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Published on November 2nd, 2014 | by Jason Ephraim

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A Week in Tech – Episode 13: Gmail 5.0, Project Ara and More




Hey fans of qbking77! Who’s ready for another ‘Week in Tech’?!

Quick News

– As some of you might know, the OnePlus One went up for pre-order this past Monday for only a couple hours and, as would be expected, the company had a lot of issues with it.  So many people were trying to complete their orders that the servers just couldn’t handle it and thus OnePlus decided to extend the pre-order period from one hour to three.  Still, that wasn’t enough time as people still couldn’t get their orders in and thus they have apologized for the inconveniences and have announced a second pre-order event on November 17th!  The second pre-order will start at about 10am EST on November 17th so be ready for that.

– This past week, Sprint announced that it has added its Spark network to 17 new markets.  Spark is the branded name of Sprint’s enhanced 4G LTE network which Sprint says can bring speeds of up to 50-60 Mbps.  The addition of these 17 markets brings Sprint’s Spark coverage up to 46 markets across the U.S. – so be sure to hit up the source link to see if your city is now covered!

– This past week Fitbit announced a new wave of fitness trackers to add to its collection.  After reports of skin rashes forced Fitbit to recall their Fitbit Force, they are now bringing its replacement to the market – the Fitbit Charge.  The Charge comes with a lot of the same functionality as the Force, but adds in automatic sleep tracking and will cost you $130.  The Charge HR takes the Charge’s functionality and adds in a heart rate monitor to it for an additional $20.  At $250, Fitbit is also releasing the Surge – which comes with a larger screen allowing for more information to be displayed such as music and texts – this device also comes with a heart rate monitor and a GPS tracker.

– Google’s top secret division, Google X, just revealed another one of their projects and this one is quite interesting – a type of wearable technology meant to detect cancer within the human body.  Yes, you heard that right, a wearable to detect cancer.  This device actually works in conjunction with a pill that a person swallows.  This pill would release particles covered in magnetized antibodies that would attach themselves to any cancerous cells and then report back to the wearable what they found.  Sounds like some pretty cool technology and would be a big step forward in the discovery and treatment of cancer.

– Back at Google I/O this year, Google announced their new fitness app named Google Fit and it is now finally available on the Play Store!  This appealing to the eye app will work with any of your Android devices, including Android Wear devices, and does a nice job tracking all your fitness data.  Its starting to get confusing though, with this installed, Samsung’s built in app and the separate data from my Moto 360 – there’s so much fitness data to look at!  Download the apk now!

– In case you guys didn’t see Tim’s video this past week, Gmail 5.0 with Material Design and multi-account integration is now available for download!  Hit up Tim’s video to learn more about what changed and to get the download in the description of his video.

– Google has been working on its modular phone, Project Ara, for quite some time now and it seems things are starting to speed up as they just announced that two Ara dedicated conferences will take place in January.  The first will be on January 14th from Google’s Mountain View, California office and the second will be on January 21st in Singapore.  If you are interested in attending, applications must be submitted by November 26th and upon approval, this event will cost between $25 and $200.  I won’t be going obviously, but I can’t wait till January to see what information we get about Project Ara!

– This past week Google and Lenovo announced the acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Lenovo for $2.9 billion.  According to Motorola, they will be a “wholly owned subsidiary of Lenovo and will remain headquartered in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart”.  Additionally, the ionic Motorola brand will continue as well as its Moto and DROID franchises – they also promise to continue to focus on pure Android and fast upgrades.

– In mobile carrier news, Verizon and AT&T announced some upgrades to a couple of their data plans.  Firstly, AT&T is offering 1GB more of data to their $40 plan and an extra 2GB of data to their $70 plan.  On the other hand, Verizon is increasing some data caps on their plans in which their $80 plan will now get 10GB of data and their $100 plan will get you 15GB of data.  These are some nice data bumps, but unfortunately you have to be at the higher level plans.

Deals and Gadgets

–  Now I don’t know why someone would want this as watches are almost always on your wrist, but a company called “Raelx’ is offering cases for the Moto 360 for just $8.  These 3D-printed cases come in two variants depending on how much coverage you want and come in a variety of colors.  If you are interested in some protection for your Moto 360 then hit up Shapeways now!

– A really cool gadget that is on the horizon is the Chooseblocks Smartwatch.  This smartwatch, which is supported by the company behind Project Ara, is a modular smartwatch allowing you to change and upgrade parts of the watch as time goes on.  Like Google’s modular phone with interchangeable bricks on the back, the watch will feature different components in each section of the watch band.  Hit up the source link to learn more, but I can’t wait to see this device hit the market!

– HTC as recently announced their new Rapid Charger 2.0.  This new charger, which takes advantage of Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 technology, will be able to charge certain HTC phones up to 40 percent faster than a standard charger.  Unfortunately, this device doesn’t work with many phones and is currently not available to buy just quite yet.

Software Updates 

– This past week, Verizon rolled out a 201MB update to their LG G3.  This update includes camera button access on the lock screen along with some other performance enhancements.  Although this may not be that interesting of an update, the LG G3 should be getting Android Lollipop some time later this year!

 

Let me know what you think about the news in the comment section below!

Sources:

Second OnePlus One Pre-Order
Sprint Adds Spark to 17 Markets
A New Wave of Fitbit Trackers
Google X – Wearable to Detect Cancer
Google Fit App Hits Play Store
Gmail 5.0 Hits Play Store
Project Ara Conferences Scheduled
Motorola Bought By Lenovo
AT&T and Verizon Offer More Data

3D-Printed Moto 360 Cases
Chooseblock’s Modular Smartwatch
HTC Rapid Charger 2.0

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About the Author

Jason Ephraim

Current student at Binghamton University who loves Android and everything tech!



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