This week, BlackBerry's CEO Jon Chen, announced that his company had purchased a minority stake in a privately held healthcare IT firm called NantHealth. Chen said that he sees healthcare as one of the business sectors that BlackBerry can do very well in due to its enterprise security concerns.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but we do know that the investment was small enough to be considered a minority investment, and BlackBerry is not as wealthy as it once was. I do see this entry into such a niche market as a good move for BlackBerry, and if the company continues to make smart investments it could pull itself out of the big hole it currently resides in.
Amazon has just rolled out an update to its Cloud Drive service for iOS, and the app has been given a completely new look. In addition, the redesigned user interface is said to improve navigation of the service and make sharing images even easier. Amazon Cloud Drive Photos version 3.0 now includes 5GB of free storage space, and also allows videos up to 20-minutes in length to be uploaded.
The new look ushers in a much more refined look for the app, and now users can set a filter to only see photos or videos, which makes navigating through the thousands of files you upload much easier and faster than before. Additionally, users can sort images by name and date as well, making fining that image you took five months ago quick and easy. Finally, Amazon has improved the back-end and now your images and videos will upload faster than ever before.
Samsung followed in Apple's footsteps with the addition of a fingerprint sensor on the front of the Galaxy S5, but it now appears that Apple's implementation of bio-metric security may actually be safer than Samsung's version. A new video has surfaced that shows just how easy it is to spoof the Galaxy S5's sensor with nothing but a casting made from common wood glue.
The video was created by SRLabs, and shows the company using a false finger with the correct fingerprint unlocking the phone. While SRLabs was able to do the same with the iPhone 5S, Apple's Touch ID also utilized a password prompt that prevented further entry. Furthermore, SRLabs was able to use the fake finger to complete transactions on the PayPal app with its new fingerprint authentication feature. This is actually quite scary when you consider that lifting a fingerprint is actually quite easy.
With the first quarter of 2013 in the books, and three of the major trade shows behind us, we are beginning to hear more solid rumors about the next round of upcoming smartphones. Today a new report from The Verge is suggesting that LG will be releasing its new flagship smartphone, the LG G3 in just a few months and it will feature several intriguing upgrades from the current flagship, the G2.
The new LG G3 is said to arrive in gold trim, a trend set by Apple, Samsung, and HTC this year. LG is said to be continuing with the gilded color scheme as it did quite well on the G2, and on competing models. Additionally, the LG G3 will feature a full 1440p resolution screen, making it one of the first mainstream phones to break the 1080p barrier. The 2560x1440-pixel screen will measure in at 5.5-inches diagonally, and will house Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon SoC.
Amazon's unique "send to Kindle" feature has to be one of the most convenient and useful parts of Amazon's ecosystem, and now that handy little feature just got even better. Now when users click "send to Kindle," the document, e-book, and text from websites will also be automatically backed up on that users' Cloud Drive.
"You can use Manage Your Kindle to see a list of your documents, re-deliver them to Kindle devices and free reading apps, delete them, or turn off auto-saving of documents to the cloud," Amazon said in an email to customers. "Documents will be delivered just as they have in the past and you will continue to have 5 GB of free cloud storage for your personal documents. Just Send Once, Read Everywhere."
Smartphone kill switches will be added to new devices by manufacturers and wireless carriers, but law enforcement officials are concerned the "baseline anti-theft tool" doesn't go far enough to prevent smartphone theft.
As part of the voluntary agreement, the CTIA-The Wireless Association says the functionality will be added starting after July 2015 - and can ship pre-loaded on smartphones, or as a follow-up download.
"We strongly urge CTIA and its members to make their anti-theft features enabled by default on all devices, rather than relying on consumers to opt-in," according to San Francisco district attorney George Gascon, a supporter of mandatory kill-switches, in a statement. "The industry also has a responsibility to protect its consumers now and not wait until next year."
Today Google announced the launch of a new app for Android called Google Camera, confirming recent rumors that the company was working on developing a new camera app with some unique features. The new standalone app branches away from the current Android 4.4 camera app, and features a more refined UI and is overall, easier to use. The camera app brings several new features to Android devices as well including Spherical images, software-based lens blur, and even a more intuitive panorama mode.
"Achieving this optical effect has traditionally required a big lens and aperture, and therefore hasn't been possible using the camera on your mobile phone or tablet. That all changes with Lens Blur, a new mode in the Google Camera app," Google said in a blog post. "Lens Blur replaces the need for a large optical system with computer vision algorithms and optimization techniques that are run entirely on the mobile device, simulating a larger lens and aperture in order to creating a 3D model of the world."
Fujifilm rolled out new digital cameras months ago called the X100 and the X100S. These cameras are retro looking units that promise high quality photos and more. People using that camera can now get a new conversion lens that will expand the range of shooting options. The new lens is called the TCL-X100.
The lens converts the camera to a focal length of 33mm fixed, which is equivalent to 50mm for a 35mm platform. The lens has a F2.0 aperture setting and retains the original optical characteristics of the camera. The lens uses four premium glass groups.
Mercedes has unveiled a new sports car that looks really cool on the inside and out. The car is called the Mercedes-AMG GT and the automaker says that it is a "sports car in its purest form." This is the second sports car developed independently by Mercedes-AMG.
The look at the car Mercedes is offering is a sneak peak, so many of the specifications of the car are not announced. We don't know how much power it will have. Mercedes is known for making very powerful cars, so this one will be no slouch no matter what is under the hood.
We have talked about BitTorrent Sync in the past. This is a feature that launched to the public last year and allows users to save and access data on a storage device in the home over the web. BitTorrent Sync has now gained support for NAS devices.
The first NAS maker that is offering a BitTorrent Sync app for their storage devices is Netgear. The company has an app available right now for several of its home, business, and enterprise NAS units. BitTorrent says that Sync support will make it easy for users to create a simple path between their NAS and desktop or mobile devices.