Author Archives: JC Torres


Adblock Plus launches its own ad platform

Adblock Plus launches its own ad platform

It’s either the ultimate irony or a vindication of the ad tech industry., or both. In what almost sounds like an April Fools scheduled wrong, Adblock Plus, one of the most popular names when it comes to, well, ad blocking, has announced its more formal entry into the ad tech market with its brand new Acceptable Ads Platform. In essence, this platform will allow publishers and websites to display ads even on browsers that have Adblock enabled, but only with the ads that Adblock as approved and in locations allowed by Adblock.

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Galaxy Note 7 battery charge might be capped at 60%

Galaxy Note 7 battery charge might be capped at 60%

Samsung may not be remotely disabling Galaxy Note 7’s that have not been taken in for replacement, with or without a recall, but the company may still take some drastic measure to ensure that units that remain in the wild do not suddenly combust. Samsung will instead push an OTA (over-the-air) update that will limit the smartphone’s battery to only 60% charge in the hopes of putting out a quick fix. Or indirectly forcing owners to turn in their smartphones, but for a different reason.

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Netflix declares war on data caps, wants FCC to chime in

Netflix declares war on data caps, wants FCC to chime in

It’s that time of year again for the US Federal Communications Commission, lovingly called the FCC. It’s that time when it is legally mandated to examine the state of broadband deployment in the country, which also means it will be in the crosshairs of ISPs, and vice versa. Netflix, not an ISP, is taking that opportunity to convince the FCC to declare, once and for all, that home Internet data caps are unreasonable, and sometimes even discriminatory. Such a statement, though not completely legally binding, could ISPs to make some adjustments to align Netflix’s point of view.

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Sony Xperia XZ, X Compact missing fingerprint scanners in US

Sony Xperia XZ, X Compact missing fingerprint scanners in US

Yet another fluke or a worrying trend? Just when you thought Sony is finally doing good by its stalwart Android fans, it pulls yet another one that makes you wonder just what the Japanese OEM is thinking. The Xperia XZ “true flagship” and the Xperia X Compact “mini flagship” are both headed to the US, but although much-awaited, they might not arrive complete. The particular models intended for the US market will apparently NOT feature a fingerprint scanner that has become a staple of any flagship smartphone.

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NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 AI board now has a smaller, single-core form

NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 AI board now has a smaller, single-core form

When you speak of NVIDIA, you will mostly like first think of high-end graphics cards mostly used to power gaming rigs and hard-core multimedia computers. Of late, however, the company has been putting its processing power at the service not of gamers only but also of car makers. Earlier this year, it unveiled its new DRIVE PX 2 single-board computers that would drive, pun perhaps intended, hi-tech AI systems inside autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles. Now it is announcing the DRIVE PX 2 for AutoCruise, which is basically a DRIVE PX 2 that has been pared down to a single NVIDIA Parker chip.

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iPhone 7, 7 Plus batteries revealed, A10 chip tops the charts

iPhone 7, 7 Plus batteries revealed, A10 chip tops the charts

Apple is not one to talk about hard specs, preferring to use market-speak in words that regular consumers would presumably understand better, words like “x times faster” or “n hours longer”. Usually it’s up to third-party sites and benchmarks to verify, or even refute, such claims. Despite some rather controversial features, or the lack of them, the iPhone 7 and the larger iPhone 7 Plus seems to at least deliver on the promise of a better battery life and a more powerful processor.

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Samsung Galaxy A8 (2016) renders show odd speaker location

Samsung Galaxy A8 (2016) renders show odd speaker location

Samsung is having one hell of a time dealing with the Galaxy Note 7 mess, but, of course, the show must go on. That means still putting out new models, hopefully ones that don’t have the same “rare” manufacturing flaw. Next in line, it seems, will be the 2016 model of the Galaxy A8. Based on leaked renders of the device, the smartphone will carry on the new glass motif if the Galaxy A series. But curiously enough, it also hints at a rather strange new location for the smartphone’s speaker.

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iMessage App Store is up, Mario, Disney stickers lead the pack

iMessage App Store is up, Mario, Disney stickers lead the pack

iOS 10 still isn’t out yet, but those who already have the beta version installed can now take advantage of Apple’s newest whimsical, and potentially lucrative, treats. The long-awaited App Store dedicated specifically to iMessage has just gone live, and blazing the trail are not just pre-announced apps but stickers that are bound to become viral when they really go public. And considering not all of them are free, they’re bound to turn into huge cash cows as well.

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BLU Vivo 5R adds some teeth to all-metal Vivo 5

BLU Vivo 5R adds some teeth to all-metal Vivo 5

“R” is for “Refresh”. That is BLU Products’ tagline for its new Vivo 5R mid-range smartphone. That’s because the Vivo 5R is, truth be told, an incremental step up from the Vivo 5 that the company launched earlier this year. But to be really blunt about it, the Vivo 5R is what the Vivo 5 should have been in the first place, mixing a premium looking unibody design with actually decent mid-range hardware. And at the same price to boot.

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Nexus Launcher becomes Pixel Launcher, confirms brand change

Nexus Launcher becomes Pixel Launcher, confirms brand change

As if putting all rumors to rest, the app launcher for Google’s next smartphones has just been leaked, and it isn’t called the Nexus Launcher like in the past. Instead, the formal name, based on leaks from LlabTooFer, is “Pixel Laucher”. While nothing else has changed from the new Nexus Launcher we thought would arrive with Android 7.0 Nougat but didn’t, the name change does strongly hint that the HTC-made smartphones Google is set to debut next month would indeed be called Pixels.

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UMi Super Review (Euro Edition)

UMi Super Review (Euro Edition)

There are dozens of smartphone brands, many of them hailing from China, competing in the mid-range market that it is too easy to get lost in a sea of names, models and specs. So when a little known company poises itself as a flagship killer, with a price that neither OnePlus nor even Xiaomi can beat, it’s hard not to pause and take notice. In not so many words, or actually in quite many words, that is what the UMi Super aspires to be, and it does almost reach that pinnacle. Well, as high as a mid-range can reach. Read on to find out how that dream almost came to be.

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Amazon, Pandora to shake up music streaming market

Amazon, Pandora to shake up music streaming market

The music streaming business has become a rather aggressive one, especially after Apple joined the fray. Despite that, pricing for monthly subscription hasn’t substantially changed among the very few major players in that market. By now, the $9.99 a month fee is more or less standard everywhere. Amazon and Pandora, however, might soon have something different to say. The two companies are expected to debut new subscription offerings n the coming months, even as early as next week, that will be challenging the status quo and might give their rivals pause.

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