Android

Alleged Rob Ford crack video prompts video game

Stay_mayor_rob_fordToronto’s embattled mayor appears to have been the inspiration behind a new video game.

The game, Stay Mayor, doesn’t specifically say it’s about Rob Ford, but just check out the plot line and decide for yourself.

Users play the role of a mayor who must avoid the “Blood Thirsty Media” to buy an alleged video of him smoking crack. Only the Toronto Star and Gawker are reporting that they have seen such a video.

Note: We haven’t seen the video – and we can verify if it’s even authentic.

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Sub- $100 Android tablets could be coming this year

6a00e54f916452883401901d5beb5e970b-320wiWhile Asus just announced a small Android tablet that will sell for a little over $100, there are reports that we could see tablets sell for under the triple-digit point later this year.

Unveiled last week, the new Asus MeMo Pad HD 7 – obviously with a 7-inch screen – will sell for $129 in the U.S.

The specs aren’t record-setting, but they’re actually quite respectable.

The base version will have 8 GB of on-board storage space, a quad-core processor only a front-facing camera for video calling.

Expandable memory via a microSD slot, along with no rear-facing camera, means Asus can keep this thing cheap – yet the fast processor makes it cheerfully fast.

Besides – who uses their tablet to take photos? And cloud storage is the way to go, these days.

So this raises the question – what will it take before tablets sell for less than a hundred?

DigiTimes is reporting that 7-inch tablets may sell for less than $100 in the third quarter of this year.

Citing forecasts from manufacturers, they seem to think the smaller tablet market will grow as the price sinks.

Do you think we’ll see sub-$100 7-inch Android tablets? Could you live without a rear-facing camera?

Will users ‘Like’ Facebook’s new Home?

facebook_homeFacebook announced a new, major product called Home this week – and a partnership with HTC to sell phones with deep Facebook integration.

Those who spend every moment on their phone stalking friends on Facebook and Instagram will have reason to rejoice. But if your life doesn’t revolve around Poking and Liking, you might feel like you’re stuck in a fish tank.

The new Home ‘app’ essentially replaces the Android home screen with Facebook, bringing photo-centric status updates to your home screen.

You can also write status updates, upload photos and share links from Home.

When it comes to apps, Facebook has hidden them behind another menu. It’s all part of a move to get people spending more time in Facebook, or as the company says, more time connecting with people rather than apps.

On the topic of connecting with people, Facebook Home will also include a feature called Chat Heads. This is a way of receiving text message and Facebook message notifications from your friends, with little profile icons popping up in the top-right corner of your screen, no matter which app you’re in.

In all honesty, Home looks like it’ll be a great home for social media addicts who thrive off photos of their friends’ meals and duck faces.

But for anyone who uses their phone to get stuff done, burying apps beyond the Home interface is going to create a layer of disconnect with the apps that have made smartphones so successful.

It’s almost as if Facebook is giving everyone the chance to drink nothing but black coffee, unless they push through the crowd and ask for milk and sugar.

For some, there’s nothing wrong with that. But not everyone takes their coffee the same way.

What do you think of Facebook home?

Three reasons the HTC One is the best Android phone now

HTC One

HTC One

HTC is struggling in the smartphone market, a problem that shows as the company reporteda 98 per cent dip in profit during the first quarter.

It’s a shame, really, because the company’s plunging profits shouldn’t be grabbing headlines. That’s the way it seems after spending some time with their new flagship handset, the HTC One.

It’s an awesome phone that – coupled with the right marketing – can help turn around HTC’s fortunes and put a smile on your face.

Maybe it’s the supermodel-gorgeous design or the impressive camera, but the One is the best phone on the market right now. Here’s why.

Design

The back of the phone is cusped in machined aluminum, a piece that comprises the unibody construction of this phone.

It’s so sturdy that you might consider ditching the hammer in your toolbox with this phone. Need to hammer in a nail for a picture frame? The HTC One is probably sturdy enough to get the job done.

That being said, it’s too beautiful to actually use for that purpose. So don’t.

And because it’s so sturdy, you might not even want to wrap this phone in a case. Doing so would be like wrapping Mila Kunis in a parka for a dinner date.

While the HTC One is on the heavier side and the power button is a bit of a stretch across the 4.7-inch screen, some prefer their technology to feel like it’s worth something.

Camera

It seems HTC didn’t get the memo when it comes to building phones with a gazillion megapixels.

Inside the HTC One is what they’re calling an ‘UltraPixel’ image sensor. It’s more than twice the size of the 13-megapixel image sensors winding up in today’s phones, but it’s 300 per cent more sensitive to light.

The result is photos that capture shadows and highlights with colour reproduction as balanced as a Nik Wallenda on a high wire.

Images aren’t quite as razor sharp as what you’d see from the iPhone 5 in low light situations, but the One does a better job in dark places.

HTC Zoe is also a new feature that lets you capture 30-second videos that can be turned into photos, letting you select the right moment to produce a still picture.

Sound

Bookending the Gorilla Glass are two forward-facing speakers. Whether you’re cranking up a song, or watching YouTube video, these speakers help the HTC One pump out pounding audio in…stereo.

Yes, this phone does feature Beats Audio (which also improves the sound of anything travelling through the headphone jack). I was skeptical of this super-marketed audio feature at first, but it’s really grown on me.

So there you have it – three reasons why the HTC One stands out. There’s more to talk about, such as the quad-core processor and the high-resolution screen. But the three features outlined above are the ones to watch out for.

Kaspersky Mobile Security app now free

Kaspersky_internt_securityAnyone with an Android phone will want to be sure that they’re running security software to keep their device safe from malware.

When it comes to security, Google’s mobile operating system is as solid as Swiss cheese.

Security software is also a good bet to help you and the police find and recover your phone, should it get lost or stolen.

Kaspersky Lab has long had a solid security solution for Android phones and devices, but it was a paid app.

Finally, the company has decided to make Kaspersky Mobile Security and Kaspersky Tablet Security free.

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Malicious Android app can copy photos, listen to conversations

This Android app claims to speed up your phone and remove any apps slowing it down - not so!

This Android app claims to speed up your phone and remove any apps slowing it down – not so!

Security experts are warning of a new Android app that claims to clean and protect your phone, but will actually share your phone’s photos and record your conversations.

The app, going by the names of DroidCleaner and SuperClean in the Google Play store, have raised red flags over at Kaspersky Lab.

In the app store, the app even has a fairly high rating of 4.5/5, along with several five-star ratings. For those users out there running older or slower (cheap) Android phones, this malicious app could seem like an easy way to speed things up.

In fact, Kaspersky Lab said in a release that this piece of malware has the most “extensive feature set” they’ve ever found.

They say that this isn’t the usual flavour of malicious Android apps, which are known for sending texts to your contacts and hijacking your mobile web browser.

These two apps get a little deeper into your digital life because they don’t just infect your phone, but your computer too.

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What makes Apple’s 40 billion app downloads special?

Apple tossed out a big number yesterday, boasting about how many apps it has sold. But is that number really significant? No, not really. There was another number that was even more meaningful – the number of apps downloaded just last year.

But just to review the basics:

Apple says they’ve had more than 40 billion app downloads from the App Store.

The thing is, however, is that half of all those downloads – 20 billion – were in 2012 alone.

The App Store has been around for a few years already, so for Apple to say they’ve had half of all those downloads in the past 12 months alone is like saying Justin Bieber got half of all his fans in the last year. He’s not quite an overnight success.

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Enjoy YouTube on the big screen, easily from your small screen phone

If you like watching YouTube videos on a TV or large computer screen, but don’t want to always get up near the computer to change the clip – use the YouTube Remote app.

The app lets you use your Android smartphone or tablet as a clever remote to control the YouTube content on a computer or Google TV player that’s farther away than you are. You’re on your couch, right?

Start by pairing the mobile device with the computer on which you want to play the video on. Then, start searching for content using the remote control app.

You can not only search for clips, but find recommended content and related playlists as you go.

The app also offers a bit of a second-screen experience, so you can look up a video topic’s Wikipedia page or a show’s IMDB profile as you watch.

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