As soon as the first Google Glass Explorer was ticketed for driving under the influence of augmented reality, we were primed for the inevitable fallout. According to the Daily Herald, Illinois is already taking steps to outlaw Google Glass in motor vehicles. Illinois State Senator Ira Silverstein filed a bill last week to ban drivers from wearing Google’s wearable device, following New Jersey, Delaware and West Virginia, where legislators have also introduced bills to the same effect. More →
The idea of owning a modular phone with affordable, replaceable parts was nothing more than a pipe dream just months ago, but Motorola’s Project Ara might make that dream come true in the not-too-distant future. In an interview with YouTube personality Marques Brownlee (MKBHD), Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside said he doesn’t know if Motorola will be able to have a product on the market in the next 12 months, but the prototype is already “pretty close” to what Dave Hakkens imagined in his Phonebloks concept video. More →
If you were wondering how the people at Motorola got away with releasing a smartphone for $199 without a contract while still retaining decent profit margins… well, they didn’t. The Wall Street Journal shares data from Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Mark Newman who estimates that the Moto G is generating “an operating profit margin of less than 5%,” as opposed to the 20% margins generated by Samsung’s Galaxy S3 Mini and 28% margins generated by the Galaxy S4. The profit margins on the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s are higher than 30%. More →
While some tech companies are publicly denouncing the privacy-encroaching practices of the NSA, others are happy to continue playing ball with the government agency. The Associated Press reports that AT&T sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday proclaiming that the service provider “isn’t required to disclose to shareholders what it does with customers’ data.” The letter also said that customer data is well protected and that AT&T only complies with government requests to the extent that is necessary under the law. More →
Apple looks poised to top its previous sales records this holiday season after major growth in November. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White reports that his firm’s Apple Barometer is projecting this November to be the strongest in Apple’s history, due in part to a huge Black Friday weekend. More →
The holiday season is one of the most important times of the year for electronics companies, but a few might have overstepped their boundaries this time around. Bloomberg reports that Samsung, Philips and retailer Media-Saturn “were among companies raided by European Union antitrust officials as part of a probe into suspected online-sales restrictions.” The EU commission believes that these companies might have put restrictions on online sales of their products, which could cause prices to artificially increase and online availability of some products to cease entirely. Each of the three companies named in the Bloomberg article stated that they were cooperating fully with the EU commission, although none would go into any further detail.
Just how deep does the NSA rabbit hole go? The Washington Post reports that the NSA is “gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world.” This enables the agency to track an individual user throughout the day, virtually mapping out every location that the cellphone owner has visited. According to the NSA, the location tracking is an incidental side effect of data collection, although U.S. officials have deemed the practice lawful as the data could assist in the development of the country’s intelligence regarding foreign threats. More →
AT&T made waves on Thursday morning with the announcement of its new Mobile Share Value plans, offering a large segment of its customers cheaper data plans just in time for the holidays. Perhaps unsurprisingly, T-Mobile was chomping at the bit to issue a response. CNET received an email from T-Mobile marketing executive Andrew Sherrard in which Sherrard said that AT&T’s new Mobile Share plans are confusing, expensive and miss the mark. More →
Apple’s brand dominance has pushed the company to the top of several lists throughout 2013, and it might also be a deciding factor for shoppers in the market for consumer electronics this holiday season. According to research from Parks Associates, Apple is the top brand in a wide range of categories, including tablets, laptops, smartphones, home networking routers, MP3 players, and streaming media devices. For the first time ever, Apple has even overtaken Dell as the preferred brand of desktop computers. More →
Details are still hazy at best, but Samsung might be preparing to ship a new Windows Phone. A listing for an unannounced Samsung smartphone with model number SM-W750V has appeared on Indian tech company Zauba’s website. According to the listing, the phone will feature a 5-inch display, and as SamMobile has deduced based on its 33,245 rupee ($540 USD) price, it will likely contain high-end specs comparable to Samsung’s other flagship phones. Samsung hasn’t been shy about the fact that it is exploring its options in terms of smartphone operating systems, particularly with the upcoming launch of Tizen. Releasing a Windows Phone would allow Samsung to spread its reach even further, and with Microsoft looming over the Windows Phone business, this could be good timing on Samsung’s part.
In our review of the Nexus 5, we found that one of the best Android phones on the market marred by an oddly inconsistent camera. The software was buggy, low-light quality was miserable, and the flash was nothing to call home about. The Verge reports that the first update to Android’s KitKat OS, 4.4.1, aims to fix many of the issues that have plagued the Nexus 5 camera. With the new update, Google has improved autofocus, exposure, white balance, speed, and contrast. It looks to be a major leap over the subpar results currently being delivered by the Nexus 5, although The Verge admits that there are still some very basic features missing, such as a single button or screen press for focusing and shooting. Either way, it’s a step in the right direction to make the best Android phone of the season even better. The update is expected to start rolling out over the next few days.
Last month, IHS projected that hundreds of millions of smartphones would feature fingerprint sensors similar to the iPhone 5s Touch ID by 2017. According to a Reuters report, Sweden’s Fingerprint Cards, a company specializing in fingerprint recognition technology, is expecting “seven or eight of the world’s biggest smartphone makers” to make the leap as early as next year in order to keep pace with Apple. Speaking to Reuters, Fingerprint Cards CEO Johan Carlstrom said that Samsung will be launching a smartphone with some form of fingerprint identification next year, and Fingerprint Cards is hoping to become a supplier. Keep in mind, it wasn’t long ago that a Samsung executive said that the company was not looking to release a touch ID smartphone quite yet.
One of the most exciting prospects of the Xbox One is the ID@Xbox program, which allows both independent and AAA developers alike to self-publish on Microsoft’s console. Chris Charla, director of the program, has taken to the Xbox Wire to share some familiar names that have already received dev kits and have begun working on the first round of self-published Xbox One games. Crytek, the team behind launch title Ryse: Son of Rome and the Crysis series, is easily the largest developer on the list, but several indie darlings have made their way into the first batch as well — Vlambeer, Double Fine, Iron Galaxy, Capy and Gaijin Games are just a few of the developers currently working on titles for ID@Xbox. According to Charla, “this is just a sampling of the many developers who are part of the program.” ID@Xbox is currently slated to kick off early next year.