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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fitness discipline at any cost?

Is your New Year's resolution to get back into shape succeeding? No? Well, how about an app that may motivate you better to reach your goal?

Two fitness apps -- RunKeeper and GymPact -- have joined together to help you keep track of your workouts, PLUS keep you on your program. How? It charges you MONEY for not going to the gym, but PAYS you for exercising. It's also connected to the social media, so you can shame yourself if you skip the morning workout. 

If you keep on falling off the wagon, maybe a little tough love will do the trick. Good luck!

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More from IFA: HTC Desire X, LED TVs, Tom Tom Android app, more

desirex.jpgHTC debuted the Desire X smartphone, pictured, at the IFA electronic trade show in Berlin this week. The midrange phone runs on Android's Ice Cream Sandwich operating system on a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor. The screen is a 4-inch super LCD with an 800x480 pixel resolution. It come with a 5 megapixel camera with HTC's ImageChip, and the Beats Audio Technology. The U.S. release date and price haven't been released yet.

More IFA highlights

Techradar.com has some other highlights from Europe's biggest tech event, including the HP tablet/laptop hybrid, LED TVs from Panasonic, Phillips and Sharp, and more. 

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The Daily Drivers: Chevy Camaro ZL1 looks mean, has muscle

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We expected the 580-horsepower Chevy Camaro ZL1 to be a total beast to drive. We were wrong. Sure, it's a muscle car on steroids, but one with comfortable seats and, for the most part, a surprisingly civil manner.

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Samsung's new list of gadgets from IFA

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Despite its recent setback with the Apple verdict, Samsung plowed through unveiling its new offerings at the IFA electronics trade show in Berlin on Wednesday. Among them is the Galaxy Note 2 with a 5.5-inch 16:9 HD Super AMOLED screen. The multitasker runs on 1.6 GHz quad-core processor and is powered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Memory options are 16GB, 32 GB and 64 GB with a micro SD memory slot for expansion, and 2 GB of RAM. It has Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G connectivity.

Note 2 is suited for multitasking with several features: Air View lets users preview the content by hovering with the S Pen; Popup Note opens the S Note application in a pop-up window; Quick Command can activate frequently used apps with the S Pen; and Screen Recorder can record a sequence of actions on the screen.

The S Pen in enhanced for a more natural writing and drawing feel. There's also the Easy Clip feature that outlines and crops any content on the screen to save, share or paste. Idea Visualizer lets users add illustrations by handwriting keywords. …

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Sony's new products at IFA includes 84-inch TV

There were lots of announcements from Sony in their presentation at IFA trade show in Berlin on Wednesday. Here are some highlights:

HDTV

bravia84i.jpgAmong the biggest, literally in the industry right now, is the new 84-inch Bravia 4K LCD TV (KD-84X9005). The much-anticipated TV has a 3840 x 2160 4K LCD panel with 4 times the resolution of full high definition. It has the super-resolution high picture quality engine (4K X-Reality PRO) which, Sony says, can convert any content to 4K quality. Sony expects the global release of this Bravia by the holiday season this year. Sony hasn't announced the prices for the U.S. market yet.

Phones

Three new Xperia Android phones are coming soon: the flagship Xperia T, Xperia V and Xperia J.

The Xperia T comes with a 4.6-inch display,  runs on a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and is 4G LTE capable. Its 13MP camera has a sleep-to-snap function where you can take a photo with a push of a key instead of fumbling for an app. The device can connect to other NFC (Near Field Communication) peripherals with a touch with the phone.

The Xperia V is a bit smaller at 4.3-inch screen, but also has the 13MP camera with 4G LTE capability and is waterproof up to IP55 and IP57. …

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End of the world as you know it with Windows 8?

MIcrosoft's Windows 8 -- due out in October --  is expected to be a game changer on how we use computers by integrating mobile and desktop computing. CNet looks at 5 ways the operating system will overhaul the PC, including touch interface, the "edge" and tiles.

 But CNet also looks into what's missing from Windows 8. Mail, Calendar and Messaging, to name a few, need some work. 

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An oasis for mobile gadgeteers: Verizon Wireless sets up mobile service center for RNC

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To make things easier for conventioneers, Verizon Wireless has set up a mobile service center in downtown Tampa. The mobile unit will have data experts and technicians who can share advice and tips on mobile devices. Phones, tablets, aircards, and other devices and accessories will be available to purchase. There also will be free charging stations for those looking for a place to plug in. 

The "store on wheels" is open Tuesday until 10 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Liberty Plaza along North Morgan Street, between East Whiting and East Bell streets.

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App helps you stay connected to RNC events

rnc..jpgIt's a day late, but the Republican National Convention is kicking into high gear. If you want to be more connected with the all goings-on, check out the 2012 RNC app from AT&T. The free app is designed for delegates attending the conventions as well as others who just want to be involved.

Among the key features:

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What does Apple's win over Samsung mean to consumers?

Apple's win Friday over Samsung in the patent-infringement lawsuit opens up a lot of questions for consumers. Will this affect current Samsung owners? Will Samsung stop selling its mobile devices? Here's a look at what the verdict will mean

Meanwhile, the verdict is a major victory for the late Steve Jobs, former Apple CEO, who stressed the importance of how the device looks and feels just as must as how it works. 

Apple has asked for these Samsung devices to be banned from the U.S. market. A judge will decide on this later.

• Galaxy S 4G 

• Galaxy S2 AT&T

• Galaxy S2

• Galaxy S2 T-Mobile

• Galaxy S2 Epic 4G

• Galaxy S Showcase

• Droid Charge

• Galaxy Prevail

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Apps that make your smartphone camera even better

instagram.jpgImproved quality and ease of sharing are making smartphones more popular as a primary camera. If you want to be more creative with your images, there are apps to edit, store and share images, and they don't cost a fortune. Here are 12 photo apps worth a look, and many of them are free.

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Roundup: Free apps, SkyDrive update, WP8 phones, Facebook facelift, dinner discounts

Go ahead, it's free: Every Thursday, Apple's iTunes Store reveals a new Free App of the Week. Some you may use frequently, some you may not, but download it anyway. It might come in handy in the future, and it doesn't have to take up any space.   CNet

SkyDrive update: Microsoft freshened up its SkyDrive cloud service on the Web with a new interface. It's also coming out with an Android app in a few weeks.  PCWorld

More Microsoft phones coming soon: New Windows Phone 8 devices appears to be on the way to Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. Verizon announced it will carry its first new Nokia WP8 phone later this year, which might be the boost Microsoft desperately needs.  Two new devices are expected to be unveiled in September for AT&T and T-Mobile.   ComputerWorld

Faster Facebook: Facebook launched a faster version of its iPhone and iPad app after users complained of how slow it performed. The company said it rebuilt the app from scratch to speed it up and to make it less clunky.   Fox News …

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Jury: Samsung infringed on Apple's patents

A federal jury on Friday found that Samsung did copy some of Apple's designs for mobile devices and software, ending a three-week trial in San Jose. It awarded damages totalling just over $1 billion, but less than half of what Apple requested.

The jury also found that Samsung's claim that Apple infringed on its patents is invalid

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Obama vs. Romney on your iPad and iPhone

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President Barack Obama in Spandex fights Republican candidate Mitt Romney with a light saber. Meanwhile, Romney fights back with a barbecue fork and martial arts suit. Just in time for the upcoming presidential debates, it's a political slugfest on your iPhone or iPad in a new game called Vote!!! 

The app lets you pit the two candidates against each other starting with a fight on the debate stage with a microphone. You can unlock other arenas (White House lawn, Oval Office), weapons (light saber, rubber chicken), costumes (superhero, boxer, Uncle Sam) and more as you win points and coins, or you can also buy coins to upgrade your caricature characters. 

Nothing extra fancy here, but just a light hearted fun as the election season heats up. 

Free at the iTunes Store. 

 

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Logitech's new crumb-, coffee- and waterproof keyboard

logitechkeyboard.jpgFinally. No more coffee spills and crumbs in the keyboard. Logitech has a new full-size keyboard that's spill-proof and washable. The white-on-black Logitech Washable Keyboard K310 has a sleek look and can be submerged in water up to 11 inches deep, and can be handwashed with soap and water. And it won't break the bank: $39.99 at logitech.com


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The Daily Drivers: Audi Allroad brings luxury, style to crossover field

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Automakers often go to great lengths to avoid the term "station wagon." Case in point: Audi's all-new Allroad, a crossover that combines luxury with a little off-road capability and replaces the A4 Avant wagon. Still it's a shame about the name: This is one fine wagon.

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