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What the Cellphone Unlocking Law Means for You

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 21:57

A bill that will make it legal to unlock your cellphone is headed for U.S. President Barack Obama's desk. This is great news, but what does it mean for you? Will it actually impact how you can use your devices?

The ability to "unlock" your cellphone or tablet — that is, provision the phone to run on a different carrier network — gained visibility in early 2013, after a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemption that made the practice legal in the U.Sexpired.

See also: How to Remove Scratches From Your Phone

That means that under U.S. law, it is now illegal to unlock a cellphone without a carrier's permission. Consumers, advocacy groups and even the White House came out in favor of legalizing phone unlocking. The wireless industry, which was initially against reinstating the copyright exemption, even had a change of heart, of sorts. Read more...

More about Dmca, Tech, Gadgets, Mobile, and Us
Categories: Mobile Tech News

This App Lets You Ask a Doctor Any Question in Real-Time via Smartphone

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 19:55

Health apps and the wearable trackers that connect to them are giving us more data about our personal health than ever before, but medical experts remain the best resource when it comes to even the most minor diagnosis

First Opinion is hoping to bridge that gap between "quantified self" apps and a full-on doctor visit by providing an app that puts you in direct contact with real doctors around the world, who are capable of rendering real-time medical advice

See also: WebMD App Now Tracks All of Your Health Data in One Spot

The 24-hour service allows the user to communicate with a doctor an unlimited number of times to help answer a myriad of general medical questions via text messages within the app Read more...

More about Health, Apps, Doctors, Medical, and Tech
Categories: Mobile Tech News

Tech-Powered Weed-Delivery Service Eaze Comes to San Francisco

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 17:41

As the U.S. gradually softens its stance on the legality of marijuana — the most recent example being The New York Times' call for legalization — entrepreneurs are starting to take advantage of resulting opportunities

San Francisco-based Eaze, for instance, is offering a tech-powered delivery service it describes as a kind of Uber for medical-marijuana users

See also: TV Ads Launch for Medical Marijuana

"Part of the inspiration for the company was to get patients their medicine more easily and professionally," Eaze CEO Keith McCarty, an early member of the team at the now Microsoft-owned Yammer, told Mashable. Read more...

More about Apps, San Francisco San Jose, Delivery, Marijuana, and Startups
Categories: Mobile Tech News

Walk This Way: Smart Shoes Lead the Way for the Blind

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 10:30

The days of burying one's nose in a phone trying to decipher directions could be over.

Indian wearable tech startup Ducere Tech has created smart shoes called Lechal that can give the wearer directions without needing to look at a smartphone. Lechal translates as "take me there" in Hindi.

See also: 7 Incognito Wearables You'd Never Guess Were Gadgets

The user enters her destination into the Lechal app using Google Maps. From this point on, the company claims, she no longer needs to look at her phone. The app connects via Bluetooth to a module that slides into the back of the shoe. The right or left shoe then buzzes depending on which direction the user should turn Read more...

More about App, Shoes, Bluetooth, Startups, and Tech
Categories: Mobile Tech News

Halfway to Iron Man: Hands On With the Myo Motion Control Armband

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 09:30

Myo from Thalmic Labs is one of those smart and deceptively simple-looking inventions that has the potential to change the way we work and live

It’s as easy to put on as a traditional armband, but is packed full of technology that lets it track both your hand movements and arm motions, then lets you use those gestures to control virtually anything on your desktop, laptop or smartphone. It's a lot like Iron Man Tony Stark's gesture-controlled holo-computer, but without the super-cool imagery.

See also: How to Make Free Ringtones in iTunes

Myo sounded exciting and when Thalmic Labs unveiled its first demonstration video last year. It garnered a lot of buzz, especially around the idea that it might give you Jedi-like control over computers. Read more...

More about Hands On, Tech, Dev Design, Gadgets, and Mobile
Categories: Mobile Tech News

7 Lightweight Versions of Your Favorite Apps

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 05:04

Apps help you stay connected and can improve your daily efficiency — that is, as long as they don't drain your phone's battery first.

As apps become more sophisticated, they tend to become battery hogs, tooSocial media, email and other applications eat up power and memory much faster than we'd like. But there are plenty of free "lite" versions you can use as alternatives to your favorites. They may not have all the bells and whistles you're used to, but they will help extend your battery life

See also: 10 Best iPhone Chargers

We've compiled a list of seven simpler versions of our favorite apps so you don't have to worry about your battery or memory. Check them out below Read more...

More about Apps, Android, Features, Lite, and Ios
Categories: Mobile Tech News

Good Luck Finding a Lyft Car in New York City

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 13:46

Lyft officially launched in New York City on Friday, but the ride-sharing service is off to a bumpy start

After negotiations with city regulators, Lyft was allowed to launch this weekend, provided that its vehicles were licensed with the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC).

See also: 5 Premium Apps for Car Enthusiasts

The TLC requirements include providing fingerprints for a governmental criminal background check and completing a state-certified defensive driving course. Lyft had 500 peer-to-peer drivers prepared to hit the road for its initial launch, but it is unclear how many of these meet the new conditions. Lyft representative Katie Dally said she did not know how many Lyft cars were actually on the streets of New York City this weekend. Read more...

More about Mobile, Startups, New York City, Tlc, and Uber
Categories: Mobile Tech News

Facebook's Bolt Faces Challenges Over Its Name Before It's Even Launched

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 13:31

Bolt — the rumored photo messaging app Facebook accidentally leaked — has't even been released, yet it's already facing potential legal threats over its name.

Last week, some Instagram users reported seeing in-app ads for a photo messaging app dubbed "Bolt." Rumor has it that Bolt will be Instagram's version of Snapchat and the app could drop as early as this week.

See also: 11 Creepiest Things You Can Do on Instagram

Bolt would join Instagram Messenger, Slingshot and WhatsApp as a Facebook-owned photo messaging solution. But beyond standing out in a crowded space (in the same company no less), Bolt's biggest problems might come down to its name. Read more...

More about Facebook, Bolt, Instagram, Startups, and Tech
Categories: Mobile Tech News

Fitbit Steps Into Windows Phone

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 13:20

If you've been holding back on buying a Windows Phone because you weren't able to use your Fitbit with it, that excuse is officially gone. Fitbit is launching a version of its app for Windows Phone on Monday, letting users sync and share their fitness data via a native app.

Fitbit for Windows Phone pairs with a wearable activity tracker like the Fitbit Flex, keeping track of the wearer's activity. When you launch the app, you'll be able to see how many steps you've walked, the number of calories burned and — assuming you wear it to bed — sleep quality, too.

See also: 14 Hot Fitness Gadgets to Make You Sweat Read more...

More about Windows Phone, Tech, Apps Software, Mobile, and Fitbit
Categories: Mobile Tech News

Imminent Windows Phone Update Will Introduce Folder Support

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 12:16

Windows Phone, the land of dynamic live tiles of various sizes, will soon be a little more like iOS and Android: An update to the platform will introduce the ability to drag several live tiles into a single folder on the home screen.

For other platforms, the introduction of home screen folders was a housekeeping move (arriving with iOS 4 in 2010 and Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" in 2011), essentially crossing a clearly needed feature off a list. For Windows Phone, however, it's a departure. The mobile OS has eschewed folders since the beginning, mainly because its design language doesn't play nicely with them. For most, multiple live tile sizes provides enough flexibility with the home screen layout. Read more...

More about Microsoft, Windows Phone, Tech, Apps Software, and Mobile
Categories: Mobile Tech News

Cortana Defeats Siri in Windows Phone Ad

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 09:24

Siri is the world's most famous smartphone voice assistant, but she's hardly the only game in town. In fact, one of her rivals, Windows Phone's Cortana, thinks she can do a better job.

In the latest ad from Microsoft, Cortana shows off her big differentiators over Siri. First, the owner creates a "person reminder," a type of reminder that's tied to a specific person instead of a time or location. Next, she creates a reminder tied to a generic location — in this case, a flower shop — which will push an alert when the user gets close to a business that meets the description.

See also: 10 Better Alternatives to Your iPhone's Native Apps Read more...

More about Siri, Commercials, Windows Phone, Advertising, and Tech
Categories: Mobile Tech News

Apple's iBeacons Come to Lord & Taylor and Hudson's Bay Stores

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 09:17

Apple's iBeacon sensors will be available at Lord & Taylor stores in the United States and select Hudson's Bay stores in Canada starting Monday, offering customers a more unique in-store shopping experience using mobile devices.

iBeacon has rolled out across other retail chains in the past, but this is one of the first instances of such a concentrated effort for a department store chain.

See also: Will Apple's iBeacon Change the Way We Shop?

Increasingly, iBeacon is becoming a trend in retail shopping. Taking advantage of Bluetooth Smart (a.k.a. Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy) tech, iBeacons can send notifications, alerts and coupons to users who have a compatible app installed on their phone Read more...

More about Shopping, Apple, Marketing, Tech, and Gadgets
Categories: Mobile Tech News

The App Apocalypse Is Upon Us

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 09:14

A new report shows that nearly 80% of the apps in Apple's App Store are barely being used

The industry coined term for them is, appropriately, "zombie apps." (And who says big-wig analytic folks can't be clever?)

See also: 10 Apps That Will Help You Sleep Better

In the newest episode of Mashable Minute, Elliott tries to figure why so many apps are living such unloved lives. What's your best guess?

Last week, we told you about Earth's most popular mineral finally getting a name. Check it out:

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. Read more...

More about Mobile, Apps, Videos, Apple, and Tech
Categories: Mobile Tech News

TouchPico Projector Turns Any Wall Into a Touchscreen

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 08:16

Handheld projectors are nothing new, but TouchPico from TouchJet offers a new twist that could be useful: the ability to turn any flat surface into an interactive screen.

The small, white hand-sized device runs any Android app and projects up to an 854 x 480 pixel, 80-inch image on any wall. At 150 lumens, it lights up any room, and ships with a special stylus.

See also: Hands On With Rotimatic: the World’s First Robot Roti Maker

One end of the pen-like stylus, which is not attached to the projector, has an infrared switcher. The projector includes an infrared camera, which means it can track the movement of the pen in front of TouchPico’s screen. This allows you to interact with any on-screen objects with taps and gestures. Read more...

More about Touchscreen, Projectors, Tech, Apps Software, and Gadgets
Categories: Mobile Tech News

10 Rising Social Networks You Should Explore

Mon, 07/28/2014 - 05:04

Had enough of Facebook and Twitter? It may be time to switch up your go-to social network

With the daily explosion of startups, there are plenty of new social media tools popping up. These newer platforms could be working on the next big thing, so you'll want to keep an eye out.

See also: 10 Must-Follow Breaking News Accounts on Twitter

Here's a look at 10 up-and-coming social networks you should know.

Editor's note: Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore's personal investment in Shots and Secrets in no way influences the decisions of editorial coverage or analysis.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. Read more...

More about Social Network, Social Media, Startups, Features, and Business
Categories: Mobile Tech News

Lyft Celebrates NYC Launch by Giving Away Thousands in Free Rides

Sat, 07/26/2014 - 18:12

As Lyft officially hit the streets of New York on Friday, after weeks of negotiations with officials, users of the app received texts and emails advertising the company's first major promotional stunt: Free rides

The ride-sharing startup began a "beta launch" in all five NYC boroughs starting at 7 p.m. ET on Friday

See also: Uber Now Legal in London, Still Faces Speed Bumps in U.S.

The company was previously forced to postpone its launch after the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) filed a restraining order to keep it from operating in the city. Officials ultimately gave the company permission to operate in New York, providing drivers comply with TLC regulations, including a yearly drug test and vehicle inspection Read more...

More about Startup, New York City, Tlc, Uber, and Startups
Categories: Mobile Tech News

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 Feels the Squeeze From Smartphone Cameras

Sat, 07/26/2014 - 14:53

The Samsung Galaxy Camera was a game changer two years ago. It was the first camera to properly fuse a point-and-shoot camera with Android and cellular connectivity. It was supposed to be the template for the future, bringing the power of the Internet and apps to cameras. Samsung was on to something big.

The Galaxy Camera 2 is the second-generation of that Android fusion, only it's not quite as bold, or as ambitious this time around. Unlike the rapid update cycle that is typical for smartphones and tablets, Samsung took its time revamping the hardware for the Galaxy Camera 2. And, to be honest, it feels like it didn't try hard enough. Read more...

More about Reviews, Samsung, Cameras, Tech, and Apps Software
Categories: Mobile Tech News

Nokia Lumia 930: One Solid Windows Phone, Literally and Figuratively

Sat, 07/26/2014 - 08:12

Say what you will about Nokia’s single-minded focus on Windows Phone, but the all-in approach brings with it at least one major plus: for the foreseeable future, the Finnish handset maker’s flagship devices are a shoe-in for the title of “best Windows Phone handset.” And, spoiler alert: that title certainly applies here.

The Nokia Lumia 930 is fast, bright and an overall lovely piece of hardware built around a steadily improving operating system. It’s powerful, sharp, has the company’s customary camera focus and — in spite of a chunky footprint — is an all around eye-catcher.

See also: 6 Creative Hacks for Your Smartphone Read more...

More about Reviews, Nokia, Windows Phone, Tech, and Mobile
Categories: Mobile Tech News

How I Crowdsource My Grocery Shopping With Instacart

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 15:15

Grocery shopping in a city is hard. Lugging your goods in bags (which often break and insinuate a clumsy, mid-street re-stuffing of items) and enduring the incredibly long lines at popular stores will make you consider the unthinkable: buying a car.

To avoid that Doomsday scenario (and the New York City parking tickets that inevitably follow), I've tried everything — from FreshDirect to HelloFresh, a startup which sends you ingredients for easy-to-assemble meals — to make shopping for groceries more tolerable. The only time I enjoy in-store shopping is late at night to avoid the crowds, and between after-work events and coming home starving, who has time for that? Read more...

More about Startups, Tech, Apps Software, Mobile, and Instacart
Categories: Mobile Tech News

What's the Best Way to Use Apache Cordova?

Fri, 07/25/2014 - 12:05

In our latest Ask a Dev video, web developer Alex Wasner discusses using Apache Cordova to create cross-platform applications via web technologies.

Apache Cordova puts your HTML, CSS and JavaScript into a native web view and uses plug-ins to give you access to native features like the camera and GPS.

See also: 5 Phone Charging Myths, Debunked

Consider that you'll be limited to the power of the rendering engine on the platform you're targeting. Plus, with community-driven plugins, you'll be relying on their code to be up to date. Most importantly, you'll still need to dedicate the time to optimize everything and make it look and feel like a native app. Read more...

More about Videos, Html, Javascript, Tech, and Apps Software
Categories: Mobile Tech News