At today's Unpacked event, Samsung announced its new S Pen-powered Galaxy Note 3, a bigger version of the large smartphone, with much improved internals. Aiming to end the talk of people complaining about the cheap plastic feel of Samsung devices, the company has given the Note 3 a faux-leather backing. You get a 5.7-inch 1080p display (up from 5.5 on the Note 2,) and the device will support the new LTE Category 4 as well as the new Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch. You get a 13 megapixel camera on back, with a 2 megapixel version up front, and the rear camera can record in up to 4K resolution at 30fps, a first for a smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will start shipping on September 25th rocking Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, available in black, white, and pink.
Amazon has announced an awesome new program called Kindle MatchBook that it's set to launch in October, bringing free and cheap eBooks to buyers of paper books. Basically, if you purchase a paper book from Amazon, you can buy the digital Kindle version for $.99, $1.99, $2.99, or download it for free, depending on the book. Most interesting? It's completely retroactive, going all the way back to 1995 when Amazon launched. Any participating purchase you've ever made on Amazon is eligible, as long as it is a part of the MatchBook selection, which will launch at about 10,000 titles next month. Amazon says that there will be some big-name authors taking part:
Kindle MatchBook will launch with books from Ray Bradbury, Michael Crichton, Blake Crouch, James Rollins, Jodi Picoult, Neil Gaiman, Marcus Sakey, Wally Lamb, Jo Nesbo, Neal Stephenson, and J.A. Jance, among others. In addition, Amazon Publishing will include all its titles in Kindle MatchBook.
Definitely a cool service, and one that makes Amazon an even more attractive purchasing destination when compared to Barnes & Noble and the Nook store, and Apple's iBookstore (which doesn't even sell paper books.)
Read More | Kindle MatchBook
As anticipated, Apple has sent out press invites to its next iPhone event, scheduled for September 10th. As Apple typically does, hints of what's to come are foreshadowed in the invite graphic. This time around, it appears that Apple is focusing on the multi-hued iPhone 5C, which we've seen will be available in multiple plastic colors as the entry-level iPhone option. We recently gave you a look at what you can expect both new iPhone models to look like. Of course, we'll have all the details for you live as it happens a week from today.
It's rumored that the iPhone 5S and 5C will go on sale on September 20th, ten days after Apple introduces them.
The Syrian Electronic Army strikes again at another VoIP provider, this time, Viber. We reported the cyber attacks on Tango, now it seems that the pro-Assad militant cyber group claims allegedly that it was able to download backups of Viber's database, which includes but it's not limited to phone numbers, device IDs and, supposedly, push notification tokens. Along with the purported intrusion, some Viber pages have been defaced. Viber has come forward and has stated that the intrusion is mostly harmless to customers of their VoIP services since they claim that the most vital user information is kept in a different database that can't be exploited by outsider threats. As always, Viber requests that 200,000 users be vigilant and report any suspicious activity with their accounts.
Today the Viber Support site was defaced after a Viber employee unfortunately fell victim to an email phishing attack. The phishing attack allowed access to two minor systems: a customer support panel and a support administration system. Information from one of these systems was posted on the defaced page.
It is very important to emphasize that no sensitive user data was exposed and that Viber’s databases were not “hacked”. Sensitive, private user information is kept in a secure system that cannot be accessed through this type of attack and is not part of our support system.
We take this incident very seriously and we are working right now to return the support site to full service for our users. Additionally, we want to assure all of our users that we are reviewing all of our policies to make sure that no such incident is repeated in the future. - Viber
Read More | Arstechnica
The Apple Developer Center portal has been in hiatus since last Thurday. Reasons for it being down took many by surprise as they were led to be believe it was related to a mundane web maintenance. However, Apple has come forward with information that the Dev site was compromised. Now, a security researcher named Ibrahim Balic has come forward claiming responsibility for the exploit several hours before the Dev site went into full lockdown.
Balic managed to see and copy Apple developer's full names and corresponding Apple ID and emails with an unavoidable injection tool attack. No other information was garnered from the exploit such as credit card information or App codes. Such information is under additional lock and key encryption housed in other servers.
Balic claims that he was also able to get a hold of the Apple ID of regular users. He stresses that this is for security research purposes only and he does not intend to give out any information to the general public as to how he managed the exploit. Full Apple statement below. Still, no apologies from Apple over the faux linen landing page. Here's a video of Balic discribing vulnerabilities within Apple's web services.
Read More | AllThingsD
It appears that Samsung is prepping for its first annual Samsung Developers Conference boasting a "cross-product, cross platform" event on October 27-29 in San Francisco. Perhaps, Samsung is shifting gears by lessening its dependence on Google's Android mobile operating system and blurring the lines of its long line portfolio of successful products with developers. The South Korean conglomerate has been working on different mobile OS like Linux based Bada and Intel processor based Tizen, which is a spin-off the abandoned Meego OS project by Nokia. Samsung promises more information to follow leading up to the event. Samsung and Google have had major successes as partners but, in the recent acquisition of Motorola, something that Google previously stated it wouldn't do and Samsung focusing on diminishing Google presence from its products have shown the relation is more stressed than first perceived.
Read More | Samsung Dev Con
Motorola fans, mark your calendars for August 1st, as that's the date set for the Moto X event in New York city. Some details of the device have leaked, such as the "always listening" mode for Google Now, snapping the phone to activate the camera, and giving customers customization options of the design of the smartphone like colors on the sides and rear. There is some speculation that the device will be budget-friendly, costing around $199 off-contract and available on all major US carriers. Perhaps the idea is to take on the highly-rumored technicolored low cost iPhone. Motorola is looking for a winner this time around, as previously the subsidiary of Google has posted a quarterly loss $342 million on the top of massive $12.5 billion acquisition. Curiosity here at Gear Live if the Moto X will run Google's latest and greatest Android software as they are hosting thier OS Android and Chrome event on the 24th of July.
Apple has snatched up Locationary, a Toronto-based startup which crowdsources location data, to help better bolster Apple Maps with up to date local business information. Details of the acquisition have not been disclosed as of yet, but it is smart acquisition and should pay off in the long run. What separates Locationary from the likes of Google, Yelp, and FourSquare is that it gives crowdsourced users monetary incentives to help provide up-to-date and accurate information. Locationary then sells the data to other location providers. Think of Locationary as a mapping Wikipedia for local businesses. From the start, Apple was criticized for its mapping efforts, leading to the dismissal of iOS head Scott Forstall, but, over time, has dispelled much of the contention by remedying its initial short comings. Today shows that Apple is not letting up on their goal of providing the best mapping solution. Here's a short video of founder and CEO of Locationary, Grant Richie.
Read More | AllThingsD
Several big named tech giants like Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft are publicly requesting that the National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) allow them to transparently publish more information regarding the controversial data mining operations and surveillance programs held by US government agencies.
Dubbed SpyGate, the legitimate controversy has made headlines over legislation of section 215 of the Patriot Act and section 702 of the FISA amendment ACT. Not to mention the whistleblower saga that has ensued after former NSA employee and current on the run globetrotter, Eric Snowden, leaked details about the covert operation infamously known as Prism. Many of the allegations summarized in the massive leak state that the US government has backdoor access to the servers of many leading private industry companies and direct access to major US telecommunication carriers. With such access, the government collects and monitors millions of American's information not limited to just metadata. Many private companies have signed a petition of transparency that includes Apple, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Skype and many others. Below is the petition letter in its entirety.
Read More | The Next Web
Google is hosting an Android and Chrome event next Wednesday, July 24 hosted by OS honcho Sundar Pichar. Very little is being revealed right now, but the timing is rather interesting in light of the Google I/O event in May and Apple's WWDC event in June. But sure enough, Android will get some much needed attention this time around as it's upgraded to 4.3 (or straight to version 5.0.) Hopefully, it will get some legit support for Bluetooth 4.0 along with the expected new features and UI tweaks. The event kicks off at 12PM EST (that's 9:00 AM for you folks in the west coast.) It will also be live-streamed on YouTube. Stay tuned here at Gear Live as we analyze, synthesize, and slice up the Key Lime Pie.
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