LG officially names Optimus G2 as successor to the original

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LG isn’t beating around the bush this evening; it’s Snapdragon 800-based followup to the original Optimus G will officially be known as the Optimus G2. Naturally, with so many of the smartphone’s secrets already on display for the world to see, the revelation is a minor one at best, but it fills in a small piece of the puzzle for what we might expect on August 7th.

Refresh Roundup: week of January 7th, 2013

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Your smartphone and / or tablet is just begging for an update. From time to time, these mobile devices are blessed with maintenance refreshes, bug fixes, custom ROMs and anything in between, and so many of them are floating around that it’s easy for a sizable chunk to get lost in the mix. To make sure they don’t escape without notice, we’ve gathered every possible update, hack, and other miscellaneous tomfoolery we could find during the last week and crammed them into one convenient roundup. If you find something available for your device, please give us a shout at tips at engadget dawt com and let us know. Enjoy!

How would you change the mid-2012 MacBook Air?

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How would you change the mic2012 MacBook Air

Remember when people decried the MacBook Air as a dumb idea when it first launched? Well, given the amount of Ultrabooks that are now floating around the world, we bet they’ve not shared that opinion publicly too often. The most recent vintage of the unit gained USB 3.0 ports, Ivy Bridge chips and, well, not the one thing that would have made the unit unbeatable — a retina-class display. No, instead that feature was reserved for a different line, letting rivals like the Zenbook Prime beat it in the resolution stakes. But aside from that notable (and for Apple, lucrative) omission, how have you found these machines? Tell us what you’ve loved, hated and, most importantly, what would you change?

Samsung Galaxy S series: over 100 million served

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Samsung Galaxy S series over 100 million served

The Galaxy S III’s 30 million sales landmark? Impressive, but still just part of a larger equation — according to Samsung, its entire line of Galaxy S phones has now sold over 100 million units collectively. According to the firm’s Flickr page, the line of popular smartphones passed the nine-digit mark two years and 7 months after the original Galaxy S hit the market. Since then, the Galaxy S II has sold over 40 million units, doubling its sales since February. New iterations old hardware and up and comers like the Galaxy S III mini contribute to the big number too, but Sammy puts the focus on old number three, citing 190,000 as the Galaxy S III’s average daily sales. So, that’s what it takes to sell 500 phones a minute.

Samsung's 85-inch Ultra HD TV up for pre-order in Korea, priced at just $38k

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Samsung's 85inch Ultra HD TV up for preorder in Korea, priced at just $38k

At CES last week Samsung set a new benchmark in size with its 85-inch S9 that edged past the Ultra HD competition by one inch, and now it’s setting a new high mark for price as well, at least in Korea. While we still don’t have any US pricing or release details, the first 77 models encased in that “Timeless Gallery” frame are going up for pre-order, priced at 40,000 won ($37,877 US). Other than the obligatory 214cm of 4K goodness, it has built-in 2.2 channels speakers, quad-core CPU and Precision Black Pro LCD panel. We’ve heard that sales of Sony and LG’s models have been surprisingly brisk despite their high prices so you may want to run, not walk to your local Korean high-end electronics retailer to get one first. Of course, if you wait, you can always snag the 95- or 110-inch model that are promised to ship later this year, albeit at similar prices. While you’re deciding, check out our hands-on pictures and video to get an idea of what awaits.

Evernote's Windows Phone app gets PIN lock, Business support in update

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Evernote's Windows Phone app gets PIN lock, Business support in updateEvernote has been one busy bee, er, pachyderm lately — extending its proverbial trunk to a more professional crowd with the launch of Evernote Business and even cozying up to Samsung’s Terminator-sounding T9000 smart-fridge. For its next trick, the popular productivity app is giving some extra love to Windows Phone users by way of a feature-laden update. One of the shiny new bells and whistles is support for the aforementioned Evernote Business, including note creation and searching via Business Notebooks. There’s also a new PIN lock feature to ensure that your notes can’t be viewed when sharing your Windows phone with members of the unwashed masses. Other key features include joined notebooks and new style options for text as well. For info about the update straight from the elephant’s mouth, just head on to the Evernote Blog by clicking on the source link.

Growing Up Geek: Amol Koldhekar

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DNP Growing Up Geek Amol Koldhekar

Welcome to Growing Up Geek, a feature where we take a look back at our youth, and tell stories of growing up to be the nerds that we are. This week, we have our very own Amol Koldhekar!

My childhood may have kicked off the 1990s, but I grew up surrounded by remnants of the 80s, like the Apple II that temporarily lived in my dad’s home office or the Nintendo Entertainment System that was originally my older sister’s console. I think all younger siblings of that era can identify with having to play as Luigi on Super Mario Bros. My sister eventually lost interest in her NES, so I took claim to it. While I had loads of fun playingExcitebike and Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, I always spent an inordinate amount of time escaped in Duck Hunt while I was busy peering through the glass end of the NES gun, trying to see how it worked. Ironically, this curiosity may have impeded obtaining better devices early on — when my NES stopped working, I tinkered with its innards and somehow got it to work, negating the need for my parents to get me a Super Nintendo. As I grew older, I grew wiser, deeming the NES a lost cause in order to convince my parents to let me get a Nintendo 64 with birthday money. How amazing that the NES was soon repaired and still works!

Apple lands important SIM card connector patent

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Apple lands important SIM card connector patent

Sometimes, a patent grant is less about the technology itself than what it could mean for others. Case in point: a newly granted Apple patent for a “mini-SIM connector.” The design complements earlier work and represents a straightforward approach to a SIM slot that prevents damage from inserting the card the wrong way and ejects the card through a plunger system. By securing the patent, however, Apple gains a bargaining chip in phone technology disputes, especially for SIM-related tussles; companies are less likely to start a fight if Apple can return fire. The claim doesn’t give Apple a lock on subscriber modules by any means, but it could lead to other adopters treading carefully.

Canon shutters the EOS 5D Mark II, makes Mark III man of the house

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Canon shutters the EOS 5D Mark II, wheel continues to turn

Given the advent of the EOS 5D Mark III, it’s hardly a surprise to see that the Mark II has been quietly moved to Canon’s retired list. The full-frame DSLR was famous for its HD video prowess and was quickly adopted by Hollywood, where it was used to film an entire episode of House back in 2010. While the spirit of the 5D lives on in the latest revision, the old dog most definitely deserves a toast ’round the fire.

Must See HDTV (December 25th – 30th)

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Must See HDTV December 25th  30th

Even though most of us are enjoying a holiday break and our favorite TV shows are too, there’s still a few things worth checking out this week. Look below for the highlights this week, followed after the break by our weekly listing of what to look out for in TV, Blu-ray and videogames.

The Room
Touted as “one of the worst films ever made,” Tommy Wiseau’s The Room is one of the few movies being released on Blu-ray this week. Whether you consider it as an intentional comedy or one of the most poorly crafted efforts at a drama of all time, it is not a movie you should watch…unless you love bad movies. Check out the trailer after the break for a taste, the full HD experience (according to an interview, the filmmaker shot it entirely both in film and digitally in HD because he couldn’t make a decision) will cost more than thirty bucks.
($31.99 on Amazon)

Bowl Games
You name it, there’s a bowl sponsored by it. If your college football team hasn’t played in a bowl yet, there’s a good chance they will this week, and it will be on ESPN, check the listings below for the list of games and times. Of course, until the BCS games start these matchups don’t have a lot of pull, but if you just want to see your favorite team one more time, these will have to do.

Apple granted design patent for fourth-gen iPod touch, reminds us of the shorter, fatter past

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Image

Merry Christmas! The USPTO is celebrating in a big way, with the copyright stamp making some pretty big rounds today. First up is a design patent for an iPod touch, which Cupertino filed back in August of 2011. It looks to be the fourth-gen model from 2010, especially given that the patent focuses on the very rounded edges. This iPod touch was the first version to include both front- and rear-facing cameras, and in any case, the design is miles thicker and shorter than this year’s touch. As Patently Apple points out, this document also happens to be one of the last to list Steve Jobs as an inventor.

Plex desktop app becomes Plex Home Theater, adds AirPlay and HD audio

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Plex desktop app becomes Plex Home Theater, adds AirPlay and HD audio

Plex wants us to settle in for some holiday viewing in front of our home theater PCs, and to that effect it’s delivering a major beta update to its desktop app — including a new name. The more clearly defined Plex Home Theater syncs up with the XBMC 12 beta and simplifies Plex’s own update process. For those in the living room, shifting to the newer base brings AirPlay streaming from nearby Apple-friendly gear as well as 10-bit H.264 video and HD audio. Behind-the-scenes updates bring more efficient video rendering and fix some older bugs, such as audio sync with SD footage. The catch to enjoying all this? As the upgrade is pre-release code, Plex is limiting early access to PlexPass subscribers. Media mavens still willing to pay the premium can check out the source link for an upgrade to their end-of-year movie marathons.

Samsung teases 'whole new Smart Hub' on Flickr feed, CES launch confirmed

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Samsung teases 'whole new Smart Hub' on Flickr feed, CES launch confirmed

Samsung’s HDTV-based Smart Hub is set to land a major refresh at CES, according to a trio of images and a product description that appeared on Flickr this evening. Like previous iterations, the software interface will provide access to real-time TV broadcasts, on-demand flicks, apps and photos, according to the site’s image captions. The new version will feature a new background design, along with a “simplified” UI. While the on-screen interface appears to be new, the screen shot is presented atop last year’s Series 8 model, including an identical stand and a built-in camera up top — there’s no hint at what hardware advances we may see in Vegas early next year. Samsung’s CES press conference is on the books for the afternoon of Monday, January 7th, so we have less than two weeks to go before this new UI — and a whole lot of HDTVs — becomes official.

Apple patents a method to refine curved glass for displays and beyond

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Apple patents a method to refine curved glass for displays and beyond

The curved screens of Samsung’s Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus helped them stand out in the smartphone crowd, but it’s clearer than ever that the company doesn’t have a lock onthe idea. Apple is exploring the concept as well: it just received a patent for a technique that molds thin glass into bent or curved shapes without a drawn-out process or using risky chemicals. By having alignment tools shift along with hotter temperatures during a glass slumping process, where the material shapes itself around a mold, Apple can bend glass without any interference — leading to curvy surfaces that are both quicker to make and higher quality. A patent doesn’t mean that we’ll see a curved iPhone in the immediate future, though. Apple leaves its options open and suggests that anything from mice to TVs could be candidates, should the company take action at all. If the patent ever applies to real-world products, however, we’ll have an inkling as to how the bendy shapes came to be.

Redesigned PlayStation Store now live in North America

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DNP Redesigned PlayStation Store now live in North America

PS3 owners: do not adjust your TV sets, the PlayStation Store has received a makeover. Sony’s new revamped media portal is now available in the US, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. If you’re experiencing a case of déjà vu, the update was originally set to hit back on October 23rd, but was sidelined after its UK launch was derailed by some earlyperformance hiccups. Now that it’s here, users will be treated to a snazzy new UI along with Most Popular charts, streaming videos on item pages, improved filters and an enhanced search engine. If you haven’t already, you can grab this update by firing up your PS3 and directing the XMB to the PlayStation Store icon.

Apple's Lightning to micro-USB adapter now available in US, not just Europe anymore

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Apple's Lightning to microUSB adapter now available in US, not just Europe anymore

Just in case you thought the Lightning to micro-USB connector was Europe-only (to stave off that pesky European Commission), Apple has decided to sell it stateside as well. The tiny choking hazard recently made its way to the company’s online store in the US for $19 each (over in Europe, it’s £15 / €19), and brick-and-mortar locations will probably get them too — if they’re not in stock already. We’re not sure if there’s a huge demand for this, but if you’re a recent iPod, iPhone, or iPad (Mini or 4th gen) owner with a plethora of existing micro-USB cables, an adapter like this could help lighten your nest of wires.

Apple posts revised 'Samsung did not copy' statement

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Apple posts revised 'Samsung did not copy' statement

Apple has just reposted its statement acknowledging that Samsung did not copy its tablet design, after its initial wording wasn’t deemed unacceptable by the UK courts. The new version is a lot shorter, and simply states that the court did not find Samsung to be in breach of Apple’s registered design No. 0000181607-0001, reminding us that it was also upheld by the Court of Appeal, providing links to the appropriate patent and judgement documents online. The mention of the same case going in Apple’d favor in Germany has been removed completely. When first published, Apple included a short link at the bottom of its homepage. Now, to completely comply with the court’s bidding, there is a short statement accompanying the link, confirming that it’s initial acknowledgement was inaccurate. Will this be enough to appease the UK courts? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Blackberry PlayBook 3G+ now available in the UK, 1.5GHz dual-core, 32GB storage

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Blackberry PlayBook 3G+ now available in the UK, 1.5GHz dual-core, 32GB storage

It was over a year ago now that we first heard about RIM’s plans to release a 3G PlayBook, but it looks like it is finally here, popping up on the UK BlackBerry site. Of course, since then it’s gone one better and delivered an LTE version, but if you’re in the UK, and want a little PlayBook action with data to go, you can order one today. Much like its LTE sibling, it comes with 32GB of memory, and gets the same faster 1.5GHz processor too. (The original was 1.0GHz.) The kicker here? The price, at around £420 (about $690 by conversion) this is only £30 ($48) shy of Apple’s 32GB WiFi and cellular iPad mini (at UK prices). On a positive note, while RIM might have had the 3G model lingering for some time, it did beat its own projections. But, with the UK now enjoying LTE, perhaps those interested in a PlayBook might campaign for the faster model to be added to the roster also.

Seagate now a DECE member, supporting UltraViolet

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Seagate now a DECE member, supporting UltraViolet

The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem — the consortium of companies attempting to develop an industry standard for digital distribution of entertainment, and the folks behind UltraViolet — can count another member among its ranks as of this week: digital storage company Seagate. The storage manufacturer announced as much in a press release this week, and threw its support behind UltraViolet. “As a DECE member, Seagate’s expertise and perspective on cloud solutions and storage devices will help the organization to evolve those benefits,” says UltraViolet GM Mark Teitell. Considering how many major content providers are supporting UltraViolet, it’s good to know that one of the largest storage companies isn’t standing against our digital futures.

Visualized: Space Shuttle Atlantis makes its final journey, arrives at new home

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Visualized: Space Shuttle Atlantis makes its final journey, arrives at new home (video)

On Friday, Space Shuttle Atlantis made its final voyage, marking the last time an orbiter in America’s shuttle program would be on the move. We were on-hand during the occasion and followed Atlantis as it slowly trekked to its destination, a 90,000 square-foot exhibit building at Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor Complex. To live out the event vicariously, check out the photos below or hit the jump for the video.

 

Inhabitat's Week in Green: Tetris pumpkin, giant cardboard ghetto blaster and the world's largest offshore wind farm

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DNP Inhabitat's Week in Green

Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.

Hurricane Sandy dominated the news cycle this week as the storm surge flooded large swaths of New Jersey and New York, knocking down trees, crippling the New York subway system and leaving thousands of people in the dark after a ConEd station in lower Manhattan exploded. The storm caused an estimated $10 billion worth of damage in Manhattan and Brooklyn alone, and it caused lasting environmental contamination when336,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled between Staten Island and New Jersey. And it reminded us of the potential dangers of nuclear power when the storm forced three nuclear reactors offline and New Jersey’s Oyster Creek power plant was placed on alert.

Sony quietly gets PlayStation 3 certification in China, we hope for a few more Dynasty Warriors players

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PS3 leads the Chinese workers, comrade

Ever since 2000, game consoles have effectively (if not very assertively) been banned in China. There’s already been signs of a warming attitude with official plans for the Nintendo 3DS XL coming this December, but Sony may have slipped out hints of a fuller thaw without anyone noticing until now. A Sina Weibo user just discovered that the 160GB and 320GB versions of the previous-generation PlayStation 3, the CECH-3012, passed through China Compulsory Certificate approval in July — an odd move when the console couldn’t actually go on sale in an official capacity in current conditions. Certification is still far from a guarantee that Sony will actually sell the PS3 in the country, most of all when it’s a slightly outdated model of a console line that’s edging ever nearer to a replacement. The government certainly hasn’t commented on what the regulatory clearance means. If it ultimately leads to more gamers in Chengdu or Shanghai, however, we’re all for it.

IRL: iPhoneTrip, PDP Afterglow headset and Western Digital's My Net Wi-Fi Range Extender

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IRL: iPhoneTrip, PDP Afterglow headset and Western Digital's My Net Wi-Fi Range Extender
Welcome to IRL, an ongoing feature where we talk about the gadgets, apps and toys we’re using in real life and take a second look at products that already got the formal review treatment.
It’s a mixed bag this week, with Zach trying out the SIM rental iPhoneTrip, Jason adding a budget gaming headset to his collection and Darren finding success with a Western Digital WiFi range extender. Turns out, it’s thumbs up all around. Click through to see what we liked.

Polaroid XS7, XS20 and XS100 Sports Cameras run $69 and up, we snap away at Photokina

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Polaroid may not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of adventure-friendly video cams — Contour and GoPro own that space, with Sony now making a heavy push of its own — but the insta-film maker turned camera manufacturer now has a rugged lineup of its own. First off the assembly line is the XS7, a $69 cam that packs a waterproof housing (rated to 10 meters), 720p video capture and a 2-inch touchscreen. This model is as entry level as they come, and Polaroid reps said to expect to see it in stores like Toys ‘R’ Us. If you’re slightly more serious about image quality, you might opt for the XS20, which packs a “professional” CMOS sensor, 720p shooting, a waterproof housing (20 meters) and a battery that’s rated for up to 3 hours of use. It also includes a fixed lens with a 120-degree viewing angle that’s surrounded by eight LCDs, for shooting in the dark. Finally, The XS100 is what you might consider to be Polaroid’s flagship, with support for 1080p video, an adjustable frame rate, a 170-degree lens, an orientation sensor for auto rotation and a $200 price tag. All three cameras use microSD cards, but the XS100 also includes 32MB of internal storage, letting you store a small collection of 5-megapixel stills.

The sports-shooting trio may not blow you away spec-wise, and we also weren’t floored by the design, but they weren’t created to lead the market from a performance perspective — Polaroid is playing up the cost angle here, and we don’t blame them. Based on our quick test of the XS7, image quality was passable, but you’re not going to want to use it for close-up shots as we did here. Even with the underwater housing removed, frames were either under or overexposed, generally unsharp and audio wasn’t terribly clear. It’s worth noting that we played with a pre-production sample, that’ll run you just shy of $70 when it does hit stores. That said, if quality is key and you don’t mind dropping a few hundred bucks, you’ll probably be happier with a more established model. Because we’re at a photo show and Polaroid was generous enough to let us take the XS7 for a spin, we figured there’s no better way to demonstrate this camera’s capabilities by using it to film our hands-on — you’ll find that video tour just past the break.

 

Panasonic Toughbook 19 gets Ivy Bridge upgrade, small price bump

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Panasonic Toughbook 19 gets Ivy Bridge upgrade, small price bump

There’s no doubt Panasonic keeps its Toughbook 19 line updated with the recent times, and today’s no exception. This time out a processor upgrade is the main change, with the company announcing the rugged convertible will now ship sporting one of Intel’s latest CPU creations — a Core i5-3320M vPro, to be precise. That’s not all, however, since there are also improvements in battery life, the addition of USB 3.0 ports and the option to load it with a beefier 500GB hard drive. Naturally, these nice enhancements had a mild effect on the price tag, making the jump from the previous starting price of $3,349 to a slightly heftier $3,549. But, hey, if you’re already spending that much, 200 extra bucks shouldn’t cause you any sweats.

Project Holodeck gets help from Razer, swaps Kinect for Move tracking

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Project Holodeck gets help from Razer, swaps Kinect for Move tracking

The group of folks bent on crafting a real-life version of Star Trek’s “Holodeck” — a virtual playground, essentially — are getting official support from gaming hardware companyRazer. That support means not only access to Razer’s hardware but also the company’s staff of trained professionals. The Project Holodeck team have already implemented Razer’s “Hydra” — a PC-based motion controller that originally shipped with Portal 2 — into their work on Holodeck showcase game, “Wild Skies.”

But that’s not the only big news for Project Holodeck, as the team recently swapped Microsoft’s Kinect motion tech for Sony’s PlayStation Move motion tech. Project lead James Iliff told RoadtoVR.com, “The Kinect hardware is extremely lacking in fidelity. Every point the Kinect tracks is filled with unmanageable jitter, rendering the data useless for anything other than the most simple of interactions. We tried very hard to get around this with several software algorithms we wrote, to get multiple Kinects to communicate with each other, however this did not really make anything more accurate unfortunately.” In place of Kinect, the team strapped a PlayStation Move setup to a Pro-Tec skateboard helmet, and combined that tracking with the Hydra’s motion control and Oculus Rift’s head-mounted display. The result is … well, it’s a person standing in a room with a whole bunch of electronics attached to their person. But also, it allows players to interact in a 3D environment — from perception to engagement. The team’s still got plenty of work ahead of them, as evidenced by their latest video (below), but it sounds like things are coming together more cohesively than before.

Fox kicks off its Digital HD initiative by joining Google Play and YouTube, offering movies early

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Google Play and YouTube add Fox movies and TV shows, use Prometheus as a lure

Fox embraced a radical thought when it outlined its Digital HD initiative earlier this month: customers are more likely to buy digital movies if the content isn’t artificially delayed and priced to match the releases on conventional discs. The studio is about to see if that gamble on common sense pays off. As of today, you’ll find 600-plus Fox movies ready to buy or rent in HD across every major digital video store in the US, with many downloads cleared to arrive ahead of their physical counterparts at lower prices that reflect a disc-free reality. The media giant has also decided to play nicely with Google after a longstanding absence, putting its movies and TV shows on Google Play Movies and YouTube. Its tentpole movie release Prometheus is unsurprisingly being used as the prime incentive to try Digital HD; the title is available online three weeks before the Blu-ray launch at a more reasonable $15 price. The sci-fi thriller is even Fox’s first movie destined for UltraVioletcloud lockers. Only Americans will have expanded access to movies and TV at first, but it shouldn’t be too long before many countries can be creeped out by Michael Fassbender’s android — including on their Android devices.

JetBlue Ka-band high-speed internet now arriving in early 2013, eight times faster than the competition

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JetBlue Kaband highspeed internet now arriving in early 2013, eight times faster than KuBand

JetBlue Airways high-speed wireless initiative is being held in a flight pattern until “early 2013,” apparently. The company announced as much in a detailed blog post this afternoon, which also compared speeds of its forthcoming in-plane high-speed internet to the competition — JetBlue’s Ka-band operates roughly eight times faster than the Ku-band competition, and over nine times faster than ATG. Moreover, Ka-band can scale to a full plane of passengers, meaning everyone gets the “at-home experience” they’d like regardless of how many folks are signed on. As previously noted, the “basic Wi-Fi” service with JetBlue will cost nothing — which sounds to us like there are plans to reveal a more expensive tier (or tiers) in the near future. But then again, we really like free things.

SkyDrive adds recycle bin, Excel surveys for the chronically indecisive

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SkyDrive adds Recycle Bin and Excel surveys for the chronically indecisive

For all of the talk of cloud backups and sync, there isn’t always a safety net when working from the cloud itself — delete a file online and it might be gone forever. With that in mind, Microsoft just brought Windows’ recycle bin concept to SkyDrive through a low-key update. You can now delete anything immediately, knowing that you can change your mind within three days — and longer still, should the recycle bin occupy less than 10 percent of the storage limit. If you’re just as uncertain about creating content as scrapping it, SkyDrive has also received support for creating and sharing Excel surveys to narrow down the scope of a project. The recycle bin should slide into your SkyDrive account within the next day; Excel surveys aren’t yet polished enough, but they should be ready “soon.”

We're liveblogging HTC's big reveal tomorrow at 11am ET!

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We're liveblogging HTC's big reveal tomorrow at 11am ET!

HTC isn’t betraying too much with its event invite, but we’ve got our suspicions about what the Taiwanese company has up its sleeve. Maybe there will even be a few surprises in store for us, who knows? That’s why we had to accept HTC’s invite and will be there live, in person to experience the reveal ourselves. Since you can’t be there (and we wouldn’t want you to be square), join us tomorrow morning at 11am ET and follow along in the liveblog right here — we’ll know you’re with us in spirit.