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.
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.
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 Air (Model A1474)
- iPad Air (Model A1475)
- iPad Air (Model A1476)
- iPad mini (Model A1489)
- iPad mini (Model A1490)
- iPad mini (Model A1491)
- iPad (4th generation Model A1458)
- iPad (4th generation Model A1459)
- iPad (4th generation Model A1460)
- iPad mini (Model A1432)
- iPad mini (Model A1454)
- iPad mini (Model A1455)
- iPad Wi-Fi (3rd generation)
- iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (model for ATT)
- iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (model for Verizon)
- iPad 2 Wi-Fi (Rev A)
- iPad 2 Wi-Fi
- iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G (GSM)
- iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G (CDMA)
- iPhone 5s (Model A1453, A1533)
- iPhone 5s (Model A1457, A1518, A1528, A1530)
- iPhone 5c (Model A1456, A1532)
- iPhone 5c (Model A1507, A1516, A1526, A1529)
- iPhone 5 (Model A1428)
- iPhone 5 (Model A1429)
- iPhone 4s
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?
Today in the Gear Live Deals Shop we're offering a 40% discount on the Super Fisheye Clip-On Lens. This accessory is made from high quality glass for a wider picture with ultra-low distortion so you get all the view without the sacrifice of quality, and it's our Deal of the Day.
The clip-on function allows you to add and remove the lens quickly and easily so you can capture the moment at the perfect time. With a lens cap and bag included, you can keep your lens safe and ready to take more dynamic and amazing photographs. The Super Fisheye Clip-On Lens works with iPhones, iPads, iPod touch, Samsung smartphones, and HTC smartphones.
We are going #DigitallyDark, giving up our smartphones for a full 24 hours as part of the challenge thrown down by Absolute LoJack.
We talk about our thoughts on having a smartphone or laptop stolen, and talk about the #DigitallyDark challenge, which you can join us in doing!
The fact of the matter is that smartphone and laptop theft are running rampant, and once your device is gone, it's near impossible to get it back. Even the built-in tools can be circumvented. Absolute LoJack takes device recovery to the next level. They'll locate, lock, delete, and even guarantee recovery of your Mac, PC, or Android device. You can get 30% off of Absolute LoJack until 6/30 with promo code: DARK30.
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!
As we reported a few days ago, T-Mobile has introduced Test Drive, which allows both current T-Mobile customers and those in other carriers (or who have no cell provider at all) to borrow an iPhone 5s from the company for 7 days. That includes unlimited talk, text, and data with the only current T-Mobile device that supports all the wireless band's used by the company. It's an effort to show, not just tell, the US population that it's greatly improved its wireless network and tuned it for massive data use.
After the T-Mobile Uncarrier 5.0 event we were able to get our hands on one of the iPhone 5s Test Drive units, and we've included some images here. Inside the box is what we assume is a refurbished black iPhone 5s, along with a sealed Lightning cable, Earpods, and AC adapter. It's definitely not the Apple unboxing experience, but that isn't the point. As far as storage capacity, our iPhone 5s is a 32GB model, so there is room to try downloading apps, videos, and images.
At yesterday's T-Mobile Uncarrier 5.0 event, the company surprised everyone by also announced Uncarrier 6.0: absolutely free unlimited streaming music. Dubbed "Music Freedom," T-Mobile CEO John Legere revealed that any T-Mobile customer can stream music from Pandora, iHeartRadio, iTunes Radio, Spotify, Slacker, Rhapsody, Milk, and Beatport without having to worry about data caps. To make it clear, Legere stated "Every single note of music will come free, not against your bucket. Even when you exhaust your data bucket, you can still stream unlimited music at high speed." The services mentioned account for 85% of music streamed on T-Mobile, but the company isn't stopping there. For example, services like Rdio and Google Play All Access Music will be part of an online voting area that T-Mobile is providing to allow customers to choose which other music services they'd like to see added. The goal is to add a few new services each month.
If you already have an unlimited T-Mobile account, you aren't left in the cold. The company also announced a partnership with Rhapsody unRadio, an app that is available to anyone on any carrier, and T-Mobile unlimited customers get free access, while limited T-Mobile customers get a 20% off discount and pay $4 per month. If you aren't on T-Mobile, you pay $5 for unRadio.
Uncarrier 5.0 was the T-Mobile Test Drive, which sees the company giving anyone in the US an iPhone 5s for free for a week to try out the T-Mobile network.
You know how Amazon's Fire Phone includes the perk of unlimited photo storage in your Amazon Cloud Drive account? Well, it turns out there are a couple of caveats. Here's how it works:
- The free storage is applied to the account that the Fire Phone is registered under
- The phone will upload your pictures and videos, but only the pictures get unlimited free space. Videos uploaded will use your Amazon Cloud Drive storage allotment.
- Photos uploaded are in their original, full-resolution format
- The unlimited free storage only applies to photos taken and uploaded with the Fire Phone. If you sync over photos to the phone that weren't taken with it, those will count against your allotment. Similarly, if you upload photos taken with the Fire Phone from another device, they'll also count against your storage space.
- If you give away or sell your Fire Phone, all of your photos will remain in your Amazon Cloud Drive. If you then get a new Fire Phone in the future, the unlimited photo storage benefit will return to your account.
Some have been comparing Amazon's offering to what Apple will be including in iOS 8, and later, OS X Yosemite, where it will also allow you to store all of your photos and videos in iCloud. The difference is that Apple will allow you to automatically upload your entire photo library, regardless of where the images were taken, but there will be a fee if you go over 5GB. There's no unlimited option for images, and certainly not for video.
You can pre-order the Amazon Fire Phone now.