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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Roundup: Galaxy S4 sales milestone, time-saving apps, worst gadget flops, more

Windows' Phone YouTube app: Windows Phone will rework its YouTube app to be like how Google wants it to be.   PC World

Time saver: A Harris Interactive market study has found that smartphone apps help users save 88 minutes of their time in a day, or 22 days a year.   NDTV Gadgets

Cool to the touch:
Windows 8 users aren't that into touch-friendly Windows 8 apps, according to a usage pattern study by Soluto, a cloud-based PC management services provider.

Key to becoming a best-selling phone: Meeting supply demand and brand perception are major factors a smartphone's success.   New York Times

25 worst gadget flops: There's been some real gadget duds over the years. Here's a look at 25 of the worst of all time.  Yahoo

There's no app for that:
Research shows that Windows Phone users don't have many as many choices for the most popular apps that work on their devices.

Hot seller:
Samsung reports that the new flagship phone, the Galaxy S4, has surpassed the 10-million mark in worldwide sales in less than a month.   New York Times

Going green for just a few bucks: Make your own solar-powered phone charger for around $5.

User data for sale:
Wall Street Journal published a report that says cell phone companies are selling or looking to sell information about their customers, Verizon being the first to move in this direction.

Customer satisfaction survey: A study finds that no contract cell phone services and smaller carriers are gaining in popularityForbes

What's next? SmartCars?
General Motors says some models will have in-car apps starting later this yearCNet

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Roundup: Tweet from a diaper, Apple milestone, more

Renaming the phone: Newt Gingrich takes a stab at renaming the cell phone. He says the device does much more than just make phone calls. It's more ike a "I have been calling it a handheld computer," he says on the Gingrich Productions YouTube channel.   ABC News

Sexters beware:
The Snapchat app that lets users share a photo that will "self-destruct" seconds after it's viewed, actually isn't foolproof. Forensic experts showed that with right tools, Snapchat photos can be retrieved.   Huffington Post

Favorite photo apps:
Billions of photos are taken every month using a smartphone. And there are apps to make those photos look even cooler with filters and special effects. Here are some favorites.   USA Today

iOS photos in the cloud:
Amazon launched its Cloud Drive Photos app for iOS devices (Android version has been available since November) that stores photos in the Amazon Cloud. Free for 5GB of space.

Mommy's helper: There's an app for just about anything, including this: The Huggies TweetPee app, which is connected to a sensor, sends a tweet to the parents when the baby's diaper needs changing. Really?  ABC News

Getting out of a jam: A risk management and investigations firm introduced an app that helps you navigate all sorts of sticky business scenarios.   Computerworld

Facebook phone price drop: It has been only a month since its release, but the "Facebook Phone" which originally was $99.99 with a contract, is now discounts to 99 cents with a two-year AT&T contract.  Forbes

Near milestone: Apple is getting ready to celebrate its 50 billionth app download, and the person who does that will get a $10,000 iTunes Store gift card. The next 50 downloads will get $500 gift cards.   MacRumors

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Zip your way to fitness with Fitbit, Smartscale

The Withings Smart Bodyscale measures weight, body fat and lean mass percentages.


The Withings Smart Bodyscale measures weight, body fat and lean mass percentages.

Fitbit Zip

Every step counts when you're trying to get fit. Even if you're not actively exercising. With the Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker, you can log them all. This tiny device helps track your efforts to get back in shape. It counts your steps, measures the distance you traveled and how many calories you burned as you exercise or go about your regular day.

The case comes in a choice of five colors: lime, blue, white, magenta and charcoal. I recommend getting a bright-colored one, so it's easy to find if you misplace it (or if you drop it on your car with dark interior). But if you're going to wear it externally, a black one might draw less attention.
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Sony SmartWatch is portal to your phone functions

The SmartWatch bands come in several color choices.


The SmartWatch bands come in several color choices.

First, let's make clear what Sony's SmartWatch is NOT.

It's not a standalone watch-style smartphone. This little gizmo is more like a digital watch and a second screen that sits on your wrist for your Android phone (not compatible with iPhones.) Wirelessly paired via Bluetooth 3.0, the SmartWatch keeps some basic functions at your fingertips without having to dig out your phone from your pocket or purse. It can act as a remote for your phone's music player, and also show messages, emails, and calendar reminders, among other functions. If paired with Sony Xperia phones, it can also take calls with this device, but not with other brands. Make sure you check your phone's compatibility before you splurge on this device.

Note this limitation: You'll have to keep the phone within about 10 yards of you to maintain connection. So if you go out jogging, the SmartWatch is great to glance at incoming notifications, but you'll still have to carry your smartphone with you. But if you have, say, an armband holding your phone, a glance down at the watch is much easier than working your big phone during your exercises. Vibrations alert you to new messages, which you can scroll to read. If you're in a loud area, or you have to turn off your phone ringer, you can still be aware of incoming messages or calls on the SmartWatch.

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