Path was quick to mend its ways after a dust-up over collecting contact information from iOS users without their consent, but it wasn’t quick enough to avoid FTC claims of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. All that is just water under the bridge in the wake of a new settlement. As compensation for collecting contact information from 3,000 children without their parents’ permission, Path has agreed to both pay a 0,000 fee and implement a privacy plan that will require audits from an outside party every other year Consider it a lesson learned for Path and other mobile app firms, which now know that scraping personal data may have unintended consequences.
Anyone who’s planning to catch up on Downton Abbey on their preferred service may want to plan a viewing marathon very soon: Amazon has struck a deal to become the exclusive home of the period drama on subscription-based streaming video platforms. Starting June 18th, only those Amazon Prime Instant Video members will have access to the third season and beyond on a commercial service without paying per show. The terms don’t stop there — seasons one and two will be pulled from other services later on in the year. While we’re sure Kindle Fire owners will be happy, the move won’t thrill those who want more of a choice as to how they keep up on their pseudo-historical intrigue.
Nothing super-shocking in this latest report from NPD — not after seeing fairly similar numbers from Strategy Analytics not all that long ago, that is. According to the research group, Apple’s leading the pack at 39-percent of US smartphone sales in the final quarter of last year — that number’s down from 41-percent this time last year. Bigger changes are afoot over at Samsung, however. The handset maker jumped from 21- to 30-percent from the same time last year, thanks in no small part to demand for the Galaxy S III. Go figure, NPD’s top five list is dominated entirely by iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S iterations — in fact, combined, the two manufacturers make up some 70-percent of sales. Motorola is in at a distant third, with seven-percent of sales, followed by HTC and LG, each at six-percent.
Guess who’s super excited about HTC’s upcoming flagship phone? Why, Peter Chou, of course! At the company’s year end party in Taipei earlier today, the CEO went on stage to thank the M7 team for working overtime last week in order to finalize the device this week, according to cnYES. Surprisingly, Chou then decided to openly play with the yet-to-be-released M7. “This event today is a great opportunity for testing (the camera). I was still testing it just now,” the exec is seen saying in NextTV’s clip (available at the source link), followed by him whipping out a silver edition and a black edition of the phone.
While the video clips available aren’t of decent enough quality for some detailed close-ups of the M7, we can just about make out a super slim body with two distinctive lines on the back — nothing quite like the leaks we’ve seen so far. Judging by the size, it does seem to match up with the rumored 4.7-inch screen size, but that’s all we have for now. HTC’s chairwoman Cher Wang added that she looks forward to launching the phone later this month, and naturally, so do we. After the break we have a clip of Chou enthusiastically shouting “M7″ a few times with his homies — it’s OK, feel free to join along.
You still can’t touch an OUYA. Not until March, at the earliest, and that’s only if you’re a Kickstarter backer. However, one lucky group of folks already has access: game developers. Those among us who shelled out 0 — as well as the 10 lucky studios who won that contest — got an early jump on a pre-rooted OUYA dev kit, while those of us who dropped (or more) are left in the lurch. Of course, those early units aren’t exactly the couch-friendly consoles we expect to arrive in a few months, but they are representative of the final hardware.
And let’s face it — the OUYA is important. A crowdfunded, extremely inexpensive, open-source game console? That’s not exactly the standard (heck, Sony’s PlayStation 3 debuted with a 0 baseline). The OUYA is essentially taking the low-cost / high-performance aspect of mobile gaming and moving it into a TV-friendly space, and that concept has even spawned some imitators (the likes of which we’ll assuredly see more).
But what do we know about actually using the OUYA? Beyond basic specs and a sporadic showering of images, we’ve never actually touched the thing. With that in mind, we asked a trio of developers who’ve spent the last month with their dev kits how they feel about the console thus far, and we’ve compiled their thoughts below. One month out, how does the OUYA dev kit stack up for developers? Let’s find out!
Ready to check out some more point-and-shoots? That’s great news! We’ve got a few more to share. The first two, the Coolpix S9500 and S9400, are nearly identical, save for a few key features. Appearance-wise, it’s difficult to distinguish between the two, especially when they’re powered off. Once you flip them on, however, you’ll probably notice the S9500’s whopping 22x zoom lens, compared to an 18x optic on the S9400. Both include 18.1-megapixel CMOS sensors and very crisp 3-inch OLED displays, while the higher-end S9500 (0), which is likely to be the only US-bound model, adds built-in WiFi and GPS. Not to be overlooked, the S5200 includes a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor, a 3-inch VGA LCD, 6x optical zoom lens and WiFi for 0.
We caught up with all three compacts at Nikon’s CP+ booth this week, and we were quite impressed with the S9500 in particular. Despite the 22x zoom lens, the camera was very thin and light — it should be able to tuck into a pocket just fine. It included a premium finish, just like its slightly less capable sibling, the S9400, and performed very well during our hands-on. Both of these shooters have sharp OLED displays, which really looked fantastic, along with dedicated mode dials, though we were disappointed to see that Nikon omitted manual shooting options, in favor of some scene presets. The S5200, which was on display in red and blue, had a similar feel and finish, though it was quite a bit more compact, and lacked the OLED screen and mode dial. All of these models are set to ship later this month, but if you’re eager to learn more, you can check ‘em out in our hands-on after the break.
Just as it had promised, Netflix today released its original series House of Cards to its many, many subscribers. There’s more good news, however, as the the streaming giant’s giving those without the necessary account credentials a chance to see what the show is all about, giving non-paid users access to the very first episode at no cost. Meanwhile, those who shell out the monthly fee will be able to catch all 13 episodes of House of Cards in one go, with Netflix obviously taking a different approach than what we’re accustomed to seeing in new series from the likes of HBO or Showtime. Naturally, should folks like what they see from Kevin Spacey, Kate Mara and the rest of the cast, they’ll have to sign up for the service in order to keep up with the story — which, we’d say, is exactly what Netflix wishes for. Have some time to spare? Then hit that source link below to watch the House of Cards premiere (that’s assuming you haven’t done so already, of course).
We had plenty of nice things to say about the HP Envy Spectre XT when we reviewed it last year, but we were already looking ahead to the HP Envy Spectre XT TouchSmart, which steps up to a 1080p touchscreen. Well, here it is, and with 10-point touch and the same all-metal design as its predecessor, this 15-incher looks mighty promising. But is it worth ,350 — or more, if you want an SSD? Head past the break to find out.
Gallery: HP Envy Spectre XT TouchSmart review
Gallery: HP Envy Spectre XT TouchSmart review
Today is the last chance to give your favorite gear of 2012 some love by nominating products for our annual Engadget Awards. We have 15 categories, from best smartphone to worst gadget of the year, and the finalists are entirely up to you, dear readers. Head to our original nomination post to write in your picks — and make sure to do so before 11PM ET tonight (February 1st), because starting next week the voting begins!
Filed under: Announcements
On March 19th 2012, YouTube user jarnosmeets80 uploaded the a video to YouTube entitled “Flying like a bird | part 14/14.” In it, a man donning a set of homemade wings and a helmet with a GoPro attached achieves what many wishful-thinkers, scientists and millennia of wingless bipeds have long dreamed of doing: flying. Sadly, one month later the video’s creator, filmmaker Floris Kaayk, admitted the whole thing was an elaborate hoax. Skeptics will have been quick to dismiss the video straight away, and anything more than a cursory Google search might have convinced most of the same. But, with more than 7 million views at time of this writing, it’s pretty clear that as a land-based species, it doesn’t take much for us to suspend our disbelief at the idea of being able to fly. Even if it is just for one minute and 50 seconds. Head past the break to read more.
Sure, we may have internet in the skies and refrigerators with Evernote integration, but here’s one thing that science can’t do: deliver a trouble-free heated jacket. A few years after Ardica hung up the dream due to a battery recall, Columbia is doing likewise. The sportswear company has issued a recall for seven Omni-Heat electric jacket models, citing a manufacturing defect in the heated inner wrist cuff. There have been two non-injury incidents reported (Canada, UK), but no injuries. According to the company’s own statement on the matter, a “small number of the 2012 Columbia heated jackets may contain a heated inner wrist cuff component with a manufacturing flaw that may cause an electrical short to occur, giving rise to a potential burn risk.” This is all in addition to a separate recall in early January specific to a small number of batteries, (part number 054978-001) that — according to Columbia — “may have been included with a small number of electric jackets may overheat and result in a fire hazard.”
If you’ll recall, the Circuit Breaker was actually one of our favorite gadgets of 2011, but curiously, we never could pinpoint when and where these were set to go on sale. We were independently contacted by a company that claimed Columbia was using its technology in breach of contract, but never could verify if that was the reason sales seemed to be on hiatus. [Update: Columbia affirmed to us that said claims are “unfounded” and “had no impact the delivery of its Fall 2011 Omni-Heat Electric products.”] Evidently, a few hundred of these finally made their way into the warm embrace of consumers, but considering that “Refund” looks to be the only remedy here, we sort of doubt a second generation will emerge. It’s important to note, however, that Columbia’s non-electric Omni-Heat offerings aren’t included in the recall — and, for the record, that stuff does a stellar job of keeping one warm without any whiz-bang circuitry. Hit up the links below if you’re thinking of sending yours back.
Filed under: Wearables
Well, happy Friday to you too, Microsoft. It appears that the company is wrapping up the week with an outage: Outlook.com appears to be down, and many users are reporting that the Office 365 subscription service is unavailable as well. From our vantage point, Outlook.com is indeed unable to load, although using the address “hotmail.com” seems to side-step the problem. As for Office 365, we’re having no issues with our service. We’ll reach out to Microsoft and let you know if or when the company comments. In the meantime, how’s service looking for you guys? Let us know in the comments.
Update: Microsoft confirmed the outage on its Office 365 Twitter account, saying the issue resulted from routine maintenance (a rep told us it was the result of a “networking adjustment,” specifically). Microsoft says service has since been restored.
Source: Microsoft (Twitter)