Stories for Nov. 28, 2013
Stories for Nov. 27, 2013

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On The Web

We’re all familiar with the smart watches and smart glasses that make up the frontier of wearable tech, but what about a smart wig? Bloomberg says Sony has filed a patent for a “SmartWig,” which could do anything from play music to check the blood pressure of the wearer. The wig could also have a built-in camera, laser, or even a GPS sensor. There are even prototypes in the works, suggesting that Sony is interested in taking this kooky concept to reality.

In Brief

Even with more powerful phones out on the market, I still consider the Moto X to be among the best Android phones you can buy today. But you don’t want to buy one today; if you can wait until Monday, you’ll save $150. Motorola is holding a special deal on all no-contract Moto X handsets and that includes custom Moto Maker versions and the unlocked Developer Editions. A 16 GB model will cost $349 while $399 will get you a 32 GB version. According to Motorola’s John Rinaldi, the sale starts at 8am on Monday and supply will be limited.

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On The Web

Japanese TV fans got one more option to get their movie fix this week: Amazon launched its Instant Video service in Japan Tuesday, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The offering has 26,000 movies and TV show episodes available for rent and purchase, but Amazon isn’t currently offering a Prime Instant-like subscription to Japanese customers. The launch coincided with the introduction of the Kindle Fire HDX in Japan.

In Brief

Recent reports indicate the best selling Windows Phone is Nokia’s Lumia 520. If true, it makes sense why Nokia is launching the Lumia 525 as a successor. The only change in this model appears to be a doubling of memory from 512 MB to 1 GB, allowing more apps to run simultaneously. The handset will also support interchangeable covers in different colors. To keep costs down, the handset uses an older but still capable 1GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 8 GB of internal storage an 800 x 480 resolution 4-inch touchscreen and support for 21 Mbps HSPA+ networks in lieu of LTE.

In Brief

Comcast’s Xfinity broadband network — 20.28 million subscribers — is on its way to becoming one of world’s largest IPv6 networks, thanks to a new software upgrade by ARRIS, a cable equipment maker. The Suwanee, Ga.-based company (that also includes Motorola’s Home Business) recently released a software upgrade that has enabled IPv6 support for more than 4 million ARRIS TG862 gateways —boxes that are used to connect to the Internet, offer phone service and act as a wireless access point—  currently deployed across the Comcast broadband network. Comcast has been planning to completely rollout IPv6 across its network by early 2014.

European Union

The European Commission has set out its plan for restoring “trust” in the way the U.S. treats Europeans’ data. However, while it calls for more respect for EU ciitizens’ rights, the plan mostly amounts to asking the Americans to stick to the rules they’ve agreed to, and to be clearer about when surveillance may take place. Read more »

Stories for Nov. 26, 2013
On The Web

This is an interesting (and pretty funny) post from MailChimp data scientist John Foreman about analyzing email addresses. For example, Gmail and Hotmail are similar in terms of number and age of users (although possibly for different reasons), as well as preferred browser. AOL and Comcast email users, on the other hand, are older and interested in way different things than Gmail users. Oh, and a surprising number of people still use the AOL browser.

In Brief

Acer continues to round out its Chromebook C720 lineup, announcing on Tuesday its new touchscreen model for $299. That’s a far lower price than the other touchscreen Chromebook currently available: Google’s Chromebook Pixel starts at $1,299. Of course, you don’t get the Pixel experience with the C720: It uses an 11.6 inch 1366 x 768 resolution screen, for example. Acer says the new C720 touchscreen model runs on the same Intel Celeron as the other C720 devices, meaning it should offer similar battery life of around 7.5 hours. The device, available in early December from Best Buy and Acer directly includes 32 GB of internal flash storage and 2 GB of memory.

On The Web

Five-year-old Spanish startup Optimitive has raised a $1.9 million Series A round from European venture capital fund GGM Venture Capital to boost sales of its artificial intelligence software. The company, which came out of the Surge Accelerator in Houston, can help refineries, manufacturers, power generators and industries that are heavy energy users, make their processes more efficient in real time.

In Brief

Google’s Chromecast streaming adapter may get all the attention these days, but Google TV is still around as well — and it just got a small boost from French telco SFR, which is now offering an Android-based TV set-top box to its DSL subscribers. The device offers users access to Google Play, YouTube and Chrome, and combines those apps with live broadcast TV. This is the second such operator partnership for Google, which has been selling Android-powered set-top boxes to LG U+ customers in South Korea for some time. And it’s one more example of Google slowly moving away from the Google TV moniker, something we first reported in October.

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