Sony's international phones have unlockable bootloaders, and the company even encourages users to tinker around with neat extras like AOSP builds. Alas, in markets like the US the carriers are still the keepers of the keys for a lot of customers, and T-Mobile has once again insisted on locking that sucker down for anyone who buys its version of the Sony Xperia Z3. Now users with this lamentable affliction can at least get root access on their phones, thanks to a bounty-winning method from an XDA user. Read More
Update: Today's the day!
To celebrate recent Golden Globe wins, Amazon plans to treat customers to a couple of deals this weekend. First, it plans to allow free streaming of all episodes of Transparent, its award-winning original series. That's ten episodes, available to stream Saturday January 24 from 12:01am eastern to 11:59pm pacific using Amazon's Prime Instant Video service.
Perhaps more exciting, though, is the fact that Amazon will be offering Prime memberships for $72 on the same day (to celebrate the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards of course), a nice discount over the normal $99/year price. Read More
YouTube has become a great place for indie musicians to get their work out to the public, and in a few cases, even make a little extra money with Google's automated Content ID music identifying and licensing service. That was all well and good, right up to the point where Google decided it would make its video site into a formal music service with YouTube Music Key. We heard of serious issues with the contract terms even before the service launched, but now one independent artist has spilled the beans on those terms, and how they've left her in a conundrum. Read More
Sometimes old stuff is too old. It's sad, but companies don't have unlimited resources, and they can't provide new software updates and service forever. That's especially true of smaller companies like Dropcam (though it's technically owned by Nest, which is technically owned by Google, so I'm not sure if it qualifies as a "small" company anymore). But instead of simply leaving owners of older hardware in the dust, or compromising on new features for the always-on home monitoring service, Dropcam has decided to simply upgrade the old models for free. Read More
Republic Wireless' hybrid WiFi-cellular calling system requires a number of changes to the firmware of phones, so updates tend to take a little longer. Case in point, The Moto G and Moto E are about to get Android 4.4.4 on Republic, but the Moto X is delayed a bit longer.
The US and EU have put in effect sanctions against the Crimea area of Ukraine following Russia's annexation of the peninsula, and now various tech companies are complying. Google has already started to block AdSense and AdWords in the region, reports TechCrunch, and it plans to cut off Google Play services starting on February 1st.
Google's actions follow the likes of Apple, PayPal, and Valve (which has opted to turn off Steam in Crimea altogether). When Google cuts off access to Google Play services, this will apply to both paid and free provisions, but the company will continue to provide access to web-based services such as search, Gmail, and Maps. Read More
Samsung's forays into Wearable technology for the consumer market haven't been very groundbreaking, and a few never even touched down. Perhaps the secret was to aim higher than heart rate trackers and smartwatches. A small team at Samsung has been working in the company's Creativity Lab (a.k.a. C-Lab) developing a headset capable of observing brainwave patterns for signs of a stroke. Not only could the system help millions of people each year to prevent a crippling or fatal stroke, but the technology may have applications for monitoring the heart and brain for many other conditions. Read More
The days of KitKat are numbered on the Moto G as Motorola begins pushing updates to devices in both the US and India. It isn't available to everyone yet, but it's on the way. That's better than nothing, right?
OnePlus isn't letting the situation in India get it down—the OnePlus One is coming to Indonesia later this month, and that's a rather large market too. Sure, it's not India, but Indonesia is the 4th most populous country in the world with 250 million people. All of them will be able to pre-order the One on January 27th without an invite. Remember when you didn't need invites to buy a phone? Read More