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February 26th, 2014
08:26 AM ET

Samsung on "cruise control" with GS5, but shines with Gear Fit

Samsung's latest flagship smartphone is out. The reviews are in. And the reaction is...

Meh.

"What you're seeing here is a Samsung that's very much on cruise control," says Chris Ziegler, deputy managing editor of The Verge.

"It's an evolution of the S4, not a whole new phone. There were some of us who were hoping they would take a little bit of a leap here, go to an aluminum body, maybe a new user interface, but really it's just an evolved S4."

Compared to its predecessor, the S5 has a bigger screen, a better camera and a faster processor.

There's also a fingerprint sensor built into the home button, just like what you find in the iPhone 5s.

But one big change in the Galaxy S5: there's a built-in heart rate sensor. Does that score points for Samsung?

"The fact that they included a heart rate sensor in the GS5 really isn't surprising when you consider fitness is a buzzword in mobile now," Ziegler tells me.

Along with the Galaxy S5, Samsung unveiled three smartwatches at the Mobile World Congress – the Samsung Gear 2, the Gear 2 Neo, and the Gear Fit.

For Ziegler and his fellow editors at the Verge, the slender and form-fitting Gear Fit stole the limelight at the big reveal in Barcelona.

 "Of the new smartwatches that they showed yesterday, that would be the winner for sure," says Ziegler.

Click on for the full interview.

January 1st, 2014
11:21 AM ET

Looking back at 2013

News Stream usually brings you stories about the power of technology to improve our lives. But in 2013, the top tech story was more ominous.

Since June, revelations about the U.S. National Security Agency's surveillance programs have come to light. The fallout has been felt in Washington and the rest of the world.

Tech companies have expressed outrage over the U.S. government's spying practices. Listen to Google's chairman Eric Schmidt in Part 1 (above).

In Part 2, hear from Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales and examine the new generation of gaming consoles.

Finally in Part 3, astronaut Chris Hadfield speaks about his popular videos from space. And we ask what the future holds for mobile technology.

We hope you enjoy these highlights from 2013. We look forward to the year ahead!


Filed under: Gadgets • Games • Mobile World Congress • Technology • Titans of Tech • Viral Videos
BlackBerry: Why breaking up is hard to do
September 24th, 2013
11:40 AM ET

BlackBerry: Why breaking up is hard to do

By Kristie Lu Stout

Hong Kong (CNN) – I can't even remember the last time I thumbed a message on its itty-bitty qwerty keyboard.

And yet, I stubbornly keep my BlackBerry in my bag and on my desk, fully charged.

As with my Palm Vx of yesterday, breaking up with a beloved gadget is hard to do, especially when you have history.

FULL POST

September 6th, 2013
02:01 PM ET

Samsung's new smartwatch

Samsung says its new Galaxy Gear smartwatch is an engineering marvel.

CNNMoney's Adrian Covert calls it "unimaginative, reductive and maybe even retrograde."

Decide for yourself as Samsung Mobile's Ryan Bidan shows Covert the primary features of the device.

August 23rd, 2013
09:33 AM ET

Why your mobile phone is a weather station

Your smart phone is smarter than you think.

The UK-based OpenSignal has developed an app that crowd sources the weather using data from your mobile battery.

That's right, you can tell how hot it is outside thanks your cellphone's energy source. That's because smartphones have built-in thermometers to track battery temperature to help prevent overheating.

It's something the company discovered by accident. A year ago, OpenSignal discovered a strong correlation between battery temperature and daily temperatures recorded at a weather station.

Its WeatherSignal app, available for Android phones, crowd sources the temperature data from thousands of users who are running the app.

How accurate is the data? And will it be able to predict the weather one day?

Click on to my News Stream interview with OpenSignal co-founder and CTO James Robinson to find out.

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Filed under: Data • Gadgets • Technology • Weather
May 9th, 2013
09:58 AM ET

The promise and peril of 3D printing

3D printers have been around for a while, used in industry for rapid prototyping.

But the promise and peril of 3D printing really came to the fore this week, after that shocking announcement from the Texas-based "Defense Distributed" which claimed it has successfully fired the world's first gun made by a 3D printer.

Thanks to cheaper 3D printer models, the technology is available to anyone with around a thousand dollars to spare.

Here's how it works. Instead of using ink like regular inkjet printers, 3D printers use materials like plastic. They take a digital image that you can create using modeling software on a computer, and then print it out building up layer upon layer of material to create complex solid objects.

Toys, car parts, even mini human organs have been 3D printed by manufacturers and scientists who've been using the technique for decades.

How far can the technology go? What will 3D printers be able to do for us 10 years from now? And is it an advance that needs to be regulated today?

In the video clip above, News Stream contributor Nicholas Thompson of the NewYorker.com weighs in on the 3D printing debate.

May 2nd, 2013
08:15 AM ET

From MindMeld to Google Glass - can tech be too smart?

You've heard of Siri. You may be familiar with Google Now.

But what about MindMeld?

The app, built by Expect Labs, bills itself as "a smarter way to have conversations on your iPad."

It hasn't been released yet, but tech giants Samsung, Intel and Telefonica have just joined on as the startup's latest inventors.

This is how it works. When you talk, MindMeld listens so it can search and bring up information that's relevant to your discussion.

But after looking at the product demo online, it's easy to see why some call it "Siri on steroids" - a voice-activated search engine that hangs on to your every word.

There's something deeply fascinating and creepy about the technology that tracks everything you say. Why would I want to use it? And what do I give up for using it and similar tracking technologies like Google Glass?

CNN contributor Nicholas Thompson of the NewYorker.com says by using such hyper-smart technology, we are trading in our privacy in return for utility. There's always resistance at first, but eventually we grow to accept it.

What's your take?

April 30th, 2013
07:24 AM ET

iTunes at 10: the cracks are showing

Wait, the iTunes Store is 10 years old?

It's true, the digital media store was launched a decade ago this week - on April 28, 2003.

These days, it sells TV shows, movies, apps and books. But back then, it only sold music and marked a sea change for the recording industry.

iTunes became the largest music retailer on the planet by 2010. According to NPD, iTunes is currently responsible for 63% of all digital music sales - putting it well ahead of rivals like Amazon and Google.

The iTunes music store may still be the leader of the digital music arena but according to Nilay Patel, Managing Editor of The Verge, the cracks are starting to show.

The business model has hardly changed over ten years and a number of music streaming and subscription options are out there, grabbing the attention of a younger demographic.

After a decade of success, can Apple continue its dominance in digital music?

With competition coming from Pandora, Spotify and others that stream music online, Patel says, "iTunes itself needs to change to become a more Internet-centric service."

Apple is starting to move in that direction. But there's no time to lose.

April 12th, 2013
02:27 PM ET

PC sales down but not out

You've seen the report by now. Research firm IDC says global shipments of PCs fell 14% last quarter - nearly twice as bad as expected.

The report says consumers are putting their money on mobile devices instead, adding that the sector is at "a critical crossroads."

OK. PC sales are declining, but is the PC really going away?

Regular News Stream contributor Nicholas Thompson, editor of the NewYorker.com, is a defender of this technology in decline.

He points out that PC sales will still outnumber tablet sales in the next two years and that, paradoxically, one of the reasons why PC sales are declining is that they simply last longer.

"In 5 years, when we fully enter the mobile era, there will be many of us with desktops," says Thompson.

Call me a PC-hugger. I plan to be one of them.

February 28th, 2013
02:17 PM ET

Making a call on what’s next in mobile

Inevitably, I met a booth babe with a t-shirt that read, “Call Me Maybe.”

I’m at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona - home of fine food, football and phones with the biggest mobile industry gathering of the year.

Why am I here? Our world is changing fast. We are at a critical inflection point as desktop computing shifts to mobile, and smart mobile devices become more and more ubiquitous. We are ushering in a new digital era where everyone will be on the move and always connected.

The change is happening so fast, blink and you may miss it. It’s already challenging the authority of established computing giants like Microsoft and pre-smartphone era stalwarts like Nokia.

Chinese tech firms Huawei and ZTE are chipping away at the authority of BlackBerry. Open-source operating systems are emerging as players in the race for mobile OS supremacy. Messaging apps like WhatsApp are stealing revenues away from network providers.

So I’m here to determine what’s happening and try to anticipate what’s next before reality slams me in the face.

So, here goes. These are the three top emerging mobile trends I’ve picked up here in Barcelona:

FULL POST

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