Tag Archives: Gadget News

Major CIA overhaul ramps up focus on cyber operations

The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency is displayed in

The CIA is working on a major reorganization, and it’s said to be one the largest in the agency’s 67-year history. A big piece of the overhaul is a larger focus on operations in cyberspace, leveraging the latest technology in its intelligence gathering workflow. CIA chief John Brennan is setting up a Directorate of Digital Innovation to lead the charge, keeping track of and implementing advances on the cyber front, including advanced communications tech. As Reuters reports, the National Security Agency is typically on the edge of innovation inside the US government, but the CIA hopes an internal shuffle with help it keep up with the “pace of change.” The new directorate will join the four other major departments that focus on Science and Technology, Support, Analysis and Operations.

[Image credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2015/03/06/cia-overhaul-cyber-operations/?ncid=rss_truncated

Oracle’s now dumping Java crapware bundles on your Mac, too

Since megayachts aren’t going to buy themselves, Larry Ellison’s Oracle has been picking up extra cash for years by slipping adware to Windows users via its ubiquitous Java software. If you felt smug because you were on a Mac, guess what! Installing Java on your OSX-equipped MacBook could now lead to an unexpected encounter with the dreaded “Ask.com” toolbar, too. Though not as dangerous as SuperFish, the program will hijack your browser’s search functions and delivery iffy, ad-laden results while being tricky for neophytes to remove. If you don’t pay attention during installation, you can easily end up with it, as you need to purposefully opt out to avoid it.

For Java 8 Update 40 on Mac, the update instructions now confirm that “Oracle has partnered with companies that offer various products,” including Ask.com (McAfee products have also been bundled on the PC). As ZDnet pointed out, the parent company of Ask.com — which also owns Tinder, OKCupid, the Daily Beast and others — paid out $883 million to partners like Oracle to distribute its toolbar and other wares. The software is hated enough that it spawned a Change.org petition that has so far garnered 20,000 or so signatures. Oracle’s introduction of the adware “bundle” to the Mac seems particularly bad timing considering how fresh the Lenovo adware installation fiasco is in everybody’s minds.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2015/03/06/java-adware-mac/?ncid=rss_truncated

The best smartphones from MWC

The 2015 edition of Mobile World Congress is coming to a close today and, as much as we’d like to stay longer in lovely Barcelona, it’s time to say goodbye. While this year’s event may have seemed a little underwhelming, we did see major announcements from HTC and Samsung — two companies battling it out for Android smartphone supremacy. But that wasn’t it: BlackBerry, Microsoft and Huawei also unveiled new handsets, though perhaps not as exciting as the One M9 or Galaxy S6 and S6 edge. Regardless, let’s take a look at the mobile devices that stood out at MWC.

Don’t miss out on all the latest news, photos and liveblogs from MWC 2015. Follow along at our events page.

The best smartphones from MWC 2015

a href=”http://www.engadget.com/products/samsung/galaxy/s6/”


Galaxy S6


Samsung Galaxy S6 thumbnail image

Samsung Galaxy S6

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    One (M9)


    HTC One (M9) thumbnail image

    HTC One (M9)

      Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2015/03/05/the-best-smartphones-from-mwc/?ncid=rss_truncated

      After Swype, HTC taps China’s TouchPal for new Android keyboard

      Tech-savvy users may have already come across TouchPal when trying different keyboards on Android and iOS 8 (and maybe even Windows 8), but it looks like a whole lot more people will be introduced to it soon. According to the Shanghai-based keyboard developer, HTC is replacing Nuance’s Swype with TouchPal as its new default input engine on upcoming Android devices — including the recently announced One M9 — around the world (unless requested otherwise by operators). While HTC wouldn’t officially comment on this, an internal source close to the matter verified TouchPal’s announcement, though it didn’t go into detail as to what prompted the move.

      Prior to this announcement, TouchPal, founded in 2008, was already powering HTC’s M8 series in China, as well as select devices from ZTE, Alcatel OneTouch, Gionee, Sony (both the Xperia Z3 and NEX smart cameras), Smartisan, Huawei, Xiaomi (for Hong Kong and Taiwan), Meizu and many more; thus taking up 18 percent of the Android smartphone market share as of mid-2014. Even the onboard entertainment system on Mercedes-Benz’s S Class and E Class cars use TouchPal’s keyboard engine.

      While the awardwinning TouchPal may not have had as much media coverage as the likes of Swype and SwiftKey, its latest keyboard app has 42 million daily active users (as of January 24th this year). Interestingly, about 31 percent of this lot come from North America, 22 percent from Europe and 19 percent from China. TouchPal claims that its tech — in the form of both the complete app and just the engine — has been deployed on over 270 million devices worldwide, which is a little above SwiftKey’s 250 million. Both are still miles away from Nuance’s staggering claim of “more than one billion devices” thanks to Swype’s long-running licensing model, but when it comes to downloads alone, the Google Play Store rankings picture a different reality.

      As to why HTC decided to switch from Swype to his keyboard, TouchPal COO and Chief Architect Karl Zhang reckons it’s to do with his company’s better contextual prediction technology, support for over 90 languages and better backend support. There’s no doubt that Nuance isn’t all too happy about this, especially given the complicated history between these two companies: Nuance actually offered to acquire TouchPal back in 2012, and after being rejected, the former then filed for an ITC Section 337 investigation to accuse TouchPal of patent infringement, but the judge ruled in favor of TouchPal the following year.

      Not all is lost for Nuance, though, as it announced at MWC that it has now gained Acer as its latest client to preload Swype on all Android phones globally.

      Don’t miss out on all the latest news, photos and liveblogs from MWC 2015. Follow along at our events page.

      Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2015/03/05/htc-touchpal-swype-keyboard/?ncid=rss_truncated

      HBO’s standalone streaming service reportedly costs $15 per month

      Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones season 5

      Wondering how much HBO’s hyped-up standalone streaming service will cost you when it (hopefully) arrives this April? Considerably more than your Netflix subscription, it seems. The International Business Times hears that the internet-only offering, reportedly called HBO Now, will set you back $15 per month. That’s not extravagant (your TV provider, if you have one, is paying roughly as much behind the scenes), but it reflects the company’s view that this is a premium product.

      It’s unclear just where you’ll get to watch HBO Now. However, IBT tipsters claim that Apple has been the “most aggressive” in pushing for a deal. Not surprisingly, it sees HBO as a great way to boost Apple TV sales — you’re more likely to buy the tiny media hub if you know you can watch the new Game of Thrones season without signing up for a top-tier cable package. It’s not clear how close the two sides are to an agreement, although it’s likely that Apple won’t be the only one supporting HBO Now on launch.

      [Image credit: Helen Sloan/HBO, Facebook]

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      Apple TV 3rd-gen


      Apple Apple TV 3rd-gen thumbnail image

      Apple Apple TV 3rd-gen

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        1. 8

          Does the remote control really need to die?

          Does the remote control really need to die?

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          BBC iPlayer for Apple TV

          BBC iPlayer for Apple TV

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          What do you think of the new Apple TV?

          What do you think of the new Apple TV?

        Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2015/03/04/hbo-now-pricing/?ncid=rss_truncated

        Bittorrent Sync Pro lets employees share folders from their PCs

        Bittorrent’s done beta testing its cloud-alternative Sync tool, so it’s now releasing not just the stable version, but also a Pro one for businesses. Sync 2.0 still lets you share folders saved on your computer using web links, but it also comes with an assortment of new features. These include the ability to link all your devices (PCs, phones and tablets) using a single private account, the power to share folders from any of those linked devices, and being able to grant a person access to your folders just once (he can access them instantly later on), among many other improvements.

        The Pro version also lets you access all your folders in all your linked devices, assign other people as the “owners” of particular folders and to keep an account in “Synced” mode, which enables it to keep its contents updated without you having to manually do so. The Pro version does cost money ($39.99 per year per users), as you might have guessed, but your office can try it our for free for 30 days.

        Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2015/03/04/bittorrent-sync-pro/?ncid=rss_truncated