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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Samsung Galaxy Camera

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It's baaaack: BlackBerry introduces new phones

It was a day for new beginnings for Research in Motion, the maker the BlackBerry phones. Not only did it introduced the new operating system – BlackBerry 10 – and phones to go with it, it also announced that it's leaving behind its old name and will now be called – drumroll – BlackBerry.

blackberryz10.jpgThe two phones – Z10 and Q10 – and the operating system come with high hopes to revive the fading brand with more competitive touchscreen smartphones. 

CEO Thorsten Heins called the Z10 “the most beautiful BlackBerry we have ever launched."

I can’t wait for you to try it out. We knew a large beautiful display was important.This is the window into the BlackBerry 10 experience.”

The Z10, which will come in black or white, will be available in the United States in March, and will be carried by AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. 

For those who miss typing on a QWERTY keyboard instead of the virtual touchscreen keys, BlackBerry has the Q10.

(Photo of BlackBarry Z10 by BlackBerry)

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Roundup: Girl Scout Cookie app, workout tracking, smarter cars, more

cookiesapp.jpgGot cookies? If you're craving for some Girl Scout cookies, here's an app to help you find some. With the Girl Scout Cookie Locator, a free app for the iOS and Android, you can search for sales in your area, or elsewhere when you're on the road. You can also have some fun finding your cookie personality, and test some recipes using the cookies. 

Tracking your workouts: The target demographic for people who would use a wearable fitness trackers is limited – only four in 100, according to a report. Nike FuelBand seems to be the most popular, possibly because of brand recognition. Wired

Low tech: Meanwhile, according to the Pew Research Center's poll, 69 percent to U.S. adults track their health without the use of gadgets. Mashable

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Apple doubles next-generation iPad to 128 GB

ipad_0.jpgApple announced today that its fourth-generation iPad with Retina Display will have 128GB versions, priced at $799 for Wi-Fi-only version, and $929 for cellular (plus data fees). That's twice the storage capacity of the third-generation iPads.

The new iPads will have a 9.7-inch Retina display, A6X chip, FaceTime HD camera, iOS 6.1, fast wireless capability, 

The new tablets – in black or white – will be available on Feb. 5, just in time for Valentine's Day. 

 Photo: Apple

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Be forewarned. Unlocking new smartphones will be illegal starting Saturday

Smartphones purchased after Saturday can no longer be unlocked legally without carrier approval. The exemption from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 no longer applies to new phones purchased Jan . 26 and later.

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Time running out to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for cheap

windows8pro.jpgThe clock is ticking if you're thinking about upgrading to a Windows 8 Pro for $40. The offer for the upgrade, which usually costs $200,  expires on Thursday, Jan. 31. 

You'll have to have Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, Vindows 7 or Windows Consumer Preview or Windows 8 Release Preview in order to use the upgrade. 

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Workouts on the go with some fitness apps

Times wires

Have you set a goal to get back in shape this year? ShopSmart  magazine has some suggestions for apps to help you stick to your goals. Smartphones allow you to take workout guides with them wherever you are. Here are some suggestions:

crossfit.jpgCrossFit Travel is designed to help users stay on course while on the road. All workouts, aside from running, are designed for small spaces, such as a hotel room or bedroom. The app includes more than 120 Workouts of the Day that can be tailored to users' preferences. Works on Android, $2.

Daily Arm Workout can help users tone up. Like the Daily Butt, Cardio and Leg Workout apps, Daily Arm Workout is loaded with video instructions for easy-to-follow moves to tone a particular body part that needs attention. Users can get fit anywhere as each app has short routines that require little or no equipment. Works on Apple and Android, free (pay $1 for more exercises and no ads). …

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Free Amazon Prime for 6 months for students

 College students. If you have an email that ends with .edu, you can sign up to get Amazon Prime free for six months. That means lots of free movies, TV shows and video games, plus free two-day shipping for all of your textbook and school supplies. Amazon will also send you deal specifically for students. So check it out!

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Roundup: NASCAR app for fans, free calls on Facebook, Samsung's Fonblet, more

ramenbowl_610x406.jpgLoneliness buster: No more lonely dinner over a how bowl of instant ramen. This "anti-loneliness ramen bowl" designed by MisoSoupDesign will hold your smartphone at the edge of the bowl so you can browse the web or chat while you're slurping the noodles.   CNet

Smartphone app takes over as DJ: Cox Radio made history Friday by turning its WSUN-FM (97.1) into the first local station in the area to play songs selected by fans who use a free smartphone app.  Eric Deggans, Tampa Bay Times

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Consumer Electronics Show is over, but the buzz remains

The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show has concluded in Las Vegas last week. Here's a look at some of the highlights.

curved_oled_0.jpgSuper high def TVs

Samsung showed off three huge-screen 4K – a.k.a. ultra-HD – televisions, an 84-inch, 95-inch and 110-inch models. The 84-inch 4K TV has gone up for pre-order in Korea for 40 million won, equivalent to about $37,900. Other offerings included a gesture-controlled TV so you can swipe through menus without using a remote control. This new interface will be available on future Samsung smart TVs, and is available to some previous models as an add-on kit. Another TV had a curved OLED surface.

Sony's 56-inch OLED ultra-high definitionTV and LG's 55-inch OLED TV offer sizes that are likely more attractive to regular consumers. Prices haven't been announced yet, but they're surely less – under $10,000 – compared to those of the ginormous one. These TVs are expected to be available later this year. 


Big names of Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation, both of which are expected to release new versions of their consoles later this year, were absent at this year's CES. Does this indicate a change in gaming trends or waning demand?  …

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Google honors the great Zamboni


Google honors Frank Zamboni, the Italian inventor of the ice resurfacing machine, with an interactive game on its home page to mark his birthday. Zamboni invented the first self-propelled machine in 1949. 

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Roundup: Facebook announcement, apps to destress, BlackBerry 10 debut, more

What's in store for Facebook announcement on Tuesday?: Facebook is holding a press event Tuesday to announce its new offerings, probably including the Messenger for the iPad. But what else? A phone maybe? TechCrunch

WP8 phone deals: Looking for a deal for a Windows Phone 8 smartphone? Check out AT&T's promotion where you get $100 off on one phone when you buy another. If you're buying two WP8 phones, he one with the lower price will get the discount. Good for new activations an upgrades.

Apple predictions: Apple TV platform will be big in 2013, with possibly the next generation AppleTV and an integrated iTV. Forbes

Destress with iPhone apps: These eight iPhone apps can help you manage your stress level in the new year.  USA Today

Memorize anything with this app: Mind Vault ($2.99, iOS) is a tool to help you to memorize any text. Save the text, and the app can gradually remove portions of the text as you recite it, helping you memorize the passage.

A sobering look: A new app called Drinking Mirror app (Android, iOS) shows you how you might look after 10 years of drinking at your current rate. CNet …

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No-contract iPhones at Walmart available Friday

Want to get an iPhone, but balking at the steep upfront cost and high monthly fees? Here are a couple of plans worth looking into. 

Walmart, in conjunction with Straight Talk Wireless, will begin offering a new no-contract unlimited plan using an Apple iPhone 4 or iPhone 5. These phones can be purchased with a financing plan which comes out to about $25 a month (with a Walmart credit card). 

The no-contract plan is $45 (plus taxes and fees) for unlimited nationwide talk, text and data. A plan that also includes unlimited international calling to more than 1,000 destinations is $60.

Straight Talk says its plan saves consumers an average of about $950 a year compared to a conventional unlimited plans. 

“We believe customers shouldn’t have to choose between saving money and having the latest technology,” said Seong Ohm, senior vice president of Entertainment for Walmart U.S. “Now customers can have the coveted iPhone with unlimited talk, text and data without a contract for $70 a month thanks to our exclusive Straight Talk plan and industry first financing offer.” …

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Do not do this at home: FB post leads to burglary

A teenager in Australia posted a photo of a big stack of cash (her grandmother's savings) on Facebook. Hours later, two masked and armed men forced their way into the house to get to steal it. They didn't find the entire amount and left with just a small amount of money. 

Moral of this story: Do not post photos of valuables, or the fact that you're leaving the house unattended, on social media sites. 

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CES gadget show lineup

CES type goes here and here.

More type goes here and here.Full Story