On Gear Live: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 pricing comes with a $129 caveat

Google Play Books read aloud

The new version of Google Play Books for Android has a new feature that reads books to users on its own. The feature is titled, obviously, "read aloud," and works with most books without the need for the book to come with a "read aloud" enabled feature.

You'll also find a new pinch-to-zoom feature, as well as double-tap-to-zoom. Further, the app now makes recommendations on other books you might find enjoyable after you finish reading one book. Though, if you're like me, you prefer to soak in the totality of a one book world before even thinking about diving into another.

Read More | Google Play

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Instagram TOS

Instagram users are flocking to greener pastures after the photo-sharing service posted new Terms of Service this week. With the new TOS, users are required to consent to allowing the Facebook-owned service license their public photos to companies, organizations and advertisers. As CNET puts it, this could make Instagram a stock photo service in itself, without paying out to photographers.

More than likely, however, the new TOS are for Instagram users would be used in promotional images, rather than as stock photos that cheat the photographers out of money. It's the fact that the latter is a possibility that is causing some users to embark on an exodus to Flickr, Hipstamatic or Twitter.

The Verge reports that searching for Instagram on Twitter brings up several instructions for how to export your Instagram pics and cancel your account. There are also several tweets spreading about which photo-sharing services make a good Instagram replacement, such as the article Fast Company posted

The change in its Terms of Services coincides not only with the unwelcome change in photo-cropping functionality, but also as Twitter adds its own photo filters, and Flickr releases version 2.0 of its iOS client. It may be a temporary setback for Instagram, or it could spell the beginning of the end if the service doesn't do something fast to appease its users.

Read More | CNET via The Verge


Consumer Reports Windows 7 vs. Windows 8

Consumer Reports thinks that, for the time being, you're better off sticking with Windows 7 and waiting on Windows 8. The consumer ratings publication provides pros and (mostly) cons of Windows operating systems, and ultimately comes to the conclusion that updating to Windows 8 is not worth the upgrade at its current state. Windows 8 has received mostly lackluster reviews from technology internet sites. Most of them being flummoxed as to what went into the decision-making at Microsoft. Still, according to Microsoft, Windows 8 is selling faster than when Windows 7 launched; but there's a question as to where these numbers came from. Here's an excerpt:

"A quick look at our newest computer Ratings tells an interesting story: Despite the release of the new Windows 8 OS, many Windows 7 computers are still available from a variety of retailers, and several top our Ratings. If you're shopping for a new computer right now, there are some good reasons to opt for Windows 7." - Consumer Reports

Read More | Consumer Reports

Latest Gear Live Videos

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See? Told you it was easy!


Steve Ballmer's Steve Jobs Pose

Microsoft is not shy about patting itself on the back. Here's the 2012 highlight reel that it put together, showcasing company milestones like Halo 4, Kinect, and their re-imagining Surface tablet.

There’s no question that it’s been a momentous year at Microsoft. The company introduced the world to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, announced its family of Surface PCs, showcased a new version of Microsoft Office and released “Halo 4,” keeping up a steady rhythm of advancements across its most popular products for individuals and businesses throughout the year. - Microsoft

Click to continue reading Microsoft releases 2012 highlight reel video

Read More | Microsoft

GameStop's Indie Game Challenge is taking a hiatus, and won't be a part of DICE 2013 according to a rep from the company.

"The 2012 - 13 Indie Game Challenge (IGC) will be on hiatus while we take time to analyze ways to promote and celebrate the independent game movement," said Wendy Dominguez to Polygon. "We have been committed and continue to be committed to supporting the independent game developer community.

The last IGC was held in February 2012, where ten finalists competed for $250,000 in prizes. The last winner, Eyebrow Interactive, won $100,000 for Closure, a puzzler, and DigiPen's Nitronic Rush received the Gamer's Choice Award.

It's not clear yet whether there will be an indie presence at all during DICE 2013, but we'll keep you posted as more news develops.

Read More | Polygon

Amazon smartphone

According to Taiwan Economic News, Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. has already begun manufacturing a new smartphone exclusively for Amazon.

The Amazon smartphone is rumored to launch sometime in the second or third quarter of 2013, at a price of $100-200 USD. Five million units are expected to ship in the next year.

Amazon is expected to gain ground quickly in the smartphone business, due mostly to its low cost strategy and loyal consumer base. Stay posted for more updates on Amazon's foray into the smartphone buisness. 

Read More | Taiwan Economic News

Google Capture iOS App (2)     YouTube Capture iOS App

Less than two weeks after Google updated its YouTube app for iOS that added universal binary support for the iPhone 5 and iPad, the company has released YouTube Capture. The app is dedicated to video recording and has the ability of simultaneously sharing via YouTube, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. The app has some video editing features like color correction, trimming, and the ability to add music tracks. Apparently, there are some reports that the app only uploads in 720p even if some iDevices can shoot in 1080p. Also, some users might be unaware that iOS has the integrated functionality to share/upload videos to YouTube from within the Photos App and in full 1080p glory. Unfortunately, abeit for a few amount of users, the app isn't optimized for the iPad's screen. Here's a list of features with YouTube Capture.

Film and share videos with YouTube Capture:

  • Easy, fast recording
  • Touch up videos with color correction, stabilization, trimming, and music tracks
  • Upload to YouTube, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter simultaneously

YouTube Capture is available for iPhone and iPod touch.

Read More | YouTube Capture

Facebook Android phones

Facebook wants more of its employees carrying Android devices, employing vaguely propagandistic posters around its Menlo Park campus. The posters outline the growing lead Android has over iOS, projecting that lead to double by 2016. The goal is to get Facebook employees using devices that the majority of their app users use, or "Droidfooding," as the campaign is casually known.

“In the early days we gave employees iPhones primarily”, a Facebook spokesperson said to TechCrunch. This recent shift to a more Android OS orientated workplace is part of an effort to make it as simple as possible to test future Facebook For Android and Facebook Messenger apps.

“We’ve created more awareness that Android devices are available” Facebook says. "There's plenty of people here carrying around both devices, and not just engineers and not just mobile people.”

Read More | TechCrunch

Windows Phone 8 Facebook

A new update for Windows Phone 8's Facebook app doesn't bring new features, but does make the app a lot faster and more responsive. Similar to the recent Facebook app updates on Android and iOS, this one focuses on the general performance of the app, and eliminates the lag from the older version.

Windows Phone 7 devices, however, aren't capable of running the new update. UK users will assuredly find the Facebook version 4.1 update in the UK Windows Phone Marketplace, but its not quite available in all markets yet.

Read More | Windows Phone

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