Review: Harman Kardon Esquire Mini is the best iPhone speakerphone you can fit in your pocket

Harman Kardon Esquire Mini - Lifestyle (2)not me

I reviewed two portable Bluetooth speakerphone options earlier this year: The Philips WeCall ($145) vs. Logitech P710e ($125) . Both are square and have internal batteries and make conference calling easy. But for their ~$150 price tag, I wondered if you could get more portability and style without sacrificing sound quality.

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The answer to those questions is the Harman Kardon Esquire line of portable speakerphones. Below, I take a look at the Esquire Mini which retails for $149.99 and can be found as low as $145 at Amazon or $135 at World Wide StereoRead more

Bluetooth 4.2 stops eavesdroppers, increases data transfer speed & brings direct internet access

Bluetooth-Smart

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced an updated Bluetooth spec, version 4.2, that introduces a number of new features alongside enhancements to speed and privacy. The update also allows for Bluetooth over IPv6, which along with an upcoming update will allow devices to have a direct connection to the Internet and open up new possibilities for Bluetooth sensors and other accessories. Read more

Here’s why beacon networks are the way to go for retailers & app developers supporting iBeacon

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If you’re a retailer, you have two options when it comes to deploying Bluetooth beacons. You can deploy the hardware yourself and build an accompanying mobile app for the experience, or you can open the experience to existing apps that users already have on their device using a beacon network. Some retailers have decided they want to own the experience and have everything go through their own mobile app, but new data suggests that might not be the way to go. Read more

OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 failing to cure WiFi problems for some users – support forums

yosemite

Yesterday’s dot-release of OS X 10.10.1 has seemingly failed to address the WiFi problems some users have been experiencing since upgrading to Yosemite, according to continuing posts on the Apple Support Communities.

Despite the first bullet-point in the release notes for 10.10.1 reading ‘Improves WiFi reliability,’ many of those who had reported connection failures, dropped connections and slow speeds said that nothing had changed since upgrading to 10.10.1 …  Read more

Samsung going head-to-head with Apple with iBeacon rival, Proximity

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The rivalry between Apple and Samsung looks set to enter a new field as Samsung has announced a direct competitor to iBeacon, called Proximity.

Samsung Proximity is a mobile marketing platform that connects consumers with places via cutting-edge Samsung location and context-aware technology.

With Samsung Proximity, visitors are able to experience rich content related to their location, and marketers can better engage with customers for increased sales and brand awareness.

The applications Samsung describes for the service are identical to those already in use with Apple’s iBeacon partners …  Read more

Upcoming Bluetooth Apple-branded Beats Solo2 headphones revealed by FCC

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Apple and its Beats by Dre group seem to be close to announcing a new pair of headphones: a Bluetooth version of their popular Solo2 headphones. Earlier this year, Beats launched the Solo2 wired earphones as a cheaper alternative to the Studio cans. Today, a wireless version has been revealed thanks to the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) testing department.

As can be seen in the image above from today’s FCC filing, the design of the wireless model is akin to the wired model. The only difference appears to be the Bluetooth connectivity. The documents specify that Bluetooth 4.0 Low-Energy technology is utilized.

Interestingly, these documents indicate that these headphones are Apple-branded:

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Starwood Hotels begins rollout of iPhone/Apple Watch virtual room keys, Hilton to follow (Video)

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Starwood Hotels has officially launched its SPG Keyless service, allowing guests to use their iPhone (and, in the Spring, Apple Watch) to unlock their hotel doors, bypassing the front desk. The boutique hotel group first announced the project back in January.

1. After booking a reservation at a keyless hotel, SPG members are invited to opt-in to SPG Keyless and register their phone through the SPG App.

2. Approximately 24 hours before arrival, the guest receives his/her room number and Bluetooth key via the app.

3. Upon arrival at the hotel, the guest can completely bypass the front desk (where available) and go directly to his/her room.

4. Then, after ensuring his/her Bluetooth is enabled, the guest simply opens the SPG App, taps the smartphone on the door lock, waits for the green light and enters the room.

The service goes live today at three Starwood brands: Aloft, Element and The W. Read more

Yosemite & iOS 8 How-to: Set up and use Handoff

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Now that Yosemite is out, with iOS 8 devices you are now able to use Handoff. Handoff will allow you to seamlessly start a task on one device, and pick it up on another device. So for example you start writing a paper on your iPad and then you want to continue it on your Mac, or you start writing an email on your iPhone and want to finish it on your iPad, this is what Handoff does. When signed into the same iCloud account and Bluetooth is turned on, Handoff will allow you to transition your work flow from one device to another.

On the Mac, you will have an additional dock separate from the main dock indicating what is running on the iOS device. On the iOS device on the lock screen you will have an icon indicating the app that is being used on the Mac. Currently it works with Apple’s apps including Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Safari, Reminders, Messages, Maps, Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Developers can also add Handoff to their apps as Things and other apps have already done. In this how-to article, I will discuss how to set up Handoff and how to use it.

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Logitech introduces new Type+ Bluetooth keyboard/case for iPad Air

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Logitech today announced its latest case/Bluetooth keyboard combo with the new Type+ for iPad Air. Like many of its past products that we’ve reviewed, Logitech’s new keyboard puts a Bluetooth keyboard inside of a light protective case that provides protection on both sides of an iPad. It also said it’s made some big improvements to the keyboard over previous generations: Read more

Review: 5 inexpensive pocketable Bluetooth speakers from Omaker, Koss, Boombot and Mpow

Best Bluetooth Speakers

We’ve long held that the extra cost of high end Bluetooth speakers from Bose, Ultimate Ears, JBL and Cambridge Audio Minx (all pictured above top row) were well worth the extra money even at prices up near $200 and beyond. But the fact is that not everyone wants to spend a lot of money on a Bluetooth speaker, and portability and ruggedness are often priorities over pure sound. For those people, we went on a search for high quality Bluetooth speakers that cost much less.

Our top 5 are speakers in this category from reviewing about 20 are from Omaker, Koss, Mpow and BoombotRead more

Review: Nova wireless flash for iPhone adds a burst of light to your photos from any angle

Nova wireless flash for iPhone

We first told you about the Nova wireless flash for iPhone last fall when it was merely an idea on Kickstarter having just collected enough funding to ship. The campaign successfully raised over $85,000 and the wireless flash for iPhone is now available for purchase with an iOS app available on the App Store. I recently had the chance to test out the Nova wireless flash for iPhone, and below I’ll share a few insights from my experience.

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Automatic smart driving assistant brings its dashboard to the web

Automatic Dashboard Web

The smart driving assistant Automatic is getting even more capable this morning with the roll out of a new dashboard interface made specifically for the web. You will probably recognize the interface (seen above) if you have used the Automatic app, which connects to a Bluetooth accessory in your car to give you data on driving efficiency and more.

The dashboard presents trip history mapped out alongside information including distance, miles-per-gallon, fuel cost, and duration just like the iPhone app. In addition to being able to access data captured by Automatic on the web for the first time, the new dashboard also features filtering and exporting capabilities. Read more