Samsung Brightside review: This ain't no killer

All week reviewing the Samsung Brightside, I've had that Killers song, "Mr. Brightside," running through my head. It's a great soundtrack to review by, but I hate to say it: the phone just doesn't deserve it.

The Brightside is a feature phone, which isn't a crime in itself. Conceptually, feature phones satisfy the need of bringing functionality like e-mail and a larger-than-flip-phone screen to the segment of people who don't want to or can't afford to pay a monthly recurring data fee.… Read more

iPad 3: What we didn't get

The dust has finally settled, the rumors have been replaced by facts, and now we know what the new iPad is all about. So what's missing? Or what fell a little short of expectations?

Here's the quick rundown. Feel free to add to the mix with your own take in the comments section.

New design: When the iPhone 4S came out, a lot of folks were disappointed Apple didn't deliver the iPhone 5. Instead, we got a souped up version of the iPhone 4 with a better camera and no real design changes (Apple did move the … Read more

Site briefly let people bet on expected iPad 3 features

You may be familiar with Apple keynote bingo, but have you ever heard of Apple keynote gambling?

Correctly guessing whether Apple's next iPad will have a snazzier display, or even be called the iPad 3 could have resulted in a cash prize as part of a now-defunct contest.

Sky Bet, the U.K.-based sports betting group, today briefly offered a way to place wagers on features that may or may not come to Apple's next tablet. That tablet is largely expected to be unveiled at the company's press event on March 7.

The betting page, which … Read more

iOS security loophole lets apps grab user photos

An iOS security feature that lets users share information about their location can also be a conduit for those applications to surreptitiously grab user photos, according to a new report.

The New York Times' Bits blog today details how developers can gain access to a user's entire photo library through the same user dialog window that requests access to a user's current location. When users click the OK button, the report says, the developer can then copy photos--complete with GPS metadata--to a remote server, without alerting users to the fact.

Before wrapping your iPhone in tinfoil and throwing … Read more

Social goes big on Opera Mini

BARCELONA, Spain--The maker of the second-most popular mobile browser in the world has given its feature-phone fans something to tweet about, as Opera Mini Next debuted and brought several smartphone features to "dumb" phones.

The big new feature that's kicking off the inaugural build of Opera Mini Next, the developer's preview of the browser, is "smart" page called Home. Home will live next to Opera's Speed Dial, its customizable collection of regularly visited Web sites that occupies top billing across all Opera browsers, and it serves a similar function. It will let you … Read more

How much better will the iPad 3 be?

I was talking to a friend and tech enthusiast the other day--let's call him "Chuck"--and he sheepishly admitted that he'd taken the iPad plunge.

I was shocked. Not so much because Chuck had never bought an Apple product before (take note, Android fanboys), but because he'd bought an iPad 2 with the iPad 3 just around the corner (if the rumors are to be believed).

I told him he was crazy. In buying his first Apple product, he'd not only broken the cardinal rule of buying Apple products (don't buy within six … Read more

Facebook inserts ads into users' news feeds

Facebook began inserting advertisements directly into users' news feeds today.

There won't be a lot of ads--just one per day--but they will be unsolicited. Instead of being on the right hand side of the page and marked "sponsored," they will appear randomly within users' news feeds and be labeled "featured."

According to Facebook's Help Center, "Businesses can pay to feature a post so there's a better chance you'll notice it." As an example, the Help Center writes, "Say you like your gym's Facebook Page. Some friends see the … Read more

TeleNav puts GPS navigation into your phone's HTML5 browser

TeleNav's latest trick combines the functionality of navigation apps with the ubiquity of browser-based maps.

Of course, getting turn-by-turn directions on your phone is nothing new--just look at the Google Maps app--but it requires launching a discrete navigation app. Likewise, browser-based maps services are nothing new either--just look at the Google Maps Web page in your phone's browser--but usually they're static, lacking motion and live updates for location and directions. TeleNav announced today that it's blending these two technologies and delivering the first browser-based map service to also give turn-by-turn GPS navigation.

The HTML5-based service comes … Read more

Android Market gets better filtering on reviews

Android handset owners looking to see what apps are available in the Android Market will now have a better way to see what others thought of a given program.

When users click on an application in the online Android Market store and choose user reviews, they'll be able to filter those in many more ways. Users can now arrange reviews by star rating, as well as the application's version, though the latter option is limited to "all" or "latest."

Best of all, the store now lets users filter reviews by individual devices registered to … Read more

HTML5-enabled phones to hit 1 billion in sales in 2013

HTML5-compatible mobile phones will reach sales of 1 billion in 2013, up from just 336 million this year, says research firm Strategy Analytics.

That 1 billion number refers specifically to phones whose mobile browsers fully or at least partially support HTML5, such as the iPhone 4S and Android phones. And it includes some feature phones as well as smartphones.

"We expect almost all smartphones to support HTML5 by 2013 and this makes up the largest chunk of the 1 billion total," Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston told CNET yesterday. "Android, iOS, and other smartphone OSes already support … Read more