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In Brief

Got a new or replacement Surface Pro 2 from Microsoft to kick off the new year? Check the chip inside and you may find a holiday treat in the form of a slightly faster Intel Core i5 processor. In a statement to The Verge, Microsoft confirmed what at least one Microsoft Surface community forum member noticed in his replacement device: A 1.9 GHz Core i5 4300 chip in place of the 1.6 GHz Core i5 4200. On Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 product page, the exact chip is never specified; instead, the company says its tablet comes with a “4th generation Intel Core i5 Processor.”

In Brief

Moto X front top

In a move that should spur sales, Motorola started 2014 by dropping the cost of its Moto X handset to $399 without a contract. The deal was announced on Wednesday morning and applies to all carriers as well as Moto Maker custom phones. While some thought the Android phone was overpriced at launch for the hardware that it offered, I think the experience and features make up for any lacking components. Regardless, the issue of cost is less of one now that the new year has started with a price reduction for the Moto X.

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In Brief

BlackBerry’s troubles are generally well-known by now, yet that doesn’t stop some for clinging on to their precious ‘Berry. You can literally see that on a CrackBerry forum where people post sightings of people — typically, famous but not always — with their beloved BlackBerry handset. The New York Times notes that these folks are a “dying, but not dead, breed” of smartphone user and suggests that for some, BlackBerry still retains some status as used by those who favor work as compared to users of iPhones and Android devices.

In Brief

allcast menu

Previously available in a beta, AllCast is now in the Google Play store. The app wirelessly shares photos and videos from an Android smartphone or tablet to a number of devices including Apple TV, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Google TV, Roku, certain Smart TVs and other DLNA-compatible devices. Google’s Chromecast isn’t currently supported because the Chromecast SDK still in flux. The software requires Android 4.0 or better and while there is a free version, a $4.99 premium edition removes ads, splash screens and limits on video lengths.

On The Web

Most mobile devices are actually disruptive when you think about it. How many times have you seen people reach for and read information on their phone when in a conversation, for example? How long does that take? Google Glass and other wearable devices actually “remove” tech from the situation, argues Wired in this insightful piece and I’m inclined to agree: Wearing Glass can be far less disruptive than using a smartphone around others.

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