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Zagg Buys Mophie

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Mophie case In a move bringing the start of a phone accessory making empire Zagg acquires Mophie for $100 million-- creating a "diversified leader" in battery cases, external batteries, screen protectors and tablet keyboards.

Zagg makes products ranging from smartphone cases to keyboards. On the other hand Mophie is best known for iPhone and Android smartphone battery cases and external batteries packs. The deal creates a company with combined 2015 net sales of around $470m, as well as increased product creation capability and expanded global distribution channels.

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Samsung Preps 360-Degree Camera?

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According to SamMobile Samsung might soon reveal a solution for the lack of content one can view through virtual reality headsets such as the Gear VR-- a 360-degree camera dubbed the Gear 360.

Samsung Project BeyondSupposedly set for launch at the 21 February Galaxy Unpacked 2016 event, the Gear 360 is "likely" an offshoot of "Project Beyond," a 2014 Samsung attempt at 360-degree cameras. Project Beyond never saw life outside a one prototype appearance, but SamMobile insists the Gear 360 "is real, and coming soon."

The news site describes as the Gear 360 as a spherical camera able to capture 360-degree images via two 180-degree fisheye lenses. It connects with smartphones (certainly the Galaxy S7, possibly other recent Galaxy flagship headsets) via Bluetooth and companion Gear 360 Connect app, carries a built-in battery and packs an unknown amount of onboard storage.

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Meridian Products Get MQA Playback

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Audiophile customers wanting high-resolution audio playback can do so through a firmware update for multiple Meridian Audio products allowing the handling of Master Quality Authenticated (MQA)-encoded music.

Meridian mqaSuch products include the Explorer2 portable USB DAC, Prime headphone amplifier, 808v6 reference CD player, 818v3 reference audio core, Special Edition DSP loudspeakers and 40th Anniversary DSP systems.

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HP Presents Crystal-Clad Women's Smartwatch

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HP presents another smartwatch collaboration with a fashion designer-- now it's the turn of one Isaac Mizrahi, whose digital wristwatch features Swarovski crystals, leather bands and smartphone notifications.

HP Isaac Mizrahi SmartwatchPart of the "Engineered by HP" series, the Isaac Mizrahi Smartwatch lacks the colour touchscreen seen in other devices of the type. Instead it has a small OLED panel underneath a traditional analog face to display basic smartphone notifications of the text, call and calendar alert variety. The result, HP claims, allows women to use a smartwatch "without sacrificing style."

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IDC: Detachables Grow as Tablets Decline

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IDC brings bad news on the state of the Q4 2015 tablet market as global shipments total 65.9 million units, a -13.7% Y-o-Y decline, while overall 2015 shipments are down by -10.1% to 206.8m units.

Detachable tabletHowever the analyst's report does have a silver lining-- detachable/hybrid devices are "in full swing," with Q4 2015 shipments reaching a record of 8.1m devices, double the amount from the previous year. In comparison "pure" tablets see a greatest annual decline to date of 21.1% Y-o-Y.

"This quarter was unique as we had new detachables in the market from all three of the major platform players," IDC says. "Despite lukewarm reviews, the iPad Pro was the clear winner this season as it was the top selling detachable, surpassing notable entries from Microsoft and other PC vendors. It's also important to note that the transition towards detachable tablets has presented positive opportunities for both Apple and Microsoft. However, Google's recent foray into this space has been rather lackluster as the Android platform will require a lot more refinement to achieve any measurable success."

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