Chances are, even if you haven't heard of Vudu (though that's a little hard at this point), you might just own some piece of content that can be used with the service. Vudu is a digital movie locker that allows users to rent or buy movies online and have them streamed to their computers, or a number of set top boxes and Blu-Ray players with internet connectivity. This is all pretty standard fare. The standout feature, though, is Ultraviolet support, which happens to be one of the preferred methods of offering 'digital copies' for Blu-Ray multipacks.
Once you sign in, you'll have access to your entire library (if you have one), as well as the ability to shop around for anything you'd like to watch. Read More
Telecom equipment manufacturer Arris Group has just announced that it will acquire the Home division of Motorola from Google, for a total of $2.35 billion in cash and stock. The sale of the division had been predicted from basically the day Google announced its purchase of Moto, and in recent weeks was all but confirmed.
As part of the deal, Google will gain a 15.7% share of Arris Group. The Motorola Home division encompasses products like set top boxes, broadband modems, landline phones, and (apparently) baby monitors.
While some have criticized Google's decision to sell off Moto's modem and TV manufacturing arm, it makes complete sense: even a wide expansion of Google Fiber wouldn't require a $2 billion+ set top box business, and I doubt Google has any interest in manufacturing modems for the likes of Comcast or Verizon. Read More
It seems Apple isn't making many friends over at the patent examiner's office lately - yet another high-profile patent used by the company in litigation has been deemed wholly invalid on a preliminary basis.
The patent in question is often called the "pinch-to-zoom" patent, because that's basically what it patents - a pinch gesture to zoom in on content on a display. This patent had been used successfully by Apple during the first Samsung lawsuit, with numerous (all but two) Samsung devices found to infringe it. The claim (#8) involved in the suit, below (heavily redacted, reformatted):
determining whether the event object invokes a scroll or gesture operation by distinguishing between a single input point applied to the touch-sensitive display that is interpreted as the scroll operation and two or more input points applied to the touch-sensitive display that are interpreted as the gesture operation;
issuing at least one scroll or gesture call based on invoking the scroll or gesture operation;
responding to at least one scroll call, if issued, by scrolling a window having a view associated with the event object;
and responding to at least one gesture call, if issued, by scaling the view associated with the event object based on receiving the two or more input points in the form of the user input.
It's a good time to be an Android gamer. Sega, perennial underdog of the console world, has decided to put some of its biggest titles on Android on a pretty big sale. Right now you can grab Dreamcast favorite Jet Set Radio for $2 (regular price $5), Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode I and Episode II, plus the Tegra-only Episode II THD, for a buck each. All of the Sonic titles are usually $3.99 to $6.99, making this sale a pretty good deal all around.
Between them, Sonic CD is easily the best game - this 16-bit classic has long been considered Sonic's best 2D run by most fans. Read More
The MA350 is an earbud produced by RHA, subsidiary of the UK firm Reid Heath Ltd., based in Glasgow. RHA currently manufacture only two models earbud, both of which use the same audio guts - one of them just has inline controls. The MA350's are the model without them. They retail for $40 (buy here). A small carrying pouch and three sets of eartips are included.
For $40, the RHA MA350's produce sound that is - I would argue - far more comparable to headphones of the $80-100 range. My primary point of comparison, therefore, were my trusty old Etymotic Research hf2's (equivalent to the hf5, which are $100 street price, $150 MSRP). Read More
At this point, everyone probably knows that gReader is my RSS client of choice on Android. Of course, everyone should also know that I love pretty apps. I'm actually a sucker for a clean, minimalistic layout, and will often choose what looks better over what's actually functional. Maybe I'm just vain.
Whatever the reason, though, when I laid eyes on Press, it was an insta-buy for me – it's just so pretty I couldn't resist. Turns out it's quite functional, too. Win/win. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Basically, Press is a very nice looking RSS reader for Android. Read More
The Yelp app for Android has been updated to version 3.7, and brings some much-needed action bar love to everyone's favorite restaurant and other place-finding service... thing. Except they sort of botched it a little bit - with a big, fat ugly gray bar at the bottom of the map and result list UI that decreases the amount of visible content. Lovely.
On the upside, now you have a 3-dot menu button, and the standard action bar back button, too. This update adds support for Yelp Talk, as well, which is Yelp's local chat thing. My local chat buddies had all sorts of interesting things to say, so much that I think they deserve their very own jumbo screenshot:
Look at all that intelligent discussion. Read More
One of the biggest frustrations of dealing with Verizon, if you're someone who likes to tweak their phone, is that the carrier insists on locking the bootloaders on its phones that otherwise would not be locked. Samsung has offered Developer Editions of its phones in the past, including the Galaxy S III, largely to avoid that problem and appease the dev crowd. Today, that tradition continues with the Galaxy Note II which has now appeared on the company's site in a similar hacker-friendly model.
Samsung hasn't announced pricing or availability for this model just yet, but if previous patterns hold, you can expect this to take a bit of a toll on your wallet, as it's going to be sold off-contract and unsubsidized. Read More
The rollout of Android 4.1 to the One XL has begun in various Asian countries this morning, with confirmations specifically for the CID (carrier ID) associated with Singapore and Taiwan. The full firmware for the update is also available in RUU form over on XDA (direct link). Note that applying the update will only work if you have the correct CID - this won't work on any old One XL.
The update brings Android 4.1.1, Sense 4+, along with power management improvement - the same changelog we've seen for every HTC device being upgraded to Android 4.1. We wouldn't expect a massive worldwide rollout immediately, given HTC's slow staggering of the 4.1 update for the normal One X, but be on the lookout for it in the coming weeks. Read More