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Head-mounted computing specialists Recon Instruments is building quite a team to take on Google Glass. Last year, Intel offered both cash and its manufacturing and technology expertise, and now the "other" Motorola has followed suit. Motorola Solutions has opened its checkbook and pledged to share its product development and distribution know-how with the Canadian outfit. Why has a company with a pedigree in walkie-talkies and barcode scanners teamed up with Recon? Not only does it have plenty of experience making rugged gadgets that'll likely improve the Jet and Snow2's hardiness, but it also already makes wearable computers on the side. The Motorola HC1, you see, is an enterprise device that's designed to work in extreme environments where it'd be too dangerous to use a phone. Perhaps the two of them will develop a new wearable platform that's as comfortable on the slopes as it is on the oil rig.

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We're not sure there was ever much doubt, but the US government has given the thumbs up to Facebook's $2 billion purchase of Oculus VR. The Federal Trade Commission examined the deal and found that it would not violate American antitrust laws. Now with most of the regulatory hurdles cleared, the focus can shift to the practical implications of the deal. Joining the Facebook family clearly puts a vast amount of resources at the disposal of Oculus founders like Palmer Luckey. But many in the development community are worried that the move represents something of a loss of innocence. Notch, the man behind Minecraft, in particular is apparently creeped out by Facebook and what it's business model and culture could mean for the future of the Rift. We can't pretend to know what's coming -- we're not even sure that Mark Zuckerberg or Oculus are sure what the future holds yet. All we can say is that we really hope a VR version of Facebook isn't in the cards.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1

Americans no longer have to splurge on the high-end Galaxy Tab Pro or Note Pro if they want a modern Samsung tablet -- the more affordable Galaxy Tab 4 range is headed to the US. WiFi versions of the Tab 4 7.0, 8.0 and 10.1 should hit shelves on May 1st at respective prices of $200, $270 and $350. Travelers craving cellular data can expect LTE variants from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon sometime this summer. Pricing hasn't surfaced for these 4G models, but it's safe to presume that they'll carry a premium over their WiFi-only counterparts.

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AOL doesn't just want short clips of newsy content on its online video platform, AOL On. That's why the company (which, disclosure, owns Engadget) has signed a non-exclusive deal with Miramax to screen some of its movies on the service. The first flicks from the agreement will go up on April 30th, with "tens" of films from the catalog being made available on a rotating basis each month. Neither company was ready to disclose what particular titles we could expect, so while most of us are hoping to catch Clerks, Trainspotting and Pulp Fiction for free, don't be surprised if they wind up being the lesser lights contained on this list.

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"Our major aims were usability, friendliness and a more humanistic design. We wanted something with a pleasing feel ... and better grip. If we used metal, [we felt] the designs felt heavy and cold," explains Senior Product Designer Dong Hun Kim, pointing to why Samsung still plays in polycarb. "But with plastic, the texture is warmer. We believe users will find [the device] both warmer and friendlier. This material was also the best at visually expressing volume, better at symbolizing our design concepts." The design concept for Samsung's Galaxy S5? Modern and flash -- and boy, that blue GS5 is certainly flashy. In the middle of a design library deep inside Samsung's "Digital City" in Suwon, Jeeyeun Wang, Samsung's principal user experience designer continues, putting it to me this way: the smartphone is no longer a cold slab of technology; "it's a fashion product now."

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In the seven years since Google launched Maps, it's collected a ton of imaging and location data, which we've only been able to see in its most recent form. That's about to change, however, after the company announced it's opening all of that information up, allowing you to go back and see how much each of its locations have adapted during that period. Starting today, Google says it will begin rolling out the new feature across its desktop Maps service, adding a new clock icon to Street View images. Once clicked, you can move a slider and select the different thumbnails of a location in a particular space in time. You'll see skyscrapers go up, houses come down, and maybe even witness the rebuilding efforts of a community affected by a natural disaster. There's no word on whether it'll make its way beyond the desktop, so for now you'll likely only be able to procrastinate from the comfort of your home computer or office.

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HBO's always been stingy about who gets to stream its cherished TV assets but on May 21st, some of the network's vintage material will get a wider release. The company has signed a deal with Amazon to bring its classic shows, including The Sopranos, The Wire and Deadwood to Prime Instant Video members for free. If you're waiting for newer fare -- by which we mean Game of Thrones -- you'll be disappointed, but seasons of HBO's other new shows, like True Blood and Veep will arrive roughly three years after their first broadcast. As part of the deal, HBO Go will launch as an app on Amazon's Fire TV set-top box, which is due to land at some point towards the end of the year. In the meantime, however, you can prepare yourself for a May binge-a-thon by buying in plenty of snacks and bottled water.

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solar panels

Google has just announced another major investment in renewable energy -- not to power its own vast data centers this time, but rather to bring cheaper electricity to the homes of ordinary Americans. Alongside solar cell manufacturer SunPower, the internet giant is starting a $250 million fund (including $100 million of its own cash) to buy up solar panels and then lease them back to American households. It promises the lease cost will be "typically lower" than a home's regular electricity bills, but it has yet to provide specifics on the costs involved or exactly when the project is scheduled to get going. With solar panels steadily getting cheaper, it seems entirely probable that the partnership would recoup its investment over time, while still providing consumers with a financial incentive to go green.

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If you used a Samsung app recently it was possibly a mis-click, according to a Strategy Analytics survey of 250-plus Galaxy S3 and S4 users. While Samsung recently trumpeted 100 million users for ChatOn, for instance, the report said US users spent a mere six seconds per month on the app, compared to, say, 151 minutes on Instagram. The rest of the suite fared little better, with users spending no more than seven minutes per month on all its apps combined. By contrast, users stayed on Facebook for 11 hours and Google's three most popular apps for 150 minutes on average. If accurate, that would be a stinging rebuke, given that Samsung's apps are pre-installed on most of its devices and can't be removed easily -- unless, ironically, you're in its home country.

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What would you say if we told you that it's possible to copy, translate, edit and even erase the text inside any image you find on the internet? Well, you can, and it's a lot easier than you might think. All it requires is a new browser extension, called Project Naptha, made by developer Kevin Kwok. It uses a number of optical character recognition (OCR) algorithms, including libraries developed by Microsoft and Google, which quickly build a model of text regions, words and letters from nearly any image.

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