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Gear Live | High tech gadget and consumer electronics news, opinions, and trends.

On Gear Live: Amazon announces the Fire Phone, available July 25th

Cortana iOS android

One of the more exciting aspects of Windows Phone 8.1 is the appearance of Cortana, a Siri-like voice-based personal assistant. We spent time talking to Microsoft's Marcus Ash about Cortana, and we asked him about the possibility of Cortana making its way over to other smartphone platforms like iOS and Android. After all, the demo we were given was impressive. According to Marcus, at first it'll be a focus that is part of Windows Phone, and that's the number one priority with Cortana.

To extend Cortana across the entire smartphone ecosystem, that's the part that Microsoft is still mulling over and figuring out. The question is "How do we get Android or iOS users that also use Windows to have a great Cortana experience?" As a company, Microsoft is putting work into solving the question, and it isn't afraid to put its apps on competing platforms. After all, there's Office on Android and iOS, Bing, and others. For our money, it makes a lot more sense for Microsoft to release Cortana across multiple ecosystems rather than tying the service down as a Windows Phone exclusive. It's not the kind of feature that sells phones (similarly, we don't think that Siri on its own sells iPhones, either.) As a cloud-powered service, is Cortana a Windows play or a service play? Time will tell.


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supreme court Internet threats

Anyone who has spent any time online has probably gotten a death threat or two. Maybe you were playing Call of Duty and some 11-year-old questioned your sexuality before telling you he'd kill your family. Maybe you offended the legions of desperate Tumblr bloggers in some arcane way and you woke up to a swarm of messages on your dash saying they would hack you and your dog apart with rusty machetes. You probably did what any reasonable person did and rolled your eyes and went about your day.

Statements and threats on the internet aren't usually taken seriously. Both the giver and the receiver are usually anonymous and the threat is usually over the top enough that you laugh and think nothing of it.

Well, the highest court in the United States might be ready to have the final word.

Click to continue reading Supreme Court to drop the hammer on Internet threats


nhtsa smartphone maps

Laws on the books to stop texting or talking on a cell phone while driving are nothing new, in fact I know a guy who just got slammed with five points on his license for doing it. But laws regarding cell phone use while driving leave a gray area, GPS and map aids, programs not within the spirit of the laws when they were made and an uncertainty for courts.

The government is looking to change that.

The Transportation Department has asked congress to give them the ability to regulate map aids and devices as part of their ongoing battle with 'distracted driving.' The measure is part of the GROW AMERICA proposed transportation bill, and would give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration free reign to set restriction and limits on apps and down the line demand changed to any it deems dangerous.

What does this mean in a practical sense? Apps for maps might start to look like the built in GPS system in your car, where some models make you press a button acknowledging that you will not set the device while the car is moving. It might mean that telling the court you were just checking your map won't get you off.

The measure has support from automakers who have already built those safeguards into their GPS devices. Regulatory agencies maintain that they already have the authority to regulate these apps as vehicle equipment, and only want it written into law.

That means they don't have the authority or they would not be demanding it from congress.


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MacBook Air giveaway

Today in the Gear Live Deals Shop you can enter to win an 11-ich MacBook Air. You can get better than free, so this is our Deal of the Day.

Apple recently released an updated MacBook Air, and that's the one you'd end up walking away with if you win. That means a dual-core Intel Core i5 1.4GHz Haswell processor, 4GB RAM, 9-hour battery life, and blazing fast SSD storage. Ready to enter? Here you go:

Enter our MacBook Air giveaway

Don’t forget, if you’re looking for other deals, be sure to check out our Newegg Promo Code thread. Oh, and if you're on Twitter, be sure to follow @TechPromos for the latest deals.


OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 3

Earlier today Apple released iOS 8 beta 3, and a few minutes later, we now have OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 3 as well. Developers who are already running Yosemite can get the 1.16 GB update through the Mac App Store, while those who are looking to install it for the first time will need to log in to the Apple Developer Portal. As for the rest of the world, OS X Yosemite is set to launch this fall, bringing features like an all-new user interface, Continuity, and more to Apple's desktop operating system.

Click to continue reading OS X 10.10 Yosemite Developer Preview 3 now available, here’s what’s new


iOS 8 beta 3 download

Apple has just released iOS 8 beta 3, which can be found in the Developer Portal right now. iOS 8 beta 3 build 12A4318c works with supported iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models, and is available as an over-the-air update to users already running a previous iOS 8 beta on their devices. If you're already running iOS 8, you can update over-the-air by going into Settings > General > Software Update. Or you can go and grab the necessary download at http://developer.apple.com. Apple originally showed off iOS 8, and released its first beta, at WWDC 2014. The full release will come in the fall. Apple also released OS X Yosemite Developer Preview 2 today as well.

If you are a paid members of Apple's iOS developer program, here are the links for iOS 8 beta 3 downloads:

iPad:

iPhone:

iPod touch:

Click to continue reading Apple releases iOS 8 beta 3 build 12A4318c to developers, download here!


HP EliteBook Folio 1040 g1 review

HP decided that it was time to build a business notebook that sports the best features of the top consumer laptops, and the result is the HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1. Ridiculously long name aside, the thin and light body construction is the right first-impression, and is a stark change from the typical squared-off black boxes that you typically find in a business notebook.

That said, you should never judge a laptop by its cover, and we've been using the HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 for the past month to put it through the proper paces in anticipation of this review. Does this PC succeed at accomplishing all the things a business power user needs while maintaining the sexy appearance of a consumer laptop? Join us for our full HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 review to find out.

Click to continue reading HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 review


HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 chiclet keyboard

We just hit you with our HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 review, but we also put together this sampling of images to give you a look at some of the fit and finish on the business notebook. Seriously, the EliteBook 1040 is a fine-looking piece of hardware. Head on over to the gallery below to check them out!

Gallery: HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 photo gallery


Mac Freebie Bundle 3.0

Today in the Gear Live Deals Shop we're offering a 100% discount on 7 awesome Mac apps. It's the Mac Freebie Bundle 3.0, and it's our Deal of the Day.

Standouts in the Mac Freebie Bundle 3.0 include: ClipBuddy, a clipboard manager. X-Mirage, which allows you to mirror your iOS devices to your Mac. Elmedia Player Pro, which lets you download streaming flash video. Vidiary, the video journal app.

Save 100% on 7 awesome Mac apps

Don’t forget, if you’re looking for other deals, be sure to check out our Newegg Promo Code thread. Oh, and if you're on Twitter, be sure to follow @TechPromos for the latest deals.


Google I/O 2014 kicks off today, with the big keynote starting at 9:00 AM PDT / 12:00 PM EDT, and you can join in and watch the presentation in the player above. What are we expecting to hear about during the Google I/O 2014 keynote? Well, the biggest piece of news will likely be the reveal of the next version of Android, likely Android 5.0. We'll get a look at the future of Android smartphones and tablets, in addition to set-top boxes. Google will be showing off a new Android TV set-top box, which is interesting since Google TV hardware failed so miserably over the last few years. Wearables should also be big today, with Google Glass and Android Wear devices getting some stage time. Google also typically releases Google+ updates during the I/O keynote as well.

What are you hoping to hear about from Google this morning?


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