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16Apr/140

Uber still offering rides in Belgium despite court order

Despite seized vehicles, a court order and possible €10,000 fine (per pickup!), Uber says its UberPOP ride-sharing service remains available in Brussels. In its blog, the company complained that the original lawsuit was filed by Brussels radio taxi companies trying to limit choice, and that "if anyone should be filing lawsuits, it's Brussels consumers." Concluding the truculent post, Uber said it would "continue to provide our car-sharing platform," which we assume means that it'll carry on operations. We'll have to see if it sticks to its guns considering the looming fines, and what its opponents' next move will be.

[Image credit: Uber]

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16Apr/140

Sky now lets you watch or record TV directly from Twitter

Twitter's cosy with many broadcasters that wish to connect with their audiences better, and in the UK, Sky's previously partnered with the social network for tweeting footy highlights in near real-time. Today, the two have teamed up again on Twitter embeds that allow Sky subscribers to watch or record content from within tweets by way of Twitter's mobile apps. Two buttons in these style of tweets, that will feature on several of Sky's accounts, send you either to the Sky Go app if you can't wait another second to indulge, or set your Sky box to record the TV show, film or sporting event via the Sky+ app. It's basically the same agreement Twitter has with Comcast in the States, as the microblogging platform moves to bridge the gap between the second screen and, well, screen.

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16Apr/140

Kim Dotcom will celebrate getting his fortune back on the race track

Kim Dotcom's getting his fortune back, and to celebrate, he's throwing a party. The Megaupload founder tweeted this morning that Auckland's High Court will return the cash, vehicles and property that were seized on behalf of the US back in 2012. On hearing the news, Dotcom tweeted that when he gets his stuff back, which should be within the fortnight, he will rent out New Zealand's Taupo race track and invite members of his political party, the Internet Party, over for a track day. We're not sure if it's open to current members only, but we doubt there's any harm in signing up, hell, you might just get a ride in his prized Rolls Royce for your trouble.

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16Apr/140

OnePlus One will cost under $400, £290 / €350 in US, UK and Europe (updated)

It's just seven days until OnePlus launches its first Android flagship, but that hasn't stopped the company drip-feeding news about the device. Surprisingly, the outfit promises that the unit will cost under £290 in the UK, €350 in Europe and $3,000 HKD in Hong Kong -- which we're taking to mean £289, €349 and $2,999, respectively. By way of comparison, that's £10 less than you'd pay for a Nexus 5 and £20 more than you'd need for a Lumia 1320. Now, given that the handset is shipping with a Snapdragon 801, 3GB RAM, 5.5-inch 1080p display and a 3,100mAh battery, what is OnePlus likely to scrimp on in order to get it down to that price? Why not dive in over at the forums and speculate with us.

Update: No sooner had we begun to shoot the breeze concerning the rest-of-the-world pricing when the company announces that the OnePlus One will also land in the US, where it'll retail for "under" $400.

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16Apr/140

Mt. Gox faces liquidation as recovery plans scrapped

A Japanese court-appointed administrator is now in control of Mt. Gox following an unsuccessful attempt to save the business. The Bitcoin exchange filed for bankruptcy in February after losing 850,000 Bitcoins, though it later found around a quarter of them. That's still a $340 million loss at current rates, but the company recently went back online and still held out hope for a sale of the business. Now the most likely outcome is liquidation, as the court declared any rehabilitation unrealistic. It added that it would probably now investigate CEO Mark Karpeles too -- who yesterday told a US judge he was unwilling to travel to the states and answer questions. The next step is to appoint a trustee and divvy up whatever's left amongst creditors (and lawyers).

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16Apr/140

Project Tango teardown reveals the wonders of the phone’s 3D sensing tech

Want to get a better understanding of Google's 3D-sensing Project Tango smartphone beyond the usual promo videos? iFixit is more than happy to show you now that it has torn down the device for itself. The close-up identifies many of the depth mapping components in the experimental handset, including the infrared and fisheye cameras (both made by OmniVision), motion tracking (from InvenSense) and dual vision processors (from Movidius).

However, the real centerpiece is the infrared projector. As you can see from the pretty light show pictured here, Project Tango maps the environment in much the same way as the original Kinect: it's creating a grid of dots that it measures to calculate distance. Other parts are relatively pedestrian, such as the Snapdragon 800 processor and 5-inch display, but it's clear from the teardown that they play second fiddle here -- this is an imaging device that just happens to double as a phone. You can see this for yourself at the source link.

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16Apr/140

Starwood’s app for Google Glass will let you search and book hotels

Imagine walking into a hotel lobby and telling the wearable on your face to pull up your reservation details. Starwood, the company behind properties from the Aloft to the W to the St. Regis, is hoping to up its hospitality game with an app tailor-made for Google Glass. Currently in beta, the upcoming SPG app for Glass will let guests search Starwood properties around the world, get turn-by-turn directions to a particular hotel and explore room photos, amenities, dining options and more. It looks like you'll also be able to book a reservation directly from the Glass app and -- importantly -- call a hotel if you get lost.

This isn't the first time Starwood's demonstrated an interest in bringing tech to its properties. This year it announced plans to swap out room keys for a mobile app, so its interest in Mountain View's wearable is no surprise. Google has long touted how useful Glass can be when it comes to travel with apps such as Field Trip, so bringing those geolocation and search capabilities to your hotel stay is a logical next step. And Google Glass may not be the only wearable device SPG has its sights on; in a statement it explained, "[Our] goal with Glass and other wearable technologies is to explore what kinds of new features and services are possible, and to learn from guests."

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16Apr/140

West Ham United and Selfridges lead scramble for the first .london domains

After it was decreed that London was next in line to get its own domain name, lots of UK brands and businesses have fallen over themselves to bid for their own piece of the city's virtual real estate. Today, Dot London confirmed some of the companies wanting to show their hometown love, as well as giving Londoners a firm date as to when they can begin registering their own domains. Premiership football club West Ham United and high-end department stores Selfridges and Fortnum and Mason are amongst 40 businesses signed up to roll out new .london websites in the coming weeks, with city dwellers able to follow suit from April 29th. It's still not known how much the new domain will cost regular folk, but Dot London says prices will be set by registrars -- hopefully that means they won't mirror the city's house prices.

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16Apr/140

Better’s mobile app lets you call a Doctor as if they were tech support

Technology problem? Easy, just hit the Mayday button (if you have one) or sign up for Google Helpouts and within a few minutes, you'll instantly connect to an expert. Compare that with selecting a healthcare plan, or making trips to the clinic, and medicine can seem a little old-fashioned. Better is looking to change that with an iOS app that offers both a concierge to help you navigate your HMO's bureaucracy, but also to offer instant access to the physicians at the Mayo Clinic when you're feeling unwell. The app is launching from today, setting you back $49 a month, and while it's currently not covered by any insurance plans, there are some incentives to help soften the blow.

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16Apr/140

Microsoft’s new keyboard is meant to be used with Smart TVs

This fall marks 20 years that Microsoft has been making keyboards (make that "computer hardware," as it was quaintly called back in 1994). Ironically, though, as the company approaches this milestone, it's now making accessories not just for PCs, but... Smart TVs? Yes indeed. The company just announced the All-in-Media Keyboard, and while you could use it with a computer, it was designed to help you navigate your TV or media streamer from your couch. Chiefly, it features a built-in touchpad -- something we've seen on other devices -- meaning you won't need to balance a standalone mouse on your La-Z-Boy.

Microsoft All-in-One Media Keyboard hands-on

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In addition to the pad, there's a dedicated left-click button, along with volume and mute buttons, allowing you to hold the device almost as if it were a tablet, or a giant remote. Otherwise, the spill-resistant keyboard has all the features you'd expect (except, perhaps, a numpad), with three programmable keys and various Windows 8 shortcuts. As with some other Microsoft keyboards, it doesn't use Bluetooth but rather, a 2.4GHz wireless technology that requires you to plug in a USB transceiver. So long as your smart TV/media streamer is USB HID-compliant, though (and it probably is), you should be good to go. As a bonus, the battery door on the back has an extra cubby-hole for the transceiver, which should hopefully reduce the chances of you losing the thing. Intrigued? We've got hands-on photos above, and you'll be able to buy one tomorrow for around $40.

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