Microsoft's Surface 2 cleared for takeoff in cockpit

Microsoft's Surface 2 has officially won Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for all phases of air travel, the company announced on Monday.

The FAA's authorization covers classes one and two for the Electronic Flight Bag. Historically, pilots have brought with them on flights a full flight bag consisting of everything from reference documents to checklists to carts. All of that paper used fuel on planes, prompting Delta last year to opt to deploy the Surface 2 to Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 pilots. Pilots of other airplanes will be added this year.

At launch last year, the Surface … Read more

Fund this: The Right Arm is a tablet stand like no other

When you think of a tablet stand, you probably picture a case or kickstand that props the screen up on a table for typing, movie viewing, video chats, and the like.

But what if you could position your tablet just about anywhere -- across your bed while you're lying in it, above your desk while you're standing at it, or even over your bathtub while you're soaking in it? As if you had a tireless third arm that could hold it at virtually any viewing angle.

That's the idea behind The Right Arm, a Kickstarter project that's already hit its $40,000 funding goal -- but still deserves a look.… Read more

Asus VivoTab Note 8 goes on sale at Microsoft Store for $329

The Windows 8.1-based Asus VivoTab Note 8 has gone on sale for $329. The trouble is, it's already out of stock.

Microsoft started selling the tablet on its online store over the weekend. The device, which was shown off at the Consumer Electronics Show last month, offers an 8-inch HD display and runs on Intel's Atom processor. The "Note" in its name comes into play, courtesy of an included stylus.

The Asus VivoTab Note 8 is in direct competition with Samsung's Galaxy Note line, which also includes support for a digital stylus. The trouble … Read more

Apple's Arizona plant could make 'unprecedented' amounts of sapphire

Apple's new Arizona factory could manufacture "unprecedented" amounts of synthetic sapphire used to make stronger iPhone screens, according to a report.

The factory will make as much as double the current global capacity of sapphire, according to Yole Developpement analyst Eric Virey, via Bloomberg. That's enough for 80 million to 100 million iPhones a year, the report said.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in November announced that Apple was building a factory in Mesa, Arizona, to manufacture sapphire materials. And Apple late last year signed a contract with GT Advanced to produce sapphire-based materials at Apple's … Read more

A dual Windows-Android machine: PC industry savior or non-starter?

It's pretty grim days for the PC industry, and the sector's next hope -- machines that run both Windows and Android at the same time -- may not be enough to save it.

The dual-operating system idea is just the latest attempt by the computer makers to juice sales, which have been on a steady decline: shipments posted their worst-ever drop last year, and on Thursday, Sony said it would exit the PC market. In the newest effort by the industry to revitalize computer sales, PCs would let users access both Android apps and Windows software with just … Read more

DOJ drops investigation into Samsung essential-patent use

The US Justice Department on Friday ended its investigation into Samsung's use of standards-essential patents to exclude certain Apple devices from the US market, saying the inquiry is no longer necessary.

The government said in a press release that it no longer needs to investigate Samsung because of an Obama administration decision in mid-2013 to overturn a sales ban on certain Apple devices. Samsung had originally won an International Trade Commission ban against Apple, but the Obama administration determined that a sales ban would hurt competition in the US. In particular, it said the US needed to pay close … Read more

Text editor Phraseology for iPad can improve your writing

Phraseology is a text editor for the iPad that teaches you about your writing style. On the surface, the app -- currently priced at $1.99 for a "limited time" -- is a simple text editor. It features a blank canvas and an expanded keyboard that includes undo and redo buttons along with multiple and useful cursor and selection control keys. You can write in plain-text or Markdown mode to preview your HTML output, and in settings you can sync to Dropbox or iCloud to backup your Phraseology docs. The app also supplies a handful of font choices … Read more

10 Samsung devices in line for Android 4.4 KitKat updates?

At least ten Samsung devices are in line to pick up their Android 4.4 KitKat update, according to Android blog Phandroid.

Phandroid, citing an unnamed source, said Samsung is expected to roll out the update to a mix of smartphones and tablets in the near future, all of them either relatively new or popular.

Samsung models rumored for KitKat updates:

Samsung Galaxy S4 SGH-i337 Samsung Galaxy S4 Active SGH-i537 Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom SM-c105a Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 SGH-i467 Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-N900a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 SGH-i317 Samsung Galaxy Mega SGH-i527 Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 SM-t217aRead more

Google Nexus 8 set for April launch, says report

Google's Nexus line might soon include a new tablet.

Google plans to launch an 8-inch tablet in April, dubbed the Nexus 8, to complement its current Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 offerings, Digitimes reported on Friday, citing people in the supply chain. Digitimes has a spotty record when it comes to accurate predictions, however, so its report should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.

Still, this isn't the first time that we've heard rumblings of an 8-inch Nexus hitting store shelves at some point. According to Digitimes' sources, the move reflects Google's desire to … Read more

Add a battery bar on top of your Android screen with Energy Bar

Battery status icons on Android devices aren't all that exciting and usually do just one thing -- as the battery drains, the battery meter goes down, possibly changing colors along the way. Some devices, like the Samsung Galaxy S4, also allow you to display the battery percentage next to the icon.

Energy Bar for Android provides a new way to visualize your Android device's battery status. Its battery meter is a thin bar that runs across the top of your screen. It's visible from within any app, including full-screen apps, and can be configured to change colors … Read more