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Unlocking Smartphones for Other Carriers Now Illegal in US

Starting today, unlocking a smartphone to use it with another carrier is illegal in the United States unless you have already purchased that locked phone. The new rules, which restrict the rights of the device owner to use the technology as they see fit, comes after the Librarian of Congress reinterpreted the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act last October. Unlocking phones for other carriers used to be allowed in 2010, as the LOC reviews the rules every three years. Meanwhile, jail-breaking devices--or allowing the installation of third-party apps--will remain legal, except on tablets. Also, installing Cydia on an iPad (but not an iPhone) will constitute a breach of the DMCA. Android users rarely have to circumvent blocks to install apps, but they also have to avoid unlocking smartphones. The LOC is also asking US courts to decide on where to draw the line between a big phone and a small tablet. You see, American laws do not acknowledge phablets. The subsidy lock would give carriers enough time to recover the costs they pay when the contract is signed. A locked phone is usually free or sold cheaply and the monthly bills make up for it. Those who are not in favor of the new rules can opt to purchase unlocked handsets instead, but that means you will have to pay full price for the device. Source: The Register Read More

A Look At Five Other Health Gadgets From CES 2013

There were a wealth of health gadgets and devices recently introduced at CES 2013 held at Las Vegas recently. It just goes to show that consumers have this increasing need to look after their own health through self-monitoring made possible by current and innovative technologies of today. Here is a look at another five devices that would surely appeal to the health conscious crowd. Wahoo Fitness Blue HR For people with the need to monitor their heart rate at a regular basis, there are gadgets at CES 2013 that makes it more convenient to do so without having to setup the equipment to do so. Gadgets like the new Wahoo Fitness Blue HR allow users to monitor their heart rate at a personal level with a wearable monitoring strap even while they are in some kind of activity. Wahoo Fitness has several monitoring devices up in the market and the Wahoo Fitness Blue HR is one of their newest offerings. In the case of the Wahoo Fitness Blue HR, it keeps track of heart rate data that is conveniently sent to a connected mobile device via Bluetooth for viewing and storage. Users can then keep track of their heart rate in real time, when used in conjunction with the Wahoo Fitness mobile app. AliveCor Heart Monitor While the health gadgets at CES 2013 mainly cater to the consumer crowd, there are also gadgets like the AliveCor Heart Monitor case for the iPhone 4 and 4S that provides professional level heart monitoring that doctors can use. This unique iPhone 4 and 4S casing is intended for use by doctors since it reads, records, and displays single-channel electrocardiogram (ECG) rhythm. For doctors, it becomes a valuable tool since it can help provide the means for doctors to accurately diagnose a heart attack whenever an emergency occurs or when they are doing their rounds out of the clinic. The AliveCor Heart Monitor is an FDA-approved health device and is only available for medical professionals for US$199. Withings Smart Body Analyzer In terms of weight monitoring, bathroom scales still becomes the primary device used by most people. With newer models like the Withings Smart Body Analyzer, the ordinary bathroom scale suddenly becomes more than just a weight-monitoring tool. Standing on the Withings Smart Body Analyzer not only provides the user about his or her weight information, it is also able to get other important health data such as heart rate, body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage as well as the added monitoring of quality indoor air. Not only that, this unique health device is also able to send the health data gathered wirelessly to a mobile device via Bluetooth as well as Internet connectivity. The Withings Smart Body Analyzer will be available sometime in the first quarter of this year. Ibitz Activity Monitor In the market of health gadgets, even the kids get their share of devices designed only for them. There are activity monitors such as the ibitz Activity Monitor by Geopalz. This device helps encourage kids to become more active by having playful digital characters interact with kids for some activities. It is a unique way to motivate kids to exercise by adding a fun element into it. iRiver ON Fitness Monitoring Earbuds For those who like to listen to music while doing some activity, this pair of iRiver ON Fitness Monitoring Earbuds adds other useful functions as you use it. While putting on the iRiver ON earbuds during your exercise, it also keeps track of your heart rate and physical activity using Valencell's PerformTek Precision Biometrics. It records the calories you have burned, your metabolic rate, energy usage as well as other activity data. It can synchronize with your mobile device via Bluetooth as it keeps track of your activity session while listening to your favorite tunes. Image Source:  Wahoo Fitness Read More

GameStick: Another Android Game Console in the Works

Look out, Ouya, another Android-based game console is about to snatch wigs! PlayJam, which specializes in providing games to smart TVs, is developing the GameStick, a TV-based console that is the size of a typical flash drive. It is so compact, GameStick actually fits inside its own Bluetooth controller as shown in the photo. This console features a dual-core Amlogic processor and Android Jelly Bean. And even in that tiny size, PlayJam is able to fit in a HDMI port, as well as XBMC and DLNA support. GameStick is being crowdfunded over at Kickstarter and its $100,000 goal has been fully funded twice over with 24 days to spare as of this posting. PlayJam plans to produce and ship GameStick units, which go by a suggested retail price of $79, as early as April 2013. Source: Kickstarter, via Engadget Read More

Sue And Sue Some More: VirnetX Files Another Complaint Against Apple

Internet software company and notorious patent troll VirnetX officially announced last Friday that it is filing another infringement complaint against Apple over VirnetX's four virtual private network patents, the same properties the company used to receive a whopping $368 million legal damage from Apple last week. Filed in the Eastern Texas District Court, VirnetX insists that Apple's FaceTime software infringes on its VPN patents. This time, however, VirnetX is going for the jugular as it seeks a widespread ban on Apple's newest devices that have FaceTime capability namely the iPhone 5, iPod Touch 5th Generation, iPad 4th Generation, iPad Mini, and the latest Macintosh computers. All the said products were not included in VirnetX's original complaint. You can tell a company is a patent troll if its press releases contain nothing but news about its infringement lawsuits against a wide array of companies. But then again, Apple seems to be doing the same with Android. Apart from Apple, VirnetX has also collected $200 million from Microsoft for violating two similar VPN patents. The holdings firm is in the midst of ongoing litigation against NEC Corporation, Cisco Systems, and Astra Technologies. Source: The Next Web, via Apple Insider Read More

Brothers In Arms 2 Android Game App

First person shooters are usually quite ideal for playing on game consoles or computers. That is because they provide more than just the usual controls that portable devices can offer. But it does not mean that game makers won't develop FPS games for smaller devices. In fact, there are already neat FPS game apps available for smartphones and tablets. One of the more exciting ones to come out is the Brothers In Arms 2 Android game app. The Brothers In Arms 2 Android game app is a neat first person shooter game that offers not just stunning graphics but also some engaging game play as well. Players can have a choice of playing the Story Mode or even with other friends in Multiplayer Mode. This game app can accommodate up to 6 players in Multiplayer Mode. Players can play to earn dog tags or XP to unlock extra features of the game and customize your character. The game app comes with easy to understand and highly responsive touch controls that make the game fun to play with. There are 50 missions to go through across 5 locations, making the game more than just a one-time gaming experience for most players. The Brothers In Arms 2 Android game app is now available at Google Play for free download. Image Source: Google Play Read More

South Korean Court Declares Both Apple, Samsung Infringed Upon Each Others Patents

The Seoul Central District Court has announced a split decision on the global legal battle between Samsung and Apple over patents concerning mobile computing. A three-judge panel declared that Apple infringed on two of Samsung's technology patents, while Samsung violated one of Apple's. The court awarded small damages to both companies and ordered them to stop selling their infringing products in South Korea. Luckily, none of the banned products are the latest models of Apple or Samsung devices. The judges commanded Apple to pay 20 million won ($17,560) to Samsung, while Samsung was ordered to pay 25 million won, or $22,000. The amount is a far cry for the hundreds of millions of dollars they asked the court. The decision comes after a United Kingdom court announced that Samsung's Galaxy tablets are "not as cool" compared to its Apple counterpart. The case is currently being tried in Australia and Germany, while the federal jury in San Jose, California, is deliberating on a similar case. Source: Wall Street Journal Read More

Brother Pocket Jet Mobile Printer

While printers have become common as a computer peripheral, they also need to evolve in order to keep them abreast with the times. With more and more people spending more time using their smartphones and tablets rather than the desktop computer, it follows that people may have less and less use for the standard printers. It may be time for manufacturers to make them compatible with those mobile devices to keep their market interest up. Brother may have done just that by coming up with the Brother Pocket Jet Mobile Printer. The Brother Pocket Jet Mobile Printer is a compact printer that can be used to print A4 sized copies. It is a 300dpi printer that measures 255mm x55mm x 40mm and weighs just 480 grams. What makes it useful is that it supports IrDA, USB and Bluetooth and even WiFi technology to print copies. In short it is a wireless printer that can be used to print files from portable devices like smartphones and tablets without the need of a wired connection. The Brother Pocket Jet Mobile Printer is expected to be available in the Japanese market sometime in October. There are no details yet provided on how much it will cost. Image Source: Brother Read More

iPad 2 Vs Other Tablets- A Comparison

Apple has just launched the second version of the iPad. It seems that Apple, a company known to be more deliberate when it comes to launching products, has suddenly taken the opposite approach as it hastily introduced the Apple iPad 2 to consumers. It may have done so to stay ahead in the market that Apple pioneered as well as to maintain its upper hand from its competitors by coming up with a second tablet version while the other competing tablets are just about to debut. In such cases, it may not be quite rare for people to start comparing the new iPad 2 with its other competitors that are about to enter into the tablet market- the Motorola Xoom, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the HP TouchPad and the Blackberry PlayBook. Based on what data Apple has recently divulged concerning its new iPad 2 as well as those from its competitors, here is a breakdown of how these tablets may be sized up according to certain important aspects. Processor The Apple iPad 2 features an Apple A5 Dual Core 1GHz processor, putting it almost at the same level with most of its competitors, with only the TouchPad sporting a better processor at 1.2GHz. But the processor alone may not always be the best benchmark to use in comparing tablets in terms of processing speed and power management. RAM Apple unfortunately hasn’t provided the details on how much RAM the iPad 2 comes with. Although some people may be expecting it to be 512MB, there are others who believe that it may still come with 256MB, the same as the original. But nonetheless, the iPad 2 may still be left behind in this comparison as the Motorola Xoom, Blackberry PlayBook and the HP TouchPad is expected to have 1GB RAM inside. Camera The iPad 2 now features the standard two camera design, just like the other competing tablets. But in terms of resolution specs, it may still lag behind the other tablets. The iPad 2 was indicated to feature a VGA front camera and with the rear one still unspecified. Only the HP TouchPad may come at almost the same level with the iPad 2. Although it sports only a single front facing camera, it comes with a 1.3MP camera sensor, better than the iPad 2's supposed VGA version. Form Factor The new iPad 2 may have an advantage in this case since it will be considered as the thinnest tablet yet in its category, doing away with a third of the thickness of the original iPad. It is also second in terms of weight at only 1.35 pounds, with only Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet being lighter. Pricing The iPad 2 may be considered as setting up the benchmark for pricing as it is expected to cost at a base price of US$499. That is cheaper than what the Motorola Xoom tablet may cost, which is expected to cost as much as US$800. The other tablets have not yet provided the pricing details, but their companies will surely try to adjust their tablet prices according to what Apple recently announced for its iPad 2 tablet. Although there are other features that these tablets may be compared to in order to provide a better comparison with each other, those stated above may already provide somehow a certain idea on where the iPad 2 stands. People can expect to see the new Apple iPad 2 this March 11. Read More

Oh, It's Another Vertu Ferrari Phone!

Once again, Vertu and Ferrari have teamed up to come up with a phone that may pale in comparison to the iPhone when software is concerned, but would make even the iPhone 4 look like an entry-level device when it comes to pricing. The Vertu Ascent Ti Ferrari cell phone features a 2-inch QVGA sapphire crystal display and quadband 3G, with a casing made out of forged titanium, matte black PVD finish, and hand-stitched leather. If you want to have your very own elitist... I mean, luxury mobile phone, you better buy the Vertu Ascent Ti Ferrari quick because only 2,011 units will be made. Source: Engadget Read More

Meet HTC's Other WP7 Phones, the 7 Mozart and 7 Trophy

HTC has three new phones powered by the newest Windows Phone 7 OS. We have already introduced the first one, the HD7, so here is a comprehensive introduction on the other two: HTC 7 Mozart and HTC 7 Trophy. Both of these phones feature a WVGA LCD screen, 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8250 chipset, 576MB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and 720p video recording capacity. What makes 7 Mozart different from the other model is that it is constructed on an aluminum unibody. It also has a 3.7-inch display and an 8-megapixel camera with xenon flash. Meanwhile, the 7 Trophy only has a 5-megapixel imager with LED flash, which is not bad in itself. The HTC 7 Mozart will be exclusively available to Orange in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Switzerland; exclusive to Deutsche Telekom in Germany; and on a number of telecoms anywhere else. The HTC 7 Trophy will be an exclusive handset for Vodafone around the world. No word, however, on when and how both handsets will be distributed in the United States. Source: Engadget Read More

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