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In Brief

Motorola made it easier for iPhone owners to transfer some handset data to a new Moto X on Wednesday. A new web tool on the MotoMaker website can grab iOS contacts and calendar events from Apple’s iCloud, said Punit Soni, VP of Product Management at Motorola Mobility.

In a Google+ post explaining the new feature, Soni said that after consumers buy a Moto X through the MotoMaker site, they’ll have the chance to migrate their data. A help page shows exactly how the data fields will translate between iOS and Android. The new service may not push many from iPhones to the Moto X, but for those who do make the move, the new tool will be appreciated.

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In Brief

Amid concerns about its future, which appears to be the sale of all or part of the company, BlackBerry is taking an open letter approach to quell its customers concerns. Reuters reported on Monday that BlackBerry will run the letter in 30 news outlets in 9 countries this week, with the intent to explain that it isn’t going anywhere just yet.

The letter, which can be found here thanks to CNet, explains how the company still has plenty of cash on hand and no debt, plus new phones running on advanced software and 6 million pre-registrations for its BBM service on iOS and Android. Government and enterprise security is also “best in class” says the note. All of these observations are arguably valid. However, it’s ironic that the company is saying you can still count on it when so many did just that for years, only to arrive at this juncture for the once-king of all smartphones.

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In Brief

BlackBerry could sell itself off in pieces, reports Bloomberg. The option comes after BlackBerry signed a letter of intent in September to sell itself to Fairfax Financial for $9 per share, pending a six-week due diligence process from the prospective buyer.

Why an apparent Plan B? Two reasons: The company has reportedly seen interest from other buyers — namely Cisco, Google, Intel, SAP and Samsung — but not all of them want the whole company. Breaking it up into pieces could generate more overall value. It’s also smart of BlackBerry to consider options in case Fairfax can’t raise the $4.7 billion it offered for the company.

In Brief

Flickr for iOS just got a little more useful for those that like simplicity: The app gained automatic uploads in a software update on Wednesday. With the new feature, full resolution photos are sent to a user’s Flickr account in the cloud, negating the need to manually upload images.

Like the comparable Google+ auto-upload functionality, Flickr will mark all of the uploaded images as private. That allows time for editing or choosing photos to share. Also included in this release is an auto-straighten feature to adjust picture alignment.

In Brief

It’s not official just yet, but Apple is reportedly holding its fall iPad launch event on October 22 according to AllThingsD. The outlet’s sources suggest that while new iPads will be the main course, there could be appetizers featuring OS X Mavericks and the new Mac Pro that Apple teased this summer.

What’s to be expected? If the rumors are true look for a new 9.7-inch iPad that looks more like the current iPad mini: A slimmer, lighter device, likely with some of the goodies found in the new iPhone 5s. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new iPad model with Apple’s 64-bit A7 chip and Touch ID sensor, for example.

On The Web

Once a touch-friendly version of Office for Windows appears — a project that’s in the works — look for Office to land on Apple’s iPad, Steve Ballmer said on Tuesday. That would take the place of the current iPhone-specific version and Office on the web. It’s a shame Microsoft didn’t push this project quicker; it likely left tens of millions of dollars on the table by not supporting Apple’s tablet sooner.

In Brief

The monthly Google Glass software update arrived on Monday, bringing two new functions to Google’s wearable computer. Transit information is now available in Glass, making it easier to find step-by-step directions for public transportation in the local area. Also in the update is the ability to tap links sent in tweets, texts, emails, and more, which will open the appropriate web page in Glass.

Google’s release notes for the XE 10 software update also mention a minor addition: When sending a message to a contact, you’ll now see their profile pic in the background. What’s not in XE 10 is the expected support for additional third-party apps through Google’s Glassware program. The company started up a review process for Glassware last week, so it appears that these apps won’t be available for at least another month.

In Brief

Personally, I’m not a big fan of buying tablets with contracts, but if you disagree, there’s good news: Starting October 11, Sprint is selling the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 for $49 with a two-year agreement. The 7-inch slate runs Android 4.2 and has an integrated LTE radio that works on Sprint’s network.

Samsung’s WatchON service and IR-blaster are useful here for finding and controlling television content and the tablet can be used as a wireless hotspot, providing LTE service over Wi-Fi for up to 10 additional devices. If you were going to get a hotspot on contract anyway, this might be worth a look since you get the same functionality plus a tablet.

In Brief

2013 Chromebooks

HP already has one of the largest Chromebooks on the market with its 14-inch model. There’s room for a smaller one though, and it looks like it will be an 11.6-inch model based on some HP documentation unearthed by Engadget. The “HP Chromebook 11″ appears on a recent list of Energy Star computers even though there is no model by that designation yet.

An official — but currently bare — HP support page for the Chromebook 11 also exists, as does a product description that’s missing a bunch of details. Based on the listed 6.5 hours of battery life, it looks like another Haswell-based Chromebook option with an 11.6-inch screen is in the works.

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