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Microsoft Debuts a Windows Rival to Raspberry Pi

Raspberry-Pi-case

Two years after $35 microcomputer Raspberry Pi hit the market, Microsoft is getting in on the DIY-PC action with its own version.

The Redmond, Washington tech juggernaut announced on its Windows blog in April that it was working on a dev board specifically for SoC (system on a chip) hardware.

“Creating Windows drivers for SoC platforms poses certain challenges,” the blog read. “Unlike PCs, which have PCI slots and/or USB ports, SoC systems such as tablets and clamshells use low-power internal buses that lack standard connectors, plug-and-play support or discovery mechanisms. In addition, they are typically protected by secure boot, and cannot be used for developing and testing third-party drivers.”

Sharks Cove, as the dev board is called, is the brainchild of Windows and Intel. It runs Windows and has an Intel Atom processor, usually reserved for mobile devices. Armed with 1GB of RAM, it has the same memory capacity as an iPhone 5S. In comparison, a typical 32-bit PC has 4GB.

Courtesy – Mashable

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While sharing documents and files between Gmail and Google Drive has been a nearly seamless experience on the web for some time, integration between the two apps on the mobile side has been lacking— until now.

Google rolled out an update to Gmail’s iOS app Thursday that makes it easier for users to view and share documents and files between Drive and Gmail.

Gmail users on iOS can now view and save files on Google Drive directly from the Gmail app with “Save to Drive” and “Insert from Drive” options. Users can also now edit a file’s sharing settings from within the Gmail app.

“The apps will even tell you if your file isn’t shared with the person you’re sending it to so you can change the sharing settings before you send it,” Google software engineer, Simon Forsyth, explained in a blog post.

Courtesy – Mashable

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Despite the wave of new shiny smartwatches that came with Google I/O, some developers are still focusing on non-Android Wear smartwatch apps before taking the leap into creating apps for Google’s homegrown wearable platform.

This is the approach mobile payments company Wallaby is taking. The company rolled out a new smartwatch app for Samsung’s Gear 2, its third app for wearables.

Wallaby focuses on helping users choose the best credit card for each transaction in order to save money and earn the most rewards. The app allows users to view their credit card balances, balance limit, credit utilization and get suggestions on which of their cards is best to use for each store.

The company already has a Google Glass and Pebble app (as well as iOS and Android offerings) and is hoping by appealing to early adopters, they will already have a successful formula for wearable apps as Apple, Google and other major players enter the wearables space. CEO and founder Matthew Goldman says the company’s existing wearable apps have already taught them more about what their users want to see on their device’s smaller screens.

Courtesy – Mashable

Twitter Acquires Commerce Startup CardSpring

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Twitter announced Wednesday that it has acquired payments infrastructure company CardSpring.

CardSpring is a startup that helps merchants connect to publishers to create online-to-offline promotions. The company bills itself as a company that lets businesses “build apps for payment cards.” The idea is that you can add a coupon or a promotion directly to your method of payment, meaning that buying a distinct product — or even shopping at a particular store — can trigger an action or discount when done on a specific payment method.

CardSpring has previously partnered with Foursquare and others as a way to try to connect businesses with their offline shoppers.

Courtesy – Mashable

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Windows Phone, the land of dynamic live tiles of various sizes, will soon be a little more like iOS and Android: An update to the platform will introduce the ability to drag several live tiles into a single folder on the home screen.

For other platforms, the introduction of home screen folders was a housekeeping move (arriving with iOS 4 in 2010 and Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” in 2011), essentially crossing a clearly needed feature off a list. For Windows Phone, however, it’s a departure. The mobile OS has eschewed folders since the beginning, mainly because its design language doesn’t play nicely with them. For most, multiple live tile sizes provides enough flexibility with the home screen layout.

That’s apparently no longer the case, according to details of the update that were posted to Microsoft’s Windows Phone developer portal, which were confirmed by several different sites. “Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1″ is said to include a number of new features, although the introduction of folders is probably the most fundamental change to the OS.

Folders arriving on Windows Phone could has both positive and negative implications. On the one hand, it’s a concession that the design philosophy was perhaps flawed from the beginning. But it’s also an affirmation of the platform’s usability and app catalog; if users are demanding the feature, it’s probably because they have so many apps installed that they are in danger of losing track of them on the home screen.

Courtesy – Mashable

LeapFrog Launches Smart Gaming Console For Kids

Leap_TV

Known for its kid-focused tablet, children’s electronics company LeapFrog released a smart TV console aimed at encouraging child education through entertainment.

The device can host more than 100 games geared toward kids between the ages of three and eight, featuring popular Disney TV shows like Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Sofia the First. Many of the games focus on teaching skills like math, science and reading.

Kids can choose among multiple gaming options like the pointer, which is similar to a Wii controller. Body motions can also be used for gaming, which LeapFrog says incorporates physical fitness into kids’ lives at a young age. And of course, the traditional two-handed controllers are included. All of the controller choices were created with small hands in mind, according to the company.

Courtesy – Mashable

samsung-round-smartwatch-patent

Motorola might not be the only company making a smartwatch with a circular display in the near future. Samsung has filed for a trio of US design patents for smartwatches that are much more rounded than squarish devices like the Gear Live. The watch faces vary in their curviness, although they all have a similar camera in the band like the early Galaxy Gear; one example (what you see above) also has charging pins in the clasp, rather than on the watch itself. It’s clear that Samsung is seriously considering circular wristwear, although whether or not it actually builds any of these gadgets is another matter. All the patents were filed last March, or well before the company saw poor Galaxy Gear sales and revamped its designs — if these concepts ever translate to real products, there could be a lot of changes.

Courtesy – Engadget

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There’s a good reason you don’t usually see Square readers outside of the US: they’re built to read payment cards with magnetic stripes, not the more secure chip-and-PIN cards that are common everywhere else. All that’s set to change, however. Square has revealed plans for a reader that accepts the chip-based EMV format alongside stripes, letting shops handle credit and debit cards from around the world (and the US, once it catches up). The company will only start taking pre-orders for the payment device later this year, but it could be worthwhile for stores and customers alike. Besides the greater availability, it’s much harder to clone a chip card — you shouldn’t have to worry about an unscrupulous clerk (or a clever hacker) stealing your credit card and going on a shopping spree.

Courtesy – Engadget

1password
The popular log-in repository 1Password is about to get a lot more useful on iOS devices. AgileBits has revealed an extension for using the add-on in third-party iOS apps — if the developer chooses to build in support. Thanks to the enhanced security measures taken by Apple’s pending mobile OS update, the option can be included and doesn’t require you to go elsewhere in order to sort your passwords in standalone apps. Of course, this is in addition to 1Password’s own built-in browser that currently included and Touch ID is leveraged to access the secured vault of username credentials. 1Password for iOS is a $18 purchase, and we’re not holding our breath for similar functionality to arrive on the Android version anytime soon (although on Android LastPass has a similar feature for logging into apps). While you wait for your favorite software to opt in, there’s a handy demo in GIF after the break.

Courtesy – Engadget

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Looking for wicked fast internet? You may want to move to Denmark: researchers in DTU Photonics’ High-Speed Optical Communications Group (HSOC) have set a new world record for single-transmitter data transfer. Using a new kind of optical fiber, the team was able to achieve transfer speeds of 43 terabits per second. Not familiar with bit-based statistics? Try this: that’s more than five 1TB HDDs worth of data moved in less than one second. So, fast. The record was set using only a single laser transmitter, but faster speeds can (and have) been obtained using setups with hundreds of lasers.

Courtesy – Engadget

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