Fire drill: can Tony Fadell and Nest build a better smoke detector? – This is the Nest Protect, a $129 smoke and carbon monoxide detector. Instead of simply beeping, it tells you exactly what and where the problem is, and you shut it up just by waving at it. It will last for years on six AA batteries, and ping your smartphone when they need to be replaced. And it serves as an activity sensor for the Nest Learning Thermostat, letting it more accurately adjust your heating and cooling as it learns when you’re home and away. It is ridiculously expensive — Amazon’s best-selling smoke detector costs $31 — and oddly beautiful. Particularly the black one, which dramatically sets off the multicolor LED ring around the button and lends a touch of ‘80s flair to Nest’s logo.
Samsung import ban reportedly in effect after President Obama declines to veto ITC order – In August the International Trade Commission issued a ruling that banned the import of some older Samsung smartphones and tablets for violating Apple’s patent portfolio.
The White House had 60 days during which it could have stepped in and veto the decision, according to multiple reports President Obama declined to do so — and the ban is now in effect.
The ITC ruling doesn’t specify precisely which devices will be covered, but it has been established that older devices like the Galaxy S 4G, Fascinate, and Galaxy Tab do infringe. At issue are two Apple patents that cover scrolling behavior and a device’s ability to detect when headphones are plugged in.
HTC One Max with fingerprint scanner coming October 15th, says WSJ – Corroborating recent reports, The Wall Street Journal says that the 5.9-inch HTC One Max will be revealed on October 15th and will include the fingerprint scanner seen in leaked photos. The One Max has been rumored since July, and images so far show a giant phone that maintains the look of the 4.7-inch HTC One shown above, but an initial announce date of September has slipped into October. Now, though, both Phone Arena and two sources from the Journal have confirmed an October 15th date.
PayPal’s Payment Code lets you purchase with QR codes – Still trying to get the hang of NFC purchasing and the many, many other forms of digital payment? PayPal has now launched another that’ll let you procure items via a QR code. You can pay by checking in with PayPal at a given store, after which you can enter a PIN or bring up a QR code for the merchant to scan. PayPal says that along with the extra convenience, the main advantage for consumers will be the ability to redeem any coupons, rewards or gift cards you may have saved in your PayPal digital wallet.
Raspberry Pi celebrates a million boards made in the UK – The Raspberry Pi foundation has just announced its one-millionth board manufactured in the UK at Sony’s Pencoed facility and said that 1.75 million total boards have been built so far. Production initially started in Asia in order to keep costs down and supplies up, but shifted to the UK in September last year thanks to Sony’s “lean manufacturing techniques.” The Pi group lauded Sony for the quality of the boards, and said the millionth unit will be kept in a gold-plated case at “Pi Towers” in Cambridge.
Police have started busting alleged top Silk Road drug dealers – After seizing the digital black market Silk Road and arresting its alleged owner, the police are now going after the users of the site. Police have arrested a man in Washington alleged to be one of the top 1 percent of drug sellers as well as four users in the U.K. with more arrests to come, according to news reports. Two Swedish men were also reportedly arrested for selling marijuana on Silk Road. It’s unclear to what degree the arrests are related to the takedown of Silk Road, but the timing is probably not a coincidence. These are the first known arrests of Silk Road users in these countries. The overall number of Silk Road busts is relatively low, considering the site did more than $1.2 billion in sales according to the FBI.
Google announces HP Chromebook 11 for $279, we go hands-on – The laptop is sleek and attractive, especially considering the ultra-accessible price. At 2.3 pounds (1.4kg), the machine feels extremely light in the hand, though the magnesium framing also lends some sturdiness. The design is completely screw-free, leaving the lid and back bare. Incidentally, the machine is also free of vents or fans — with the Sasmung Exynos 5250 GAIA APU under the hood, hopefully things won’t get too toasty. That processing unit is accompanied by 2GB of RAM, and a 16GB SSD is the sole storage option.
AT&T updates iOS and Android U-verse apps to livestream more than 100 channels – available on Android and iOS — people who’ve already signed up for AT&T’s family or higher U-verse service will now be able to watch more than 100 live channels on their smaller screens. The full range of U-verse’s live channels will only be available to users who stay within the confines of their home network. When away from the house, U-verse subscribers will be restricted to just over 20 live channels, including NFL Network, SHOWTIME, and The Movie Channel. The app still allows access to the “thousands of hours” of on-demand shows and movies it did prior to the update, as well as extra content including episode synopses and cast information.
Office for iPad to debut after touch-friendly Windows version – Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has revealed that the company is planning to bring Office to the iPad with a touch user interface. Speaking at a Gartner event in Florida today, Ballmer said “iPad will be picked up when there’s a touch first user interface.” That touch first interface appears to be making its way to the Windows version of Office first, with the iPad edition to follow afterwards. Ballmer noted the touch first interface is “in progress.” Microsoft has previously released an Office version for iPhone without support for the iPad, noting at the time that tablet users could make use of Office Web Apps in the browser instead
Google Hangouts update teased in leaked screenshots, SMS integration incoming – Wondering what new features we’ll see once Google official unveils the Nexus 5? Android Police has a hint: an overhauled, more comprehensive Hangouts app. A pair of leaked screenshots seem to deliver on a promise Google made back in May, and show evidence of an SMS integrated hangout app. An image of the app’s conversation window shows that messages will be branded by their delivery method, including a “via SMS” tag next to the text’s time stamp.
Loop turns almost any point-of-sale system into a mobile payment machine – In a small shop on University Avenue in Palo Alto, mobile payments vet Will Graylin proudly points out the point-of-sale (POS) system sitting next to the register. “This is a 13-year-old Hypercom,” Will explains, emphasizing its age and the lack of modern mobile payment options. Then, he does something we haven’t seen before: he puts his iPhone next to the mag-stripe reader, taps a button on his screen and the transaction gets processed as if he’d physically swiped his card.
Thanks for reading,