passport Stories November 24, 2014

BlackBerry offering up to $550 for your iPhone through limited-time ‘Trade Up’ program

Itching to “trade up” from your iPhone to a shiny new BlackBerry Passport? Thanks to BlackBerry’s latest promotion, you’ll be able to do just that. The program will let Passport buyers get up to $550 in credit towards the new device when they trade in an iPhone 4s or higher.

In order to get the full amount, you’ll need to trade a brand-new iPhone 6 (or presumably a 6 Plus, though it’s not specifically listed on the chart). The trade-in value for each device is actually much lower (ranging from $90 to $400), but shoppers buying a Passport will get a “top-up” worth an additional $150.

If, for whatever reason, you’d like to take advantage of this offer, you’ll need to wait just a few weeks. The program goes into effect on December 1st and runs through February 13th.

The Passport sports a square 1440×1440 resolution display and a “touch-enabled” physical keyboard. It went on sale earlier this month.

passport Stories August 7, 2014

United Airlines adds passport scanning for international flights to mobile app

The immigration authorities of most countries require airlines to check the passports of their passengers before they are allowed to fly, so if you are making your first international flight with an airline, you have to queue up at check-in instead of downloading your own boarding pass at home. United Airlines is aiming to end this by adding the ability to scan and verify your passport using its mobile app, then head straight to Departures at the airport.

Once you’ve scanned your passport with your iPhone’s camera, the app sends the details to credentials management company Jumio Inc, who verify that your passport is valid which then allows you to download your boarding pass.

If your passport is already registered with United from a previous international flight, you don’t need to scan it again, it is verified automatically.

The bad news is that the system can’t yet verify visas, so if you need a visa for the country you’re visiting, you’ll still need to check-in the old-fashioned way.

You can download the free United Airlines app from iTunes.

passport Stories May 8, 2013

App.net launches ‘Passport’ app for iPhone to manage accounts, find browsing clients, sign up for free

New Twitter-like social network App.net has launched an iPhone and iPod touch app called “Passport.” The application serves as a simple way to manage App.net accounts, edit your profile, and find and follow other App.net users. Importantly, the “Passport” app does not serve as a browsing client for an App.net feed, but rather as an app primarily focused on finding third-party App.net clients.

Notably, the app allows you to create a free account. Previously, to get a free account, users needed to have been invited by an existing user.

The app is available for free on the App Store. We previously posted a guide to our favorite App.net clients. You can follow us and our staff on App.net.

passport Stories January 14, 2013

There were more than a few Bluetooth-enabled smart watches on display at CES this year. We were on-hand for the official press unveiling of the Pebble e-paper watch, which is expected to start shipping to over 80,000 backers later this month. We also spotted Martian Watches, CooKoo, I’mWatch, and a small handful of other watches designed to pair and work with your iPhone or other mobile devices. Many have seen the Pebble, up until now, as the frontrunner mainly due to the 10 million in funding it raised through Kickstarter. While rumor has it Apple is interested in creating a smart watch of its own, we will hear a lot more about smart watches in 2013 if CES is any indication. Over the past week and a half, I had the chance to put one of these smart watches to the test: the Bluetooth 4.0 “Passport” from Martian Watches.

A few things to note right off the bat: First, unlike the Pebble and I’m Watch, which integrate a larger display, the focus of Martian Watches is voice command. There is some debate whether a smart watch, one that the average iPhone user might use on a daily basis, should resemble an iPod nano-like touchscreen or a more traditional timepiece design. Martian Watches is going with the latter, but it integrates a small 96-by-16 pixel OLED display capable of displaying notifications and scrolling text for incoming messages and calls.

While Pebble and others hope to create an ecosystem of third-party apps that can run on small, touch-enabled displays, the name of the game is voice command for Martian Watches. That means, in the case of iPhone users, you’ll be able to activate and control Siri right from your wrist. It also means as Siri improves and adds more functionality, your Martian Watch does too. However, Martian packs some other non-Siri features that make it a true competitor to the other Bluetooth smart watches hitting the market…

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passport Stories March 21, 2012

Hard-drive maker Western Digital is the first-ever to unveil a 2TB capacity 2.5-inch portable external hard drive.

Western Digital announced the drive will first be put into the My Passport family, which previously only offered up to 1TB of storage, but the doubled-capacity external is still a condensed single-volume drive. 9to5Mac reviewed the Western Digital My Passport Studio in September 2011 and walked away very impressed with the 1TB 2.5-inch flavor.

Like the earlier version, the larger My Passport is available in various colored finishes that make its shell resilient to abrasions. The device is NTFS reformatted but easily reformatted to Mac OS, and it supports USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 for trucking large amounts of data.

More information is available below.

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