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Sprint Goes Fishing for DirecTV Subscribers
September 1, 2015
Sprint last week announced it was celebrating the AT&T/DirecTV merger by extending a truly valuable offer to DirecTV customers. "The Sprint network is winning awards across the country for reliability and speed, and our customers have never been more satisfied," crowed Sprint spokesperson Kristin Wallace. "We are simply giving DirecTV customers a compelling reason to experience Sprint."
New App Marries Android Wear Smartwatch to iPhone
September 1, 2015
Google has rolled out Android Wear for iOS, allowing consumers to pair the iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6 or 6 Plus running iOS 8.2 and above with an Android Wear watch. They'll be able to check phone calls, messages and notifications; track fitness; and use Google Now instead of Siri to get smart help from their iPhones. Using Google Now instead of Siri is "a cute touch," said ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr.
Qualcomm Sics Fire-Breathing Snapdragon on Android Hackers
September 1, 2015
Qualcomm on Monday announced Snapdragon Smart Protect, a hardware-software product that could make the world a safer place for Android smartphone users. Snapdragon Smart Protect, which will become available with Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 820 processor, will provide real-time, on-device machine learning designed to support accurate and effective detection of zero-day malware threats.
T-Mobile's Legere Channels Robin Hood Again
August 31, 2015
CEO John Legere has publicly declared war on data hogs who threaten to ruin T-Mobile for regular consumers. "This week I am taking aim at a select group of individuals who have actually been stealing data from T-Mobile," he wrote. "If their activities are left unchecked, their actions could eventually have a negative effect on the experience of honest T-Mobile customers. Not on my watch."
Amazon's Underground Unshackles Freemium Android Apps
August 31, 2015
Amazon last week freed a selection of Android apps of the in-app payment requirements necessary to enjoy them to their fullest. The value of the goodies in the apps labeled "Actually Free" comes to more than $10,000, Amazon said. The Actually Free apps can be accessed via Underground, a new app available from Amazon. Amazon Underground is essentially an expansion of the company's core mobile shopping app.
How the Windows Phone Could Rise Up and Dominate
August 31, 2015
Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the launch of Windows 95. What people often forget about Windows 95 is that it not only kicked Apple's butt, but also kicked IBM's -- and it wasn't even a complete product. The thing was an operating system. It's especially hard to imagine now that these things typically are downloaded from the Web, and there's no need to stand in line.
Gadget Ogling: Smart Bikes, Contactless Cards, and Roll-Up Keyboards
August 29, 2015
I never had much interest in riding a bicycle as a child, and although I now live in a tremendously bike-friendly city, I haven't found a way to learn without feeling like a total chump in public. Yet I am more interested than ever in leading a life on two wheels after discovering SmartHalo. This is a tool that attaches permanently to one's ride and turns it into a smart vehicle.
Come September, Apple TV Will Outshine the iPhone
August 29, 2015
About Apple's September event... Apple's annual September media event is an oxymoron -- it's become almost entirely predictable. One year it introduces a major new iPhone redesign and the next it offers incremental iPhone improvements. And make no mistake about it, despite last year's Apple Watch debut, at the core of the September event is the critically important iPhone.
Apple Watch Nips at Fitbit's Heels
August 28, 2015
Despite disparaging sales reports, the Apple Watch is closing in on market leader Fitbit, according to a new IDC report. During the second quarter, Apple shipped 3.6 million watches -- 800,000 units behind Fitbit's shipments for the period. Shipments for all wearables during the quarter increased 223 percent from the same period a year ago, IDC reported, to 18.1 million units from 5.6 million.
Amazon Firing Spree Follows Fire Phone Flop
August 27, 2015
Amazon reportedly has given the boot to dozens of engineers who worked on its ill-fated Fire Phone. The purged staffers worked at Lab126, Amazon's secretive Silicon Valley-based hardware development center. Amazon also scaled back or killed off several other Lab126 projects, including a large-screen tablet, and it reorganized the center to combine two hardware units into one.
Shadow IT Feeds 'Man in the Cloud' Attacks
August 27, 2015
Shadow IT -- the use of unauthorized online services by company employees -- is a concern of cyberwarriors charged with defending business systems against network attacks. There's new evidence that those concerns are justified. A new attack vector on business systems leverages the synchronization features of services like Dropbox and Google Drive to perform malicious mischief.
Cortana Cozies Up to Android Users
August 26, 2015
Microsoft has released a public beta of its Cortana personal assistant for Android. The Cortana app can do most of the things Cortana does on Windows: set and get reminders; search the Web on the go; track information such as flight details; and begin and complete tasks across all a user's devices. Cortana will find answers on the Web in response to spoken or typed requests.
McDonald's Tips Android Pay Launch
August 24, 2015
An internal McDonald's memo labeled "proprietary and confidential" has been circulating, advising employees to get ready for a Wednesday launch of Android Pay -- the successor to Google Wallet, and Google's answer to Apple Pay. Google officially announced Android Pay this spring, during it's annual developers conference, saying only that Android Pay would launch with "Android M."
iPhone Users Can Test-Drive Samsung Galaxy for One Thin Dollar
August 21, 2015
Samsung on Friday kicked off the Samsung Ultimate Test Drive, a new promotion aimed at drawing iPhone users into its fold. For just one dollar Samsung will provide iPhone users with a Galaxy smartphone -- models available include the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, as well as the S6 edge+ and Note 5 -- plus a month of cellular service. The promotion is open only to iPhone users.
Smartphone Sales Sag in China
August 21, 2015
China experienced the first-ever downturn in its smartphone market in the second quarter of 2015, and it was enough to drag global sales to a two-year low, Gartner Research said Thursday. The rest of the Asia Pacific smartphone market saw substantial growth in the quarter. iOS snatched a tad of market share -- about 2.4 percent -- from the other mobile operating systems.
Wireless Performance Studies and You
August 20, 2015
It appears both AT&T Mobility and Sprint deserve congratulations on their great performances, based on two just-released studies on the wireless wars. J.D. Power and RootMetrics revealed some interesting and surprising new information on this changing marketplace. For the fifth time, AT&T won first place with J.D. Power. For its part, Sprint showed significant performance improvement over the last year.
Devs Get to Poke Around With Marshmallow
August 20, 2015
Google on Monday announced the official SDK for Android 6.0, aka "Marshmallow." It also opened Google Play for devs to publish apps that target the new API Level 23 in Marshmallow. Google further updated the Android Support Library to v23, giving devs an easier way to make new platform APIs, such as permissions and fingerprint support, backward compatible.
Say Hello to Google's Kinder, Gentler Router
August 19, 2015
Google has unveiled OnHub -- a router that is not only good looking but also fast, secure and easy-to-use. It developed the router in partnership with TP-Link. "Many of us keep our router on the floor and out of sight, where it doesn't work as well," said Google Group Product Manager Trond Wuellner. "We replaced unruly cords and blinking lights with internal antennas and subtle, useful lighting."
FCC Fine Hints at End to Exorbitant Convention Center WiFi Fees
August 19, 2015
The FCC on Tuesday announced that Smart City Holdings had agreed to pay a $750,000 fine to settle allegations that it blocked personal mobile hotspots in several convention centers, forcing exhibitors and attendees to use its services instead, at $80 a day. Blocking FCC-approved WiFi connections is "patently unlawful," remarked Travis LeBlanc, chief of the commission's enforcement bureau.
AT&T Went Above and Beyond for NSA, Say Snowden Docs
August 18, 2015
The National Security Agency considered its relationship with AT&T unique and particularly productive, accordingto a report published Saturday. The information about the company's close ties with the agency came from the trove of documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. NSA lauded AT&T for its "extreme willingness to help," giving it access to billions of emails among other things.
Gadget Ogling: Smart Rings, Breathalyzing Bike Locks, and Laptop-Sized Transports
August 15, 2015
Please, whatever you do, don't decide with your loved one it would be a good idea to get rings that vibrate only when you're trying to get in touch with one another. Omate and Emanuel Ungaro are offering schmucks the Ungaro ring, which does just that. It buzzes when one designated person, whoever that may be, sends a text message or calls you. It will retail for up to $2,000.
Samsung Doubles Down on Galaxy Phones
August 14, 2015
Samsung on Thursday unveiled two new devices, the Galaxy S6 edge+ and the Galaxy Note5. The smartphones reportedly will be available in the United States starting Aug. 21. Samsung also announced its NFC mobile payment service, Samsung Pay, will launch in the United States Sept. 28. The Note5 reportedly incorporates many of the Galaxy S6's features and design elements.
Report: Ad Blockers Are Killing Ad Dollars
August 14, 2015
About $21.8 billion in global ad revenues have been lost so far this year due to ad blockers, according to a report Pagefair released this week in partnership with Adobe. Consumers increasingly are opting for tools to shut down ads before they pop up. By next year, the U.S. alone should account for about $20 billion in blocked ad revenue, the report predicts.
Xiaomi Unveils Redmi Note 2 as US Twinkles in Its Eye
August 13, 2015
Xiaomi has announced its new Redmi Note 2, getting a jump on Samsung's announcement of two new smartphone entries. Xiaomi's Redmi Note 2 comes with a 2-GHz octacore Mediatek Helio X10 CPU and 16 GB of flash memory. The Redmi Note 2 Prime edition comes with a 2.2-GHz octacore MTK Helio X10 CPU and 32 GB of flash memory. The phones will sell in China at price points equivalent to about $125 to $140.

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