road with SYNC, none of them will get the new version of the service.
'It's both a hardware and software update,' said Don Butler, Ford's executive director of connected vehicle and services.
The biggest hardware change will be moving from resistive touch screens to capacitive ones. The new capacitive screens will be an experience most people are familiar with from tablets and smartphones. It allows for multitouch, pinch-to-zoom and requires light taps to activate on-screen buttons. Resistive touch displays, while cheaper to make, are typi…

Ford dumps Microsoft for Blackberry infotainment system

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -
Ford is upgrading its infotainment system to make it more like a smartphone or tablet -- and it is dumping its longtime software provider Microsoft as part of the change.
Instead, Ford will use Blackberry's QNX operating system for the new Sync 3 infotainment system. Ford Sync allows drivers to navigate, listen to radio and music, make phone calls and control the car's climate through touch or voice commands.
Among Sync 3's improvements will be the ability to expand or shrink the display with pinch-to-zoom gestures. Customers will also be able to swipe the screen's display, as they do on a smartphone or tablet.
Sync 3 will also have a better understanding of common voice commands. For example, drivers will be able to give a street address as 'eleven-twenty-five' rather than 'one-one-two-five.'
It also will integrate better with the Apple iPhone, allowing users to access Siri hands-free. The old Microsoft-based Sync did not always play n…

Facebook unfriends Microsoft's Bing search

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The world's largest social network has stopped showing results from the search engine.
James Martin/CNET
Facebook and Microsoft's relationship status? You can say 'It's Complicated.'
The social network said it is no longer relying on Bing for Web search results, ending a four-year online relationship with Microsoft's search engine. Microsoft still owns a tiny but valuable stake in Facebook.
'We're not currently showing web search results in Facebook Search because we're focused on helping people find what's been shared with them on Facebook,' a Facebook spokesman said in a statement.
Microsoft also confirmed the move, practically echoing Facebook's statement. 'Facebook recently changed its search experience to focus on helping people tap into information that's been shared with them on Facebook vs. a broader set of Web results,' a Microsoft spokesman said Friday.
Both companies stressed they continue to partner in other areas, how…

The Spanish War Against Google

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At least in Europe, the newspaper wars are not quite over.
Five years ago this month, Eric Schmidt, the chairman and then-CEO of Google, published a column in the Wall Street Journal about the crisis in print. Newspapers are 'struggling to adapt to a new, disruptive world,' he said. 'The Internet has broken down the entire news package.' Schmidt, Mr. Forward-thinking, cast his eye to 2015: 'The compact device in my hand delivers me the world, one news story at a time. I flip through my favorite papers and magazines, the images as crisp as in print, without a maddening wait for each page to load.' Google News is what he had in mind, a website that compiles headlines and short summaries of news stories from many sources in clean, searchable form. Newspaper executives were frustrated and angry at Google, but he contended that Google would help news organizations rather than harm them. 'We want to work with publishers to help them build bigger audiences, better …

What to expect from Sony at CES 2015

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Didn't we just leave Vegas? Tech journalists the world over are probably asking themselves that question right now, and with good reason -- the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show is set to open its many, many doors in sunny Nevada in just a few short weeks. To celebrate (and prepare for) the world's biggest tech expo, we're taking a closer look at the some of the industry's most prominent players, starting with Sony's storied history at the show and where it's going next.
A Look Back
Sony's been a mainstay of the CES show floor for decades, ever since those heady days when the show split between winters in Vegas and summers in Chicago. Those early CES years were marked by Sony's hardware-pioneering prowess: new Walkman models in the '70s, incredibly tiny Beta camcorders in the mid-'80s and top-tier VAIOs in the '90s. And every once in a while, you'd catch a glimpse of a real game changer being born at the Sony booth.

Consider the events of CES …