Almost as soon as news broke in February that Netflix had agreed to pay Comcast for a direct connection to its network, Verizon and AT&T were in line with their hands out as well. Verizon reached a deal months ago -- that so far has done little to resolve streaming issues -- and now Netflix and AT&T have confirmed that they reached an agreement in May, as first reported by Mashable. In a statement, they said the process of turning up the connections should take place "over the coming days." Netflix CEO Reed Hastings already laid out his disapproval of the ISPs and their policies, and more recently suggested that if the Comcast / Time Warner Cable merger goes through, the combined behemoth should be barred from charging for interconnects. We wouldn't be surprised to hear something similar about the proposed AT&T / DirecTV combo too, and with the FCC's recent statements on this issue we suspect things are far from settled.
Despite the popularity of smartphone (and tablet) cameras increasing by the minute, companies like Canon aren't ready to throw in the towel for classics such as the point-and-shoot. With that in mind, the Japanese camera maker has introduced a pair of compact, super-zoom shooters: the PowerShot SX400 IS and PowerShot XS520HS. For starters, the entry-level SX400 IS, priced at $250, comes with a 16-megapixel CCD sensor, Digic 4+ image chip and 30x optical zoom, plus a number of "Smart Auto" features that Canon hopes make it easy for users to snap some great quality photos and video. The SX520 HS, on the other hand, is $400, but the heavier price tag, naturally, signifies a better spec sheet. There's a 16-megapixel High-Sensitivity sensor (with the same image processor as the SX400), 42x optical zoom and a mini-HDMI, as well as speedy autofocus and enhanced stabilization systems. If you're interested, you won't have to wait long to get one -- Canon's bringing the new PowerShots to market soon, starting with the SX400 IS in August and SX520HS the following month.
We knew Instagram's effort to nab a bit of Snapchat's thunder was imminent thanks to leaked promo banners, and now, the app has officially arrived... for some. Bolt, the filter-driven photo app's own ephemeral messenger has hit iTunes and Google Play for folks in Singapore, South Africa and New Zealand. The software's claim to fame is speed: instead of having to fiddle through a series of options, tapping a contact's picture both captures and sends a photo -- no further swiping required (tap and hold records video). So long as they're in your favorites list, of course. There's also an undo feature that allows you to retrieve a message in the first few seconds by shaking your phone. While Bolt doesn't require a Facebook or Instagram account, you will have to sign up with your phone number for sorting through your contacts. For now though, most of us have to find solace in just reading about it, since a select few locales are privy to the initial rollout. Instagram's word on that particular strategy is situated after the break.
One of Twitter's primary concerns is that the number of active users -- those who use the network at least once a month -- continues to grow at a healthy pace, and its latest quarterly earnings confirm that the social network has been eating its vegetables. After reporting a solid growth of 14 million active users last quarter, the service brought in 16 million this time around, reaching a grand total of 271 million. This is an increase of 6.3 percent, which is an improvement over last quarter's 5.8 percent (though not quite as good as the ten percent growth the company saw a year ago). Not bad, given that it had to admit a slowing number of new users earlier this year in its first earnings report as an IPO. Of this number, Twitter acknowledged that 78 percent of them are actively using the service on mobile devices (this is reflected in the fact that 81 percent of advertising revenue comes from smartphones and tablets).
It's no secret that 3D printing is making big strides for the future of not just technology, but medicine and space exploration as well. And the United States Army is looking to leverage the platform for its warhead production. 3D printing is nothing new to this particular branch of the military, as it has been working on bioprinted replacement skin for battle wounds -- amongst other projects. The Army is looking to implement the tech to produce components for the weapons that will both reduce cost and increase customization. "The real value you get is you can get more safety, lethality or operational capability from the same space," said materials engineer James Zunino. Part of the allure here is that warheads could also be built to suit each mission, rather being mass-produced to outfit a range of duties. But the Army isn't stopping with pieces: the possibility of printing an entire rocket isn't too far fetched given how quickly 3D printing continues to develop. As with any military-grade weapon, the risk of the production files falling into the wrong hands is certainly a concern.
[Photo credit: Aamir QureshiI/AFP/Getty Images]
Getting Democrats and Republicans to pass an act of Congress is the exception more than the rule. But if there's one thing both sides of the aisle can agree on, it's that the US policy for unlocking phones is backwards. Early last year, it became illegal to unlock your handset for use on other carriers unless your provider directly gives you the permission to do so. Thanks to moves from the Senate and House this month, legislation to remove this restriction is just a presidential signature away from passing; it's not a permanent solution, but at least it's a step in the right direction for consumer freedom.
One of the things you can't find on the Apple TV is an official store for apps, but this hasn't kept the tiny box from becoming a solid device for entertainment purposes. To make things better, the Apple TV is adding Fox Now and CNBC to its ever-growing content repertoire, though there are the usual pay-TV caveats to consider. If you do have the right subscription, however, you can unlock each application's full potential right away, which means access to a lot more videos, live and on-demand. Fox Now, for its part, features full episodes from different shows, including Glee, Family Guy, New Girl and Masterchef. CNBC, meanwhile, lets you watch a live stream of some of its programming if you're a cable subscriber; as 9to5Mac points out, there are on-demand clips available within the news-focused channel, but that's as much as cord-cutters should expect. Both new apps are showing up on our Apple TV already, so be prepared to see them on yours the next time you power it on.
Heart rate monitors are no longer the exclusive domain of fitness gadgets. The last 12 months have seen sensors make their way into smartphones and wearables, replacing for many of us the need for a standalone pulse monitor. The problem is a lot of these options have been unable to deliver accurate heart rate mesurements, partly because those sensors have to maintain contact with your skin; if they slip, then the readout skips. Maybe LG has the answer, then: Put heart rate monitoring technology into a pair of Bluetooth headphones. If you're like me and are constantly wired for sound during workouts, what could possibly be better?
LG's Heart Rate Monitor earphones link to an iOS/Android app, with absolutely nothing burdening your wrists. LG's fitness app can even add your exercise sessions to a step counter, so long as you buy LG's optional Lifeband Touch fitness band. What's more, the app also integrates with other fitness apps like RunKeeper. It all sounds great on paper, but there's a problem: the headphones don't actually sound good. Let me explain.
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