What's Hot in Tech - Issue 16

Activity tracker Fitbit updates app for those without a wearable device 

Fitbit app

Fitbit app

Fitbit, known for their activity tracking devices, updated its iPhone app to take advantage of the latest iPhone model. The iPhone 5s contains what is known as an M7 motion co-processor, technology dedicated to recording movement and its intensity without draining battery – previously general movement was recorded using battery-draining GPS. Fitness-focused companies are taking advantage of this new technology to turn the iPhone itself into an activity tracker given it’s typically in users’ hands or pockets.

The Fitbit app for iOS now allows users to track steps, miles traveled, and [estimated] calories burned without the purchase of an additional $99+ device. Of course, using one’s phone to gauge activity levels of a person is not as accurate as a wearable piece of technology, but this move should be seen as a gateway toward buying such a device. Similar apps for tracking activity include Nike+ Move for iPhone and Moves for iPhone and Android.

Corning’s next step for Gorilla Glass promises to rid your smartphone screen of bacteria 

Studies have shown smartphone screens contain more bacteria than a toilet seat. Pretty gross, right? Corning’s super-tough Gorilla Glass has been protecting smartphones from scratches and cracks for years and the next evolution of the product aims to kill bacteria all on its own. Called Antimicrobial Gorilla Glass 3, the glass kills 99.9% of bacteria and is currently being tested with manufacturers. 

Yahoo News Digest delivers “what you need to know” twice a day

Yahoo News Digest app for iPhone

Yahoo News Digest app for iPhone

Most of us like to know what’s going on and be in tune with the latest news, but we only have so much time to read a portion of the never-ending news stream. Yahoo News Digest is a new app for iPhone (for now) focused on delivering the most important news twice a day (8am and 6pm), containing a summary of all need-to-know news. The app will alert you twice a day that your news summary is ready for consumption. Each summary is comprised of the top news stories with long, descriptive headlines for a quick grasp of what’s going on, supplemented by in-depth articles should you choose to read more. Even by skimming the rich headlines, one can quickly get a sense of what’s going on.

LG enters the activity tracking game with new Lifeband wearable wristband  

LG Lifeband Touch

LG Lifeband Touch

The activity / fitness tracking space heated up in 2013 and promises to continue its rise in popularity in 2014. The market is crowding with Fitbit, Nike+, Jawbone, Moves, and more. LG has decided they are not to be left out, announcing their own wearable device – Lifeband Touch. The Lifeband Touch connects to your iPhone or Android smartphone and features a touch display, vibration, 5-day battery life, Bluetooth, and movement tracking. In addition to tracking activity, the device can display phone messages and calls, control your smartphone’s music player, and integrates with popular fitness apps including My Fitness Pal, RunKeeper, and Map My Fitness. The wristband can also link to LG’s other impending fitness tech, a pair of earphones also capable of measuring heart rate. The Lifeband Touch will be available in the second quarter of 2014 for $179 – a higher price tag than competing devices, but for what seems to be more functionality.

Sunrise calendar app arrives on iPad 

Sunrise calendar app for iPhone

Sunrise calendar app for iPhone

Sunrise is my favorite calendar app for iPhone because of its beautiful design, smart layout, and the rich information it provides – upcoming meetings, who they are with, contacts’ birthdays, and more. The more services you connect to Sunrise, the more it also becomes a rich journal of what you’ve done. By connecting your accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Foursquare, Sunrise can pull in Facebook events, birthdays, job information from LinkedIn for the people in your meetings, and past Foursquare checkins providing a complete picture of what’s on the horizon of your life and what you’ve accomplished. Sunrise says versions of its app for Android and desktop are coming soon, so hang tight!

With this week’s app update, Sunrise is built for the iPad’s larger screen featuring a new weekly and monthly view so you can quickly traverse your schedule from the comfort of your iPad. On both iPhone and iPad, the app now updates in the background removing the need to open the app to ensure all events are up to date – an important but missing feature to this point. 

Yahoo launches “digital magazines” focused on food and tech 

Yahoo! Tech digital magazine 

Yahoo! Tech digital magazine 

Yahoo is continuing its focus on content with the launch of two magazine-esque sites: Yahoo Tech, lead by former New York Times tech columnist David Pogue, and Yahoo Food. Yahoo Tech is aimed at the majority of people – those not entrenched in the tech scene – providing content like the best TV to buy, what to do if you drop your phone in water, and more. Yahoo Food contains content surrounding recipes, cooking videos, wine, restaurants, chefs, and entertaining tips. Both sites feature a Flickr-like mosaic display of content and have absolutely no display ads – at least for now. 

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As a tech enthusiast, early adopter, and avid reader, I come across a lot of gadgets, apps, websites, and more. Few things excite me more than sharing and discussing these finds with others. Follow me on Twitter where I share even more tech news and trends.  

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Chris Fohlin

Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA