We've been taking part in the Absolute LoJack #DigitallyDark challenge, giving up our smartphones for a full 24 hours to emulate what it might feel like to have them stolen. As part of the campaign, we're giving away an awesome Absolute LoJack Premium Family Pack. That gives the winner give 1-year Absolute LoJack premium subscriptions, which can be installed on any Mac, PC, or Android devices they own, giving them the ultimate in protection with a guarantee that they'll get the device(s) back in the event of theft. If it isn't back in your hands in 60 days, they'll give you $1000 to help replace the laptop, and $600 for a tablet or smartphone. How cool is that?
Ready to enter? Simply use the widget below to keep track of your entries! If you're a Gear Live Patreon backer at any level, you get an extra 25 entries in this giveaway! We've got a lot of ways for you to enter even if you aren't, but don't check off any that you don't actually perform. If you do, you'll be eliminated:
Oh, and if you wanna get in on all this awesomeness, use this link to get 30% off any Absolute LoJack subscription until June 30th--just enter promo code DARK30 at checkout!
Amazon just announced its new Fire Phone, and one of the big value-adds is that owners will get unlimited photo storage on Amazon Cloud Drive. This comes just two weeks after Apple announced the new iCloud Photo Library option during its WWDC 2014 keynote, which allows you to store all of the photos and videos that you have, with the difference being that Apple only gives you the first 5GB of storage for free, and then you have to pay for additional tiers, which starts at $0.99 per month for 20GB. Amazon is providing unlimited photo storage (although they didn't specifically say that videos were included) right off the bat, a key differentiator. This means you can snap away without fear of using up all your local storage space, and it's one less backup you need to worry about as well.
The Amazon Fire Phone will sell for $199.99 on-contract, and is exclusive to AT&T. You can pre-order today, and it'll be released on July 25th. For a limited time, buyers will also receive a free year of Amazon Prime with purchase!
Amazon has announced its first smartphone, and it's called the Fire Phone. Jeff Bezos is still on stage giving us a rundown of the long-awaited device, but here's what we know about it so far:
- The Fire Phone sports a 4.7-inch display
- It's powered by a quad-core 2.2GHz processor, 2GB RAM, and an Adreno 330 graphics chip
- It sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization and an f/2.0 five element lens
- The Fire Phone uses a multi-camera array that powers its 3D user interface
- Dual stereo speakers which are aligned for landscape mode for watching media
- It ships with flat-cabled, tangle-free magnetic earbuds
- Owners of the Fire Phone get unlimited cloud storage of all the photos they take with the device in Amazon Cloud Drive (huge!)
- The Amazon Firefly feature allows you to use the phone to recognize over 100 million items, plus any text around you. You can then interact with it immediately, in a matter of seconds.
- Obviously, all Amazon services will be built in--Prime Video, Prime Music, Kindle, WhisperSync, and even the MayDay button for customer service
- The 32GB Fire Phone will cost $199 with two-year contract, and is exclusive to AT&T. You can get the 64GB version for $299.
- You can pre-order the Fire Phone now--it ships on July 25th and includes one-year of Amazon Prime
Chris Weber is the CVP of Mobile Devices Sales at Microsoft, re-joining the company through it's purchase of Nokia, where he was in charge of global sales. He knows his way around every Lumia device, and is now aiming to make sure that Windows Phone first-party hardware is an even player at the devices table. We were able to sit down with Chris to talk about Nokia, Lumia, Windows Phone, and what changes need to be made in order to realize the success he is seeking. Check out the full interview below:
When is Windows Phone 8.1 coming out?
The answer varies by device and operator. The Lumia 630 and 635 are the first 8.1 products, launched internationally. We’re also working with our current products, and any Windows 8 phone is upgradeable to 8.1. There is currently a developer preview, but the operator version requires further testing. 8.1 is a completely different experience. Things like the background wallpaper, increased customization, and especially Cortana, which is one of the best features.
There are key differences between Cortana and similar services on other devices. It proactively learns. The other day I was flying to Moscow. The week before, it asked if it wanted me to track my flight to Moscow. There is a link that says "Do you want to know how I knew that?" Cortana looked at my calendar and started looking up flight numbers. It also has geo-fencing. You can say "Remind me that Ignacio owes me $100." I can say remind me when I send an email, when I arrive home, etc. Or "Remind me to pick up my dry cleaning" and when you get in the area, the message pops up. "Remind me to pick up milk at the grocery store” and you get the choice of having it remind you when you are near any grocery store, not just one specific one.
Back to being on the plane, I said "Remind me to download the music for guitar when I get home." It's really, really good. Flow writing, which is similar to Swype, means I can do emails faster on my phone than on the keyboard now. I got a new phone and it wasn't running 8.1 and the hunt and peck was tough!
Yes, it’s true—Microsoft is about to get into the smartwatch game, and I got the opportunity to play with it. As we'd previously reported, Microsoft has filed a patent that details a smartwatch. However, often these patent filings aren’t exactly what we see companies end up releasing. So, let’s separate the cruft and get to the meat of the matter. A number of months ago I took a trip to New York where I came across someone who was testing the upcoming Microsoft wearable device. I saw it on their wrist and asked about it. They tried to explain that it was a random fitness wristband ordered from China at first, but eventually (with some prodding) gave me the scoop. Here is your exclusive first look at what Microsoft is planning for its first wearable smart device, what we are referring to as the Surface Watch:
- As far as looks, the image above is a parody, but not far off. It has an elongated form factor, but isn't as comically large as what's in the image. It is much more akin to something like the Fitbit One or Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit in shape rather than taking on the shape of a traditional watch, like Pebble did, or like what Google showed off with Android Wear. What we saw had a flat display, while the inner portion that would rest against your skin was curved.
- The icons are the flat style that Microsoft has been using on its other devices like Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Xbox One. That's what tipped me off in the first place.
- Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy is how it interacts with the rest of the world
- The flat glass display, and was definitely not high resolution. We hope that both of these change in the final product--a high-resolution curved display already exists on the Samsung Gear Fit, and the Microsoft device just didn't look as good.
- The watch is packed with sensors. It has a heart rate monitor, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS, and most interestingly, a galvanic skin response sensor all built-in. The galvanic skin response sensor is built into the watch band, while everything else is built into the unit itself.
If you missed the WWDC 2014 keynote, we've pretty much had you covered here at Gear Live as far as the news coming out of the event. However, sometimes, seeing is believing, and many would rather watch the historic event for themselves. Now you can. Apple has made the video available to view on demand on YouTube and on the Apple Web site. If you'd prefer to download it, you can grab it in iTunes using your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. We've embedded the YouTube version right here for you!
With plenty of people now running both iOS 8 beta and OS X Yosemite Developer Preview in order to kick the tires on Apple's upcoming operating systems, we're hearing that a lot of people are confused as to how to get the cool Handoff feature working. Handoff, announced during the WWDC 2014 keynote, is what allows the two operating systems talk to each other and pass app information back and forth seamlessly. Here's how you do it:
Yesterday was another big Apple event, and there was a lot of news coming out of the WWDC 2014 keynote--we got a look at OS X Yosemite, iOS 8, and much more. Here's a look at everything we covered in one easy place:
- First official look at OS X Yosemite at WWDC
- Purported leaked images of OS X 10.10 leak new UI and design changes
- OS X Yosemite: Translucent window UI, dark mode, new icons, and more
- iCloud Drive: Apple finally lets you browse and store iCloud documents on Mac, iOS, and Windows
- OS X Yosemite will be released this fall for free, public preview coming this summer
- Apple shows off iOS 8 Health app & HealthKit platform
- iOS 8 to debut third-party keyboards, here comes Swype
- iOS 8 introduces new time-lapse camera mode
- OS X Mavericks was downloaded 40 million times in 8 months
What are you most looking forward to?
Apple has just announced OS X . As featured in a leak earlier today, the new operating system takes a bunch of design cues from iOS to bring visual parity between the two Apple operating systems. Apple's Craig Federighi showed off all of the new features, followed by a demo.
Tentpole features in the redesign include new, flat icons that are reminiscent of the iOS 7 redesign. An optional dark mode changes the menu bar from white to black, which allows you to get rid of the striking white for those who don't want it. Apple has also brought in a bunch of transparency and translucency, with the frosted glass look throughout the UI.
After weeks of rumors, it's now official: Apple has announced it is purchasing Beats Electronics for the cost of $3 billion. This makes it the largest purchase in Apple's entire history, and obviously the biggest public decision made by Tim Cook since he stepped in as CEO.
"Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “That’s why we have kept investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary teams so we can continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world.”
“I’ve always known in my heart that Beats belonged with Apple,” said Jimmy Iovine. “The idea when we started the company was inspired by Apple’s unmatched ability to marry culture and technology. Apple’s deep commitment to music fans, artists, songwriters and the music industry is something special."
Beats Electronics is the make of the Beats by Dr. Dre line of headphones and music accessories, and also the Beats Music subscription service that competes with other offerings from companies like Rdio, Spotify, Rhapsody, and the like.