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FreedomPop messaging on a Galaxy Tab 3 and an iPad mini

Many people can't really justify buying a cellular-equipped tablet -- why pay for more data when your phone probably does the trick? FreedomPop is undoubtedly aware of that thriftiness, as it just started offering its namesake free service on tablets. Whether you buy one of the carrier's pre-supplied tablets or bring your own, you'll get the same gratis 500MB of LTE data, 500 messages and 200 voice minutes as a phone customer. That may not make sense at first, but FreedomPop reckons that it's important for apps that ask for a phone number. It's much easier to hail an Uber car when you can supply some digits, for example. It could also serve as a backup if your phone's battery dies, or if you're nearing your limits on a capped phone plan.

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Despite the promise of Google's Movidius-equipped Project Tango, there are still no depth-sensing, SLR-stomping smartphones on the market. But Movidius thinks that could change soon, thanks to its brand new chip: the Myriad 2 vision processor unit (VPU). "The Myriad 2 is going to provide more than 20x the power efficiency of the Myriad 1, and enable camera features that were not possible before in mobile devices," CEO Remi El-Ouazzane tells me. If you'll recall, Tango's original tech brought faster focus, improved depth of field, near-optical zooming and higher light sensitivity to smartphone cameras (and now, tablets). It also let researchers scan a room in 3D to provide interior navigation, among other cool tricks.

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Engadgeteers spend a lot of their day staring at a screen, so it's no surprise that nearly all of us are blind without glasses or contact lenses. But wouldn't it be great if we could give our eyes a break and just stare at the screen without the aid of corrective lenses? That's the idea behind an experimental display that automatically adjusts itself to compensate for your lack of ocular prowess, enabling you to sit back and relax without eyewear. It works by placing a light-filtering screen in front of a regular LCD display that breaks down the picture in such a way that, when it reaches your eye, the light rays are reconstructed as a sharp image. The prototype and lots more details about the method will be shown off at SIGGRAPH next month, after which, its creators, a team from Berkeley, MIT and Microsoft, plan to develop a version that'll work in the home and, further down the line, with more than one person at a time.

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It looks like Flickr's trying to keep pace not only with Instagram, but also with photography community 500px. The Yahoo-owned image hosting site has just launched a new program, which gives some users the opportunity to earn money from their snapshots through commercial licensing with publications and photo agencies. In addition, Flickr promises to give the the program's members ample exposure by featuring their work prominently on Yahoo's portals and other properties like Tumblr. The service's new marketplace page also names The New York Times, Reuters, Gizmodo, Monocle, BBC and Getty Images as its program partners.

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Amazon Kindle

After unsuccessfully trying to charm authors, Amazon is now appealing to its customers during the ongoing war with Hachette. The retailer has revealed the reasons behind the spat, i.e. cheaper e-book prices, and the noble intentions behind it. Using its vast archive of data, the company believes that titles that, surprise, surprise, are priced at $15 won't sell as well as those that are priced at $10. As obvious as it sounds, the company's data says that for every 100,000 copies of the book that are bought for the higher price, 74,000 more copies would be bought at the lower figure, making a total profit of $1,738,000. Given that e-books incur no printing, warehousing or transportation costs, Amazon feels that it's a fair trade off.

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Germany Driverless Car

Anxious to start... not driving in the UK? Though late to the party, the government has announced that driverless cars will hit the streets in three UK cities starting in January 2015. The Department of Transport also launched a £10 million ($17 million) fund to spur research and reach the deadline. Once the three cities are selected for trials, two different types of self-driving vehicles will be tested: fully autonomous cars with no driver, and self-driving models that can relinquish control to a human pilot. All of that will be laid out in new road laws now being formulated to accommodate such vehicles.

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A robot that can juggle cars. And without any involvement from Michael Bay. That's the dream. Well, maybe it's just our dream, but a new Kickstarter project is trying to make it happen. It's (giant robot-sized) baby-steps to start with with: the initial prototype, costing $50,000, will only be juggling weights up to a 235lb (107kg) cannonball. This early model will use the same controls and hydraulic components as the car-juggling final model, just scaled down. The robot's interface is a wearable sleeve and glove, which will control the robot through user movement and provide haptic feedback, offering a "proportional force" when the robot catches heavy weights. If you want an idea of what Dan Granett's BugJuggler will eventually look like, there's a car-hurling render video right after the Kickstarter pitch -- both are right after the break. And if you're willing to stump up more than $5,000 you'll even get the chance to through cannonball hoops with the early prototype.

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More than three months after the first builds of Windows Phone 8.1 hit the scene, Microsoft is ready to tick more features off the to-do list with the OS's first refresh. Known aptly as Update 1, the download will be available as a developer preview starting next week. Understandably, Cortana is on the top of the release notes, because the beta program will officially expand to the UK and China as promised in April. This means users in both countries can enjoy different voices and more localized options, such as air quality info (in China specifically), local celebrities, specialized suggestions and commute times. Additionally, the Chinese version supports Mandarin and comes with unique animations, sounds and other visual features.

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Mario Kart on the Wii U is really good. Unfortunately it's just one game -- and it looks like it won't be enough to rescue the Wii U's sales. Nintendo apparently agrees, stating that its 9.9 billion yen loss was due to a lack of hit titles outside of the flagship racer. Matter-of-factly, Nintendo said:

"The operating loss was 9.4 billion yen because total selling, general and administrative expenses including fixed expenses exceeded gross profit. "

Which is, well, exactly how you work out an operating loss. The company is now betting on the power of Super Smash Bros. as well as the best-selling Pokemon series to improve results later this year. Wii U console sales have improved in the Americas and Europe: 510,000 units were sold worldwide in the last three months, compared to 160,000 in the same period last year. In Japan, however, Wii U sales have decreased year-on-year. Revenue was 8.8 percent higher than the same period last year and Nintendo is hoping its plans for a series of console-connected toy figurines along the lines of the hit Skylanders series will help to improve that bottom line.

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So let's say that you want to quit your day job and start making indie games. It's a noble pursuit to to be sure, and with Microsoft's Independent Developers @ Xbox program for Xbox One, it's supposedly pretty easy. What Redmond doesn't tell you, however, is just how much it'll cost you. That's where Jamie Fristrom, the developer behind Sixty Second Shooter Prime comes in. On his blog, Fristrom breaks how much everything from URL registration and maintenance ($19) to paying to have the game rated in foreign markets ($2,042) costs, with the total coming in at $5,143 -- a stark contrast to something like Destiny's $140 million price-tag. He notes that even with Redmond giving away free development kits, Xbox isn't the cheapest indie platform around but that the costs to publish there were "absolutely worth it." What's more, he says that if you choose to skip stuff like releasing in other territories, making a game for under $3,000 could be totally feasible. Good to know.

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