BlackBerry 10 phones get the Amazon Appstore in the US

If you’re a BlackBerry-toting American, you’re about to get a ton of Android apps on your plate. As promised, BlackBerry has started the US rollout of an update that gives all BB10 devices access to the Amazon Appstore, saving you from having to sideload some of the Android titles you can’t live without. You’ll also get better anti-theft protection and a “fresh look” that includes faster access to common tasks.

Just when you get your upgrade is a bit of a toss-up. On AT&T, you’re first in line if you’re carrying the older BlackBerry Q10 or Z10; on T-Mobile and Verizon, you’re at the start of the queue if you’re rocking a BlackBerry Classic. Every other BlackBerry 10 device in the country will receive the new software eventually, though, so don’t worry if your Z30 isn’t part of the initial wave.

*Verizon is currently in the process of acquiring AOL, Engadget’s parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.

Face of a criminal from DNA

Today scientists are using genetic markers from DNA to build up a picture of an offender’s face, a process known as molecular photo fitting.

A DNA profile is only useful to detectives if a match can be found on a database.

As surgeon Gabriel Weston explains in the BBC series Catching History’s Criminals: The Forensics Story, this technology offers the tantalising prospect of generating a face from nothing more than a few cells.

To find out just how effective this process can be, DNA was extracted from Gabriel’s saliva and the results sent anonymously to a group of scientists in Belgium.

From that data they set about building a picture of Gabriel’s face – as predicted by her genes. The question was: Would it look anything like her?

The job of turning the cells in her saliva into a picture of her face was carried out by Dr Peter Claes, a medical imaging specialist at the University of Leuven.

Along with colleagues in the US, he’s built up a database of faces and DNA. And armed with this information, he’s able to model how a face is constructed based on just 20 genes.

It is possible to judge just how much the picture of Gabriel’s face – based on her genetic makeup – looks like her by comparing it to her actual image.

Facebook Moments Is Changing The Photo-Sharing Game

It takes advantage of two Facebook technologies, Messenger and facial recognition, to allow users to quickly send a huge group of photos to the friends in those photos.

The Moments app groups images together based on who is in them, when they were taken, and where they were taken, then “suggests” people you could share those images with.

The idea is that all pictures from the same event or vacation can be shared with multiple people or just one other person in a matter of seconds.

Canon announces the PowerShot G3 X

It’s been years since Canon dominated the high end compact market. Back then — before companies like Fujifilm and Sony flooded the market with excellent options near or under $1,000, and shooting with your phone wasn’t really an option — Canon’s flagship G series of cameras reigned supreme. If you wanted a camera with full manual controls that you could squeeze into a pocket, it was nearly the only option. Today, Canon is adding to that that lineup by introducing the $999 Powershot G3 X.

The 20.2MP G3 X has all the features you’d expect from a camera in this price range: Wi-Fi, NFC, water resistance, a 3.2-inch touch-enabled articulating LCD screen, and the ability to shoot 1080p HD video at 60fps. It even has a few you wouldn’t expect, like five-axis image stabilization and audio jacks for headphones and an external microphone.

But in certain lights, the more expensive G3 X looks like a step back from its predecessors. The 1.5-inch CMOS sensor found in the G1 X (2012) and G1 X Mark II (2014) is gone, and in its place on the G3 X is merely a one-inch sensor. The new camera will use Canon’s DIGIC 6 image processor, which is good at helping smaller sensors in tough situations (like low light), but there will likely be an unavoidable tradeoff in image quality.

The smaller sensor did allow Canon to pack tons more focal length in the new camera, as the G3 X features 25X optical zoom (for the equivalent of a 24-600mm lens). Gaudy optical zoom capability is a weapon of choice for traditional camera companies trying to sell high end compact cameras. Both Canon and Nikon, have equipped its lower-end cameras with smaller sensors that allow for optical zooms of 65x and even 83x.

The harsh truth for these companies is people are extremely comfortable shooting photos with their phones, and better mirrorless cameras with larger sensors and similar features are dropping in price. Take the PowerShot G3 X’s closest competitors, for example. Last week Sony announced the RX10 II, which can shoot super slow motion and 4K video, and has a consistent aperture of f2.8, and the RX100 Mark IV, an extremely capable version of its most compact camera. Canon will have the cost edge on the $1,300 RX10 II, but not the $1,000 RX100 Mark IV.

That leaves the G3 X in a murky spot. The G3 X has better zoom than the brand new RX100 Mark IV, but the Sony is far more compact. And while the G3 X is cheaper than Sony’s similar-looking RX10 II, the tradeoffs you have to make in capabilities and image quality may not be worth the money you save.

The PowerShot G3 X’s most direct competition might come from inside Canon’s own factories. The company’s G1 X Mark II is still for sale at a much cheaper price that’s paired with a bigger sensor. That might make it worth whatever tradeoffs you can find deep in the list of its specs.

Material Design themes coming to the Samsung Galaxy S6

There’s quite a bit of reasons to love the Samsung Galaxy S6, but some of you may be especially fond of the integrated theme engine. Any user can easily change the look and feel of a Galaxy S6 or Galaxy S6 Edge in a heartbeat, something that used to take launchers and complicated root methods in the past.

TouchWiz continues to be a bit messy, though, even with themes making it much better to deal with. We know many of you love the look and feel Google has created with material Design and the Pure Google experience. Those who are proud members of this club (which is not very exclusive) will be happy to learn you will soon no longer need to go for a third-party launcher or rooted phone in order to enjoy the simplicity of a clean Android experience.

XDA Developers member cambunch has created a Material Design-inspired theme for the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. It was submitted to Samsung and accepted, so the theme will be offered by the official Samsung Theme Store. It should show up in no more than about two weeks. Don’t want to wait around? The developer did publish instructions for installing the themes manually (though you will actually need root to do that).

The theme actually comes in two versions: dark and light. As you can assume, this refers to the color pallet used for the theme. It’s the whole deal, too. These themes will change your notification bar, settings, wallpaper, icons, keyboard and other stock apps. It will pretty much get rid of most signs of TouchWiz, which is always a plus for us Android purists.

Magic Johnson joins Square’s Board Of Directors

The former basketball player is one of the most successful business leaders in America and a great get for Square’s board. He is not only an NBA Hall of Fame legend but also a formidable business leader, running the multi-billion-dollar Magic Johnson Enterprises, as well as the Magic Johnson Foundation – a well-recognized philanthropic organization for its work with urban communities.

“I am ready to get to work as a member of Square’s Board of Directors so that any business, in any community, can compete and win,” said Johnson in a Square company release.

Johnson is also a strong advocate of HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention through his foundation, a mission he picked up after announcing he had been diagnosed with HIV in 1991.

According to a source familiar with the matter, Johnson’s appointment is expected to help Square reach out to a more diverse audience that goes beyond Silicon Valley and New York and into more urban and underserved small business areas.

“I have the deepest admiration for Earvin as a tireless champion for creating economic opportunity in underserved communities,” said Square (and interim Twitter) CEO Jack Dorsey. “As a successful entrepreneur and advocate for economic inclusion, Earvin’s unique perspective will be invaluable to our community of sellers and our board. We are honored to have him.”

Google launches My Ramadan Companion

The month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan runs from this evening, June 17th, and ends in the evening of July 17th, and Google has launched a website that takes advantage of the company’s vast offerings to provide a helpful dashboard through which to get the most out of the month.

The website, called My Ramadan Companion, includes the sunset and sunrise times in your area each day, traffic information, listings for the nearest mosque or charity Iftar, Ramdan recipes, related YouTube videos, and a bunch more.

Google in its blog post on My Ramadan Companion cites the more than 200 million Muslims living away from their families as a motivating factor to build technological solutions for those who observe the fasting holiday. “Growing up, the best part about Ramadan was eating way too much lentil soup with my family and catching up on the latest episode of our favorite series, ‘Bab Al-Hara’,” said Zain Kamal Masri, Associate Product Marketing Manager, Middle East and North Africa. “Today, living more than 1900 miles away from my family, I rely on technology to get close with them during Ramadan. Whether it’s sharing moments on Hangouts, my sister sending me pictures of the iftar spread of the day… technology helps us stay connected and celebrate Ramadan together even when away.”

Google will also use Now on mobile to present this information in cards when it feels right, taking into account your location and the time of day. So you may, for example, wake up in the morning to a card showing the Ramadan hours of your favorite shops and restaurants. Now may also recommend third-party apps that it thinks you may enjoy, like ones that help you wake up for Suhur or create greeting cards to share with your family. There’s a whole collection of essential Ramadan 2015 apps on the Play Store, too.

Real-time translator now speaks French and German

After adding Italian and Chinese support a couple of months ago, Microsoft is now bringing French and German to its Skype Translator app. That brings the total number of languages to six, with English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, and Spanish all supported, nearly 30 percent of the world’s native speakers. Skype Translator works by using a modified version of the Skype Windows 8 app to translate spoken words into text or audio.

While Skype Translator is primarily used for real-time translation between two people who speak and listen to the results, Microsoft is now turning its attention to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Microsoft researcher Ted Hart has helped the company modify Skype Translator so it allows deaf people to experience a Skype call for the first time. Microsoft recently opened up Skype Translator for anyone to try, and with French and German support there’s now an even bigger audience for its translation magic. Microsoft’s Skype Translator app is only available on Windows right now, and you’ll need a Windows 8 or Windows 10 PC to download the app from the Windows Store.

Live VR streams, drones and 4K cameras

We haven’t connected cutting edge TV tech to golf much since 3D met the Masters, but Fox is promising a live streaming virtual reality setup this weekend during the US Open tournament. It’s working with NextVR — the same company that brought a Malibu beach sunrise streaming live in 180-degree VR to my house in Michigan — so that viewers can pop into any of five camera rigs around the course and peek around like they were really there. According to Fox, this is believed to be the “first live multi-camera VR broadcast experience in history.” This is still in the demo phase so the easiest way to watch is to actually be at the event in one of the properly equipped hospitality areas, or at a Fox Sports location in New York, Vancouver or LA. Even if you can’t catch the live feed, NextVR will have the video ready for its portal that is coming to the Oculus Rift and Gear VR headsets.

Other than virtual reality, Fox will also make use of flying drone cams to cover the event, cameras around the tee box, and microphones embedded in the bottom of every hole around the course. There’s a camera-equipped RC car to provide ground level shots, as well as high frame rate cameras and 4K cameras to provide a better look at each swing.

Having experienced it myself, the virtual reality stream in 3D and high-res video should provide a feeling of being at the course like no other broadcast can. We’re still not to the point where this kind of thing is widely available, but if you need a reason other than gaming to keep an eye on what the likes of Oculus, Samsung, Google and Valve are working on, events like sports are definitely a good one.

The new Edge browser

For years, developers have had to build specific workarounds for Internet Explorer to make their websites work properly in the browser. Microsoft’s browsers were infamous for breaking code that worked everywhere else.

Now, the company is re-emphasising that Web developers shouldn’t be specifically targeting the Edge browser in their code, saying that it identifies itself as a Webkit browser and should be thought of as such.

The company goes as far as saying that “any Edge-WebKit differences are bugs that we’re interested in fixing,” further cementing the angle that developers shouldn’t be writing Edge-specific code or workarounds.

Edge will also allow for certain cases where what Web developers do in practice doesn’t actually match the standard. One example Microsoft provides is the prevalent use of malformed “meta refresh” tags that allow a page to redirect the user to another page.

Instead of simply ignoring such malformed tags, like Internet Explorer would have in the past, Edge handles the code the correct way.

Microsoft says that the new browser is more permissive of such differences between the standard and code, particularly as many of these differences are widespread practices.

Another change adopts the Webkit practice of ignoring cross-site headers in order to allow custom fonts to load from content distribution networks, despite what the standard actually defines.

The new Microsoft shines through in this blog post — instead of strictly sticking to its own standards and ideas about the way the Web should be rendered, the company is finally willing to compromise and accept the reality of developing for the Web.

As a Web developer myself, the changes in Edge are exciting. I’m hopeful that the future of building for the Web means no more strange hacks for users of Microsoft browsers and much smoother development with Edge.