Author: Gary Thayer, Editor

Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network coverage adds more cities, reaches 75% of the U.S.

Verizon Wireless this month announced that it has expanded its high-speed 4G LTE network to 34 new markets, bringing its total to 371 U.S. markets and now covering more than 75 percent of the U.S. population. The carrier has also expanded its LTE network in 38 other markets. Verizon says it is ahead of schedule with its 4G LTE market roll out, which it says will soon cover more than 400 markets. The new markets added include: Hot Springs, Ark.; Redding, Calif.; Valdosta and Waycross, Ga.; Centralia and Danville, Ill.; Parsons, Salina and Topeka, Kan.; Alexandria and Monroe, La.; Pittsfield, Mass.; Battle Creek...

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Microsoft muzzles Metro moniker
on eve of Windows 8 launch

For Microsoft, the timing couldn’t be worse: just as Windows 8 is being sent it to device manufacturers, the tech titan has ceded the rights to the ‘Metro’ brand to a German firm, Metro AG, which owns the name. Ever since Microsoft  first previewed Windows 8, it has used the Metro moniker for its new tile-based user interface (UI) design, which it uses in Windows 8, Windows Phone 7.5, Office 2013, and even Server 2013. Starting this week, Microsoft has replaced all references to Metro in its materials with “Windows 8 applications” and “Windows 8 user interface.” And in its developer documents, Microsoft...

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Google Wallet app takes to the Cloud

Google has updated its Google Wallet app to a cloud-based version that supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. The new version also lets you remotely disable your mobile wallet from your Google Wallet account on the web. Google Wallet is currently only available on six NFC-enabled phones from Sprint and Virgin Mobile, as well as the new Nexus 7 tablet. Google has partnered with more than 25 U.S. retailers, and thanks to MasterCard PayPass, you can pay with your phone at more than 200,000 retail locations. To save a card to Google Wallet,...

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Outlook.com: it’s not your dad’s Hotmail

Microsoft has launched Outlook.com, a new online email service with limited ads, unlimited storage and built-in Skype and social networking updates. This is not your father’s old Hotmail account. Microsoft has dressed Outlook.com in a sharp, clean user interface that gets the clutter out of your way. For example, the header has 60% fewer pixels and there are 30% more messages visible in your inbox than the webmail most people are used to. And there are no display ads or large search boxes that take up extra space. Outlook.com is also touted to be the first email service that...

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Google adds ‘Hangouts’ video chat for up to 9 people

For the first time since the introduction of Gmail video chat back in 2008, Google has upgraded its video chat to a more modern video calling technology. The new version, Google+ Hangouts, is available for free for all Gmail users. Unlike the old video chat, which was based on peer-to-peer technology, Hangouts leverage Google’s own network for better quality. You’ll be able to chat with all the same people you did before and, in fact, with Hangouts you’ll now be able to reach them not only when they are using Gmail but also if they are on Google+ in...

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Apple retakes HP’s lead ahead of world record
in PC and tablet shipments

Global client PC shipments rose 12% year on year in Q2 2012, and growth in tablets more than compensated for disappointing sales of Ultrabooks, according to new research by Canalys. Canalys includes most tablets in its definition of a client PC, which it says is a computing device with the ability to function without a main source of electric power and with a built-in diagonal display of at least 7 inches. As such, Apple’s new iPad had the biggest single impact on growth rates in the quarter, but Asus and Samsung made progress with their Transformer and Galaxy Tab product...

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Apple seeks patent for iPad Smart Cover with additional display

The US Patent & Trademark Office has made public an Apple patent application originally filed a year ago, in which Apple details how to build a flexible display into an iPad cover. In the application, part of the iPad Smart Cover could be used to augment the main display with space for extra icons, or to operate as a separate media control interface, or to display notifications. Drawings collected in the gallery on the USPTO website also hint that Apple would use the entire inner surface of the cover as a keyboard (ala Microsoft Surface) or as a drawing area....

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AT&T to acquire NextWave for $600 million;
gets WCS and AWS spectrum

AT&T has agreed to acquire NextWave Wireless, Inc., which holds licenses in the Wireless Communication Services (WCS) and Advanced Wireless Service (AWS) bands. WCS spectrum was first auctioned in 1997, but has not been utilized for mobile Internet usage due to technical rules designed to avoid possible interference to satellite radio users in adjacent spectrum bands. In June, AT&T and Sirius XM filed a joint proposal with the FCC that would protect the adjacent satellite radio spectrum from interference and enable WCS spectrum — for the first time — to be used for mobile Internet service. This proposed solution...

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Survey: US, UK workers work overtime while mobile

In a recent survey of 1,000 US working adults sponsored by Good Technology, more than 80 percent of people continue working when they have left the office – for an average of seven extra hours each week – almost another full day of work. That’s a total of close to 30 hours a month or 365 extra hours every year. They’re also using their cell phones to mix work and their personal life in ways never seen before. While 60 percent do it simply to stay organized, almost half feel they have no choice because their customers demand quick replies. Thirty-one...

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Ultrabook sales flop as Apple sauces up the market

Worldwide PC shipments — including notebooks — totaled 87.5 million units in the second quarter of 2012, a decline of 0.1 percent from the second quarter of 2011, according to technology research firm Gartner, Inc. Ultrabook sales off to a slow start “In the second quarter of 2012, the PC market suffered through its seventh consecutive quarter of flat to single-digit growth,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Uncertainties in the economy in various regions, as well as consumer’s low interest in PC purchases, were some of the key influencers of slow PC shipment growth. Despite the high...

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Microsoft announces Office 2013 preview

Microsoft Office 2013 has hit the preview runway and is ready for its closeup. The company officially announced its free consumer preview version, which can be downloaded for free for a limited time. New Windows 8 features include: Touch everywhere. Office responds to touch as naturally as it does to keyboard and mouse. Swipe your finger across the screen or pinch and zoom to read your documents and presentations. Author new content and access features with the touch of a finger. Inking. Use a stylus to create content, take notes and access features. Handwrite email responses and convert them...

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Samsung wins UK battle with Apple, but loses “cool” factor

Samsung Electronics has finally won a legal ruling after a string of court losses to Apple in recent months. Samsung’s win —  in the U.K. High Court of Justice — wasn’t without insult, however. In his ruling, Judge Colin Birss said its Galaxy tablets are not “cool” enough to be confused with Apple’s iPad. The Galaxy tablets “do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design,” Birss said. “They are not as cool.” More specifically, Birss cited differences in the thickness of the devices, front and rear surface designs, and lack of physical buttons as reasons that consumers aren’t likely to confuse the Galaxy Tab with the iPad. Judge Birss has given Apple 21 days to appeal. Apple and Samsung, the world’s largest consumer electronics corporations, are fighting each other in ten countries. In the U.S., District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, recently rejected Samsung’s request to reverse her June 26 order to halt sales of its the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Koh also imposed a pre-trial ban on sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus phone last Friday, and Google pulled it from the Google Play store. But because Samsung filed an appeal, the ban has been temporarily lifted, and Google once again made the Galaxy Nexus available on Saturday. Apple and Samsung’s U.S. trial in California is now set for July 30, and Samsung has also appealed to a...

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Researchers design stretchable electronics

Scientists foresee a time when medical monitoring devices are integrated seamlessly into the human body, able to track a patient’s vital signs and transmit them to his doctors. But one major obstacle continues to hinder technologies like these: electronics are too rigid. Researchers at Northwestern University, working with scientists from the U.S. and Asia, have developed a design that allows electronics to bend and stretch to more than 200 percent their original size, four times greater than is possible with today’s technology. The key: a combination of a porous polymer and liquid metal. In the past five years, Northwestern...

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Eclipse’s Juno packs open source mobile dev tools

The Eclipse Foundation has released its annual release train, a package of open-source developer tools. This year’s release train is code-named Juno and includes Eclipse for Mobile Developers, which lets developers use Eclipse with a variety of mobile SDKs, including the Google Android SDK. Juno features work from 72 project teams and 55 million lines of code, according to Eclipse. The foundation has been offering release trains to provide developers with a synchronized release of multiple projects. Juno version 4.2 includes a compatibility layer enabling existing Eclipse plug-ins and RCP (Eclipse Rich Client Platform) applications to work on the new platform....

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Researchers develop spray-on battery prototype

Researchers at Rice University have developed a lithium-ion battery that can be painted on virtually any surface. The rechargeable battery consists of spray-painted layers, each representing the components in a traditional battery. The battery was created by Rice materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan, and the research appears in Nature’s online, open-access journal Scientific Reports. Lead author Neelam Singh, a Rice graduate student, and her team spent countless hours formulating, mixing and testing paints for each of the five layered components – two current collectors, a cathode, an anode and a polymer separator in the middle. The materials were airbrushed onto ceramic bathroom tiles, flexible...

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