BBM for Android’s Google Play page tarnished by hundreds of fake reviews – BlackBerry’s BBM app was downloaded 10 million times within 24 hours, but at least on Android, some of its many positive reviews seem to come from a less than savory source. Writer Matt Baxter-Reynolds noted yesterday that a huge number of reviews contained the exact same praise for BBM: Thank you so much blackberry team. I was waiting this app. Its really great user friendly and smooth. Blogger Terence Eden looked through more reviews and found more evidence that somebody was astroturfing the Play Store. In addition to the sheer numbers he found, at least one person seemed to have accidentally copied and pasted more of the text than intended: “Dear Mr Ahmed, please post the following comment on the new BlackBerry Messenger APP…”
YouTube building an on-demand music streaming service with free and paid tiers – The rumor mill’s been churning out tales of a forthcoming YouTube music streaming service for months now, and today Billboard published a new story with a startling amount of detail about it. According to unnamed sources, YouTube’s working on an on-demand music service with both free and paid tiers. Apparently, the ad-supported free version will provide unlimited, on-demand access to a whole host of tracks on any device, thanks to the licensing agreements Google struck for its Google Play All Access music service. Aside from the obvious — removing ads from the equation — it’s unclear what folks will get for their money should they choose to opt for the paid version.
Microsoft erects a 383-inch Surface tablet in the center of London – Microsoft has a fascination with big screens. The software giant has demonstrated Windows 8 on its 82-inch Perceptive Pixel PC and created giant displays with Kinect built-in. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates even uses a giant 80-inch Windows 8 display occasionally. Today, however, Microsoft is going one step further. At one of London’s biggest tourist attractions, Trafalgar Square, the company has created a 383-inch Surface tablet.
The Mac App Store is upgrading illegal and trial software for free – Along with a free update to OS X 10.9 Mavericks, Apple promised owners of its iWork and iLife suites free upgrades to the latest versions, as well as anyone that bought a Mac after October 1st. However, thanks to a flaw in the company’s Mac App Store, even users with trial copies are being given free editions of Apple’s new software. More worryingly for Apple, users downloading illegal software are being given legitimate copies in exchange.
In addition to the iLife and iWork suites, which include Pages, Numbers, and Keynote alongside popular apps like iMovie, iPhoto, and GarageBand, the issue also extends to Aperture, which was recently updated to version 3.5. Anyone with a trial or illegal copy will get all the new features, including iCloud photo sharing, SmugMug integration, and iOS 7 filter support.
Amazon’s giant biodome approved for the streets of Seattle – Amazon has gained initial approval for its plan to build a huge greenhouse in the middle of Seattle. The proposal has three transparent domes intersecting to form a five-story complex that will contain offices, dining areas, and retail stores. It’s nestled between the company’s giant new campus, which consists of three office towers all larger than 70 storys.
Leaked Xbox One manual reveals improved Kinect minimum distance – A leaked Xbox One has revealed exactly how improved Microsoft’s next-generation Kinect is for smaller play areas. While the company promised improvements for use in smaller environments, a setup manual (PDF) shows the new Kinect will work at a minimum distance of 1.4 meters (4.59 feet). The existing Kinect sensor for Xbox 360 works at a minimum distance of 1.8 meters (6 feet) for one player gaming, and 2.4 meters (8 feet) for two players.
Apple’s mesmerizing Mac Pro manufacturing process explained (Video) – Apple’s new Mac Pro is assembled in the US, as its Making Of video proves.
The video tracks the the creation of a Mac Pro as the machine’s cylindrical case is carved, polished, and fit around its internal components. It’s mesmerizing to watch, but hard to fully appreciate in just two minutes of footage.
That’s where product designer Greg Koenig can help. Koenig walks through the Mac Pro’s manufacturing process on Atomic Delights, explaining how an aluminum ingot is turned into Apple’s new high-end computer, identifying Kuka robotic arms, bead blast cabinets, and anodizing acid baths as he goes.
Samsung fined $340,000 for faking online comments – After being caught paying for false praise and negative comments about competitors, Samsung has been fined just over $340,000. The issue first arose internationally in April, when Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) announced it was opening an investigation into the allegations. That investigation found the allegations were true: the FTC says Samsung used a “large number of hired writers and designated employees” to post in Taiwanese forums. The commission does add that the company did this through a third-party marketing company, just as Samsung originally claimed. Two local marketing firms were fined a combined total of over $100,000 for their part in the marketing ploy.
Ouya coming to all Target stores later this month – The Ouya Android console will be coming to all Target stores this month, with a major promotion deal coming over the next several months, Polygon reports. The Ouya launched with a surprisingly large retail presence, selling at GameStop, Best Buy, and Target, but those stores hadn’t committed to putting the consoles in all locations. Now, Target will start selling the Ouya in all its roughly 1,800 locations, letting Ouya run nationwide ad campaigns with the knowledge that people will be able to buy them just about anywhere. It’s part of a larger push for expansion: the Ouya is launching in parts of Europe and the Middle East at the end of October, and once the consoles are in Target stores nationwide, it will start aggressively promoting them with in-store ads and a gift card bundled with purchase.
Investor Carl Icahn pushes Apple to spend cash horde on massive $150 billion stock buyback – Billionaire “activist investor” Carl Icahn has revealed his latest attempt to convince Apple’sboard to move aggressively on a stock buyback. Today Icahn published a letter he sent to Tim Cook reaffirming his insistence to have the company immediately offer a $150 billion buyback. He says in the letter that “we find it difficult to imagine why the board would not move more aggressively to buy back stock by immediately announcing a $150 Billion tender offer,” adding “It is our belief that a company’s board has a responsibility to recognize opportunities to increase shareholder value, which includes allocating capital to execute large and well-timed buybacks.”
NASA video captures breathtaking ‘canyon of fire’ on the surface of the Sun – The Sun may make life possible here on Earth, but make no mistake: it’s one inhospitable place. If you needed any reminder of that, NASA’s released a video compiled from satellite data to show the Sun’s most recent coronal mass ejection, a visually-stunning event that sent a 200,000 mile-long magnetic filament erupting off the surface. The filament — about 25 times the diameter of the Earth — left behind a spectacular view of the magnetic fields that held it in place. NASA’s calling it a “canyon of fire” and that’s an apt description of what it looks like. The imagery used in the video doesn’t capture light in the visible spectrum, and it was recorded from the 29th and 30th of September, when the coronal mass ejection exploded in Earth’s direction at an estimated 530 miles per second.
Samsung sold over 40 million Galaxy S4s in six months – Sure, Samsung’s sold more than 38 million Galaxy Notes since late 2011, but its latest flagship puts that number to shame. According to a Korean publication, the company has sold 40 million Galaxy S4 units worldwide, just six months after the device hit the market.
It’s a hearty milestone, although it’s not a particularly surprising one — the phone moved more than 10 million units in its first month alone. Samsung’s JK Shin didn’t give inews24 specifics on how the sales broke down between the device’s assorted models, but we’re betting that the golden S4 didn’t take the lion’s share.
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