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BlackBerry announces Passport phone

BlackBerry announced a new phone yesterday which they've called Passport. This new phone combines a larger screen (4.5 Inch screen, 1440x1440 resolution) like most smartphone have combined with the traditional BlackBerry keyboard. The phone looks a little odd at first glance, however, as a former BlackBerry user who still misses the physical keyboard I think I might be willing to give it a try. For more details on this new phone head on over to Engadget.

BlackBerry teased the existence of a new device with a square, high-resolution screen before, but the Passport's design isn't exactly what we were expecting. Unlike other BlackBerrys with squared-off displays, the folks in Waterloo didn't feel the need to craft a more traditional (some would say more hand-friendly) chassis. Nope, the Passport seems to bask in its angular tendencies, and that 4.5-inch display running at 1,440 x 1,440 -- which works out to a pixel density of 452 pixels per inch -- is clearly the star of the show. If reports hold true, you'll also be able to trace out gestures directly on the (now cramped) keyboard, though why you'd do that instead of paw at a touchscreen is still unclear.

Microsoft teases new Android Phone

No the headline was not a typo. Microsoft (through their phone division Nokia) has been teasing consumers with their newest Android phone the Nokia X2. Nokia and Microsoft had confirmed that they would continue to produce their Android phone lineup (even after Microsoft acquired Nokia) which was a surprise to most as Microsoft is obviously the producer of their very own Windows Phone OS. The official launch date for the Nokia X2 is June 24th and at that time all the specs will be confirmed. Nokia produces a solid phone so I am sure this will make Android fans happy. If you can't wait until the 24th head on over to The Verge for more details.

Microsoft has committed to supporting its existing Android-based Nokia X handsets, but it appears the company is also planning to introduce new models. A teaser posted at the Nokia Conversations blog today hints at a new Nokia X phone for next week. LiveSinohas discovered the same teaser on the Chinese version of Nokia’s site, complete with a green X shape and the June 24th date. Nokia previously used green ducks to tease its original Nokia X announcement earlier this year.

Apple iWatch Rumors: Multiple sizes?

The latest Apple iWatch rumor is that Apple is going to be launch the iWatch with multiple sizes available. The sizes of the iWatch are still yet unknown, but the "one size fits all" approach was probably not going to work anyways so giving people a choice is most likely a good strategy. The iWatch is also rumored to contain 10 sensors which could be used for health applications (among other things) which would make it similar to other devices like Nike's FuelBand. The WSJ has more details.

The new wrist device from Apple will include more than 10 sensors including ones to track health and fitness, these people said. Apple aims to address an overarching criticism of existing smartwatches that they fail to provide functions significantly different from that of a smartphone, said a person familiar with the matter.

4 reasons to avoid the Amazon Fire phone

The long awaited Amazon Fire phone has finally been announced and the reviews are mixed. Amazon typically does a good job with their devices thanks to the services like Amazon Prime which give users a ton of value. Not everyone is sold on the Amazon Fire phone, Versus has come up with 4 reasons why they are taking a pass. There are of course positives as well, but like with any phone purchase, make sure to find one that fits your needs.

Yes, we get it, the Dynamic Perspective (not 3D) technology used in Amazon’s Fire smartphone is cool. But while it is pretty, it is just in essence, a gimmick, and does not add any additional functionality to the phone. On close inspection, there is no consumer who actually needs the Fire, and indeed several areas where Amazon completely has dropped the ball with this device. Below you can read four very good reasons for not buying the Fire...

BlackBerry is stabilizing?

For the last couple years any story we've posted about BlackBerry usually contained some type of bad news related to their earnings, however, last quarter BlackBerry actually showed signs or life and didn't lose boatloads of money. The profit numbers and increased number or phone sales aren't all that impressive in comparison to some of the big guys but the fact that BlackBerry has finally stopped the bleeding is a good sign. The NY Times has the details.

Accounting adjustments enabled BlackBerry, the troubled smartphone maker, to report on Thursday a $23 million, or 4 cents a share, profit for its last quarter. Without those noncash changes, however, the company lost $60 million during the period.

But the company’s results for the first quarter of its fiscal year showed that severe cost-cutting and efforts to refocus the company by John S. Chen, its chairman and chief executive, may be at least stabilizing BlackBerry.

WTU Episode #267 - Is 1080p Already Done?

We have just posted up Episode #267 of Weekly Tech Update. In this episode we are discussing the death of 1080p as 4K gets really affordable, Amazon lands very late into the Smartphone race and Tesla gives away their patents. We have those stories and more and the links below!

Download Episode #267
Show Notes
Subscribe to the feed.
Subscribe in iTunes!

Best Storage Devices

If you are thinking about grabbing some extra storage for all of the summer photos and videos you'll be taking, make sure to check out the best storage devices that are currently available. The list that has been compiled below takes into account network storage, SSD, mechanical, flash and more. You'll find something that fits your needs below.

Internal storage is generally a hard drive or solid-state drive (SSD) that hosts your computer's operating systems and programs. External storage comes mostly in the form of external drives that connect to a computer via a peripheral port, such as USB or Thunderbolt. Finally, network attached storage (NAS) solutions are those that connect to a switch or a router to provide storage space and services to the entire network.

Source: CNET

Surface Pro 2 Gets Price Cuts

Microsoft is dropping the price of their Surface Pro 2 products just before they drop the Surface Pro 3 on the market. The downside is that some of the "new low" prices for the Surface Pro 2 are exactly what the same new version is worth. Still, there are some pretty decent price cuts on the higher-end units with more storage.

The entry-level 64GB Pro 2 is now available for $799, down from $899, making it the same price as the 64GB Pro 3. The 128GB Pro 2 has also had a price cut of $100, while the more expensive 256GB and 512GB models each get $200 off. The range-topping 512GB Pro 2 now costs $1599 (although it is currently out of stock), while the 512GB Pro 3 is available for pre-order at $1949.

Source: Neowin

YouTube Confirms Music Subscriptions

It appears that Google is getting ready to launch music subscriptions on their YouTube property and if you have done a lyric video or are using music without permission, there is a very good chance that your video will get pulled here right away. YouTube has to do this in order to protect the content that they will be distributing for a fee. I don't think they are interested in competing with themselves here - although music subscriptions on YouTube do compete with Google Play Music a bit.

We’re adding subscription-based features for music on YouTube to bring our music partners new revenue streams in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars YouTube already generates for them each year,” said a YouTube spokesman in a statement. Google-owned YouTube is testing the service internally, but will not give a date for its launch yet. The dispute with the indies is not likely to hold up its plans, according to person familiar with the company.

Source: Billboard

Google's Balloon Internet Blossoms

When Google said that it was going to use balloons to bring internet to the world, I'm sure that everyone's first reaction was a little negative to say the least. Well, it's been a year since Google started Project Loon and it's actually done quite well and is growing. Google may end up replacing this with their more recently acquired Titan Aerospace drones, but in the meantime, it's actually working. Crazy stuff.

Earlier this month, Mike Cassidy, a project director at Google’s high-risk research division X, woke before dawn in the Northwest Brazilian state of Piauí. It was already warm and humid. He drove for an hour to a clearing in a rural area and helped his team launch several high-altitude balloons with a payload of Internet connectivity technology—the nub of the project he directs called Loon.

Source: Wired

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