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Today in Tech News Digest, Amazon’s 3D smartphone, Google’s modular Project Ara, preventing smartphone thefts, texting while driving, making your own 2048 game, and Clippy compromises Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1.
Amazon’s Smartphone Is Revealed, Kinda
Amazon’s smartphone is unlike anything the world has ever seen. My exclusive, including the first photos ever: http://t.co/Xv9pfOnwzE
— Zach Epstein (@zacharye)
There have been rumors and speculation surrounding Amazon’s first smartphone for months, but BGR has obtained photos of the device that, at the very least, prove that it’s real. We also now have a fair idea about the specs and release date for this future hardware.
Despite the photos, how the Amazon smartphone will look is still a mystery thanks to a protective shell obscuring the design. The name is also a mystery, though we’d stake money on it including the word Fire, as the recently released Fire TV does.
The biggest differentiator between this and the other smartphones on the market will be the 3D display, which will, like the Nintendo 3DS, work without glasses. The Amazon smartphone will run on a customized version of Android and feature a 4.7-inch 720p HD display.
Expect to see the Amazon smartphone officially announced around June, with a launch following in the summer. A second Amazon smartphone, with entry-level specs and a lower price point, will follow later. That is if BGR’s sources turn out to be telling the truth, of course.
Google Reveals Project Ara Release Date
Also, Project Ara would be the perfect smartphone for parents to give teenagers. No straight A’s? You lose the camera for a month
— Brad Molen (@phonewisdom) April 15, 2014
During the first Project Ara developer’s conference, Google revealed it’s aiming to release the base model of Ara as early as January 2015, with a price tag of $50. This “Gray Phone” will literally be gray in order to encourage customization.
As expected, the Project Ara modular smartphone will run on Android, with Google adding drivers in December enabling Android to support dynamic hardware. The chassis around which the whole phone will be built is promised to last for “five to six years.” Which isn’t at all bad for $50.
Preventing Smartphone Thefts, Soon
MY BROTHER GOT HIS PHONE STOLEN WHEN HE WAS MUGGED AND MY MOM GOT HIM A 5S I WANNA BE MUGGED WTF
— lauren (@AgentChodyBanks) April 11, 2014
The effort to include anti-theft measures in smartphones is coming together, with the wireless industry announcing a voluntary commitment to including the technology in new hardware from 2015. This isn’t quite the “kill-switch” favored by some, but it’s better than nothing.
Under the plan, devices sold after July 2015 will include “the ability to remotely wipe data and be rendered inoperable, if the user chooses, to prevent the device from being reactivated without the owner’s permission.”
According to Re/code, the list of names on board include Apple, Google, Microsoft, HTC, Huawei, Nokia, and Samsung, as well as “the five largest U.S. cellular carriers.” None of whom usually work well together.
A Reminder Not To Text While Driving
Texting while driving is bad, mmmkay? If you’re still partaking in this idiotic practice then please refrain from doing so in the future. While it may not be illegal to text while driving in all countries or all parts of the United States, it’s still an extremely bad idea.
The latest example of how much of a bad idea it is to text while driving comes from Australia, where a 21-year-old by the name of Kimberley Davis struck a cyclist from behind due to being too busy using her phone. She lost her license, and the cyclist almost lost his life. The subject is no laughing matter, but the video embedded above is rather amusing.
Learn How To Make Your Own 2048 Game
my #1 problem with my life right now is 2048
— jæ (@beyoncebeytwice) April 16, 2014
If you’re addicted to 2048 and its many variants then you could, if you so desire, make your own 2048 game. Thanks to the open-source nature of 2048 all of the tools needed to do so are available online. And thanks to Udacity, so is the knowledge.
Clippy Compromises Cortana
And finally, Clippy is back, but only in the form of an Easter egg for those using Windows Phone 8.1. The much-hated former Office assistant is one of a handful of Cortana Easter eggs discovered so far, with Windows Phone Central finding him.
Clippy also recently popped up on Office 365 as an April Fool’s Day joke, so while he may have retired in 2001 he can never be forgotten. As the video above shows, Cortana also responds specifically to questions about Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates, and Satya Nadella.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.
Image Credit: Paul Fisher via Flickr