Senate bill passes bringing regulated post-contract cell phone “unlocking” closer to reality

iphone-5s-hero-l-201311iPhone users could soon finally be able to easily use any supported carrier at the end of their service contract without having to jump through hoops or use other means to unlock the device. That is if a proposed bill currently processing through Congress passes and becomes law.

The Hill reports that the mentioned bill, the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, cleared through the Senate after a vote on Tuesday through a ‘unanimous consent agreement’ and will next move to the House for a vote before potentially becoming law after first being introduced last year. Read more

Samsung misses analyst estimates, reports $7.1 billion in operating profit for Q2

Photo: ibtimes.com

Photo: ibtimes.com

After warning earlier this month that Q2 didn’t “look too good,” Samsung today released its earnings preview for the second quarter of 2014. The South Korean company reported an operating profit of $7.1 billion (7.2 trillion won), missing analyst estimates of $8 billion (8.1 trillion won). This comes out to a 24 percent drop year over year (via Bloomberg).

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Samsung borrows a line from BlackBerry, calls iPhone users ‘Wall Huggers’ in new ad

As Samsung has done with past TV commercials for its flagship Galaxy S5, its latest ad for the device again takes the iPhone head-on. The new ad, titled “Wall Hugger”, focuses on mocking the iPhone’s battery life while showing off the S5’s Ultra Power Saving Mode and removable battery features. And in usual Samsung-fashion, it also borrows a line from comments Blackberry executive John Chen made back in March…  Read more

OtterBox launches durable, fast charging Resurgence Power Case for iPhone 5/5s

Otterbox Resurgence

OtterBox is adding a new collection of protective cases to its accessory lineup today with the introduction of its new Resurgence series. The Resurgence case is similar in concept to other battery pack case offerings from Mophie and similar case makers, but the Resurgence iPhone case boasts Military-rated drop protection (MIL STD 810G-516.6) as you would expect from an OtterBox case.

Superior protection isn’t the only extra benefit to OtterBox’s charing case. The 2,000 milliamp hour nominal lithium ion battery doubles your iPhone battery usage, and OtterBox says the Resurgence case will automatically stop charging your iPhone when your battery reaches full capacity. This auto-stop technology differs from other battery packs which continue to charge your device despite being full… Read more

Microsoft improves OneDrive storage limits & pricing as competing iCloud Drive approaches

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 3.54.55 PM

Microsoft is making notable improvements to its storage offerings for its OneDrive cloud-based service. The company is announcing today that OneDrive storage at the free tier will be more than doubled, Office 365 storage will see a major increase, and that there will be storage price drops across the board. Here are the three main announcements in more detail:

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World Cup players not allowed to wear Beats in stadium during games due to FIFA/Sony deal

Despite having what some consider the best ad celebrating the World Cup this year, Beats headphones cannot be worn by players in the stadium during the games or media events according to Reuters. The rule is implemented by FIFA, the international governing body over the sport, due to a licensing agreement with Sony which obviously competes with Beats in the headphones space. Despite the apparent ban this year, Beats has still been able to leverage the World Cup as an opportunity to pick up some product endorsements… Read more

Paper by 53 shows off surface pressure feature coming to its Pencil stylus and iPad Paper app

Paper by FiftyThree Surface Pressure feature

Last fall, the folks behind the iPad drawing app Paper introduced a standalone iPad stylus that integrates with the app appropriately called Pencil. FiftyThree’s Pencil is designed to not only look like a good old-fashioned pencil, but the stylus even talks to the Paper software to decipher which end of the stylus is for drawing and which end is for erasing… like a digital pencil.

Today FiftyThree showed off in a blog post a new feature coming to current and future Pencil and Paper users that the company calls Surface Pressure. In short, FiftyThree’s Pencil stylus is getting even more like a real artist’s pencil: the Paper app will soon be able to distinguish various sides and widths of the Pencil tip as well as recognize the amount of pressure applied. Video and details below… Read more

Starbucks teams up with Duracell to place iPhone-compatible wireless chargers in coffee shops

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 12.51.48 AM

Starbucks, in partnership with Duracell, is starting a nationwide rollout of a wireless charging system for smartphones. The system is powered by Duracell’s Powermat technology, which we reviewed last July (starting at $3.50). The program will place 100,000 of the Duracell chargers at specially-marked tables in each Starbucks location. Users would then be able to charge any phone using a compatible wireless charging system.

So far the program has only rolled out in a few stores, but it’s scheduled to reach more markets by next year. There’s not a timetable yet for when the rollout will be complete.

While the program is only available in a few stores right now, a page on the website for the initiative lists locations where the service is currently offered.

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Apple’s HomeKit partner Honeywell launches Lyric smart thermostat Nest competitor

With Apple stepping into the home automation arena by way of offering closer device integration through its new HomeKit API announced alongside iOS 8, just about every appliance in the home is potential for being refreshed and gaining deeper connectivity with our iPhones and iPads. Honeywell, a launch partner for Apple’s new home automation development tools, is today announcing its new Lyric smart thermostat to compete against similar offerings from competitors like the now Google-owned Nest. Read more

Apple makes a cameo in Beats’ epic World Cup ad (Video)

Apple’s iPhone and MacBook both made appearances in Beats’ new headphones ad celebrating the World Cup. Apple, of course, announced that it is buying Beats Electronics for $3 billion last week, a deal it expects to be approved by the end of September, and featured a Beats plug earlier this week at WWDC when Dr. Dre was phoned in to the keynote and Eddy Cue was photographed wearing Beats headphones… Read more

In the midst of Apple acquisition, Beats tries to solidify its high end (sound) rep with new Solo2 cans

beats-dre-solo-2-headphones

We’re less than 24 hours removed from Apple announcing its acquisition of Beats and the Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine headphone empire has already announced a new product.

The Beats Solo2 headphones are a follow-up to the massively popular Solo model that sold nearly four units every minute last year. It seems that Beats has addressed one of the biggest criticisms of previous models. Some said they were too bass-heavy which resulted in what some critics called “poorly-mixed hip-hop sound”.

The Solo2 headphone has a more dynamic, wider range of sound, with a clarity that will bring you closer to what the artist intended, whether you’re into hip-hop, heavy metal, jazz, electronic, or country.

These new cans sport a nearly identical design, while some tweaks have been made to increase overall comfort.

…the frame of the headphone has been curved like never before, giving the Solo2 a custom-fit feeling. The earcups have been ergonomically angled to complete this natural fit, with pivots for optimal comfort and sound delivery. Finally, the earcups’ premium material helps dissipate heat and minimize sound leakage.

Apple obviously had no impact on this product release since the deal isn’t expected to be finalized until the company’s fiscal Q4 of this year, but it’s interesting to see Beats trying to shake of some its old stigmas to appeal to audiophiles as well as music listeners who put bass and fashion first.

The Solo2 headphones are now available for preorder for $199.95 in a range of colors from Best Buy, beatsbydre.com, and are expected to hit other authorized retailers late this week… Read more