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Microsoft's New Mobile Keyboard Swings 3 OS Ways
September 16, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a new, cross-platform mobile keyboard that's designed to work not just with Windows devices but also with those running Android and iOS. The keyboard includes an OS switch that lets users change from one operating system to another while maintaining full functionality. An integrated stand allows users to position their tablet however they like.
Medical Trials to Test Usefulness of Apple's HealthKit
September 15, 2014
Stanford and Duke Universities reportedly will use Apple's HealthKit in medical trials. Doctors at Stanford are working with Apple to let physicians track blood sugar levels for children with diabetes, while Duke is developing a pilot program to track blood pressure, weight and other measurements for patients with cancer or heart disease. The programs will roll out in a few weeks.
Rise of the Smartwatch
September 15, 2014
Taken separately, last week's announcements from Apple, Intel and T-Mobile were impressive. Intel and T-Mobile basically announced they were going to explode the existing mobile market, changing it dramatically. Apple embraced some slow-moving technologies, which should speed them up dramatically. I don't think what Apple announced is in the same league, but it also will drive change.
Apple Pay Rings Opening Bell in Banks vs. Retailers Match
September 15, 2014
Apple's unveiling last week of its Apple Pay NFC mobile payments system has triggered a clash between banks and the retail industry. Apple has lined up support from banks and credit card companies, but Best Buy and Walmart have said they will not support Apple Pay, according to reports. Instead, they will go with a competing mobile wallet application, CurrentC.
Facebook Asks Users to Bare Souls Over Ad Hiding
September 12, 2014
Facebook has updated its ad policy with two changes. One gives users the option of explaining why they don't want to see a specific ad in their News Feed. The second update takes this new policy a step further by giving more weight to the feedback provided from users who rarely hide ads. Facebook's goal is to identify ads that aren't good fits or are generally offensive.
Polar Buy Hints Google+ Not Left Out in the Cold
September 12, 2014
Google on Thursday announced its acquisition of online polling startup Polar. "At first, it was difficult to find the connection ... opinions and polls?" mused marketing and social media expert Lon Safko. Upon reflection, "the acquisition was about driving engagement and audience to websites," he said. "Polar makes it easy to engage with your followers."
Gadget Ogling: It's Raining Apples
September 12, 2014
It's usually around here that I introduce the column and tease the agenda, but since absolutely nothing happened in the gadget world this week, I'm going to take it easy. Oh, wait -- sorry. Apple happened. Welcome to a special edition of Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, a weekly peek at just-announced gadgets. Of course, the big topic is Apple's iPhone 6 and its first wearable, the Apple Watch.
Verizon May Launch Have-It-Your-Way Internet TV
September 12, 2014
Verizon in the first half of next year will launch an Internet TV service that offers a selection of custom channels as well as a bundle of content from the Big Four networks, according to reports. Represented in the mobile-minded bundle will be not only content from ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, but also millennials-focused programming from DreamWorks Animation's Awesomeness TV.
Apple Pay Could Slam Door on Data Thieves
September 11, 2014
Despite the efforts of some big name tech players, consumers have been reluctant to turn their smartphones into wallets. That could be about to change with Apple Pay. Apple Pay is the new mobile payment system Apple introduced with its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus earlier this week. "Apple being Apple is going to change the game," said Christopher Budd, threat communications manager at Trend Micro.
Apple's New iPhones: Ho-Hum and Controversial Too
September 11, 2014
Apple's new iPhones didn't take center stage at this week's big event. "The fact that they are ho-hum is interesting in itself," said Nick Spencer, a senior practice director at ABI Research. "Apple is now a company that follows rather than leads." Apple is "at least 18 months late with a large screen device," he pointed out, and its Apple Pay mobile payment feature is "not exactly new."
Apple's Cook Hits It Out of the Park
September 11, 2014
Apple made its annual iPhone announcement Tuesday, and there were several surprises, including one of those Steve Jobs "one more thing" moments. Now the question is, will the two new iPhones, Apple Pay and Apple Watch be a home run? Generally speaking, yes -- but with some caveats. The iPhone is coming in two new sizes. One is larger, meaning longer. The other is even larger, meaning even longer.
The Importance of Openness to the Internet of Things
September 10, 2014
Consumers today are in an awkward position. Personal privacy is being wiped out by the Internet. At the same time, new technologies that interconnect our devices, homes and offices are offering stupendous advantages. Welcome to the new Internet of Things' open world. "Openness" means something different depending on whether you're basking in the convenience or contributing to a vendor's cash flow.
Comcast Ad Tinkering Could Muck Up WiFi Security
September 10, 2014
Comcast has begun using JavaScript injection to serve ads for its services to devices connected to its publicly accessible Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the U.S. The ads are fleeting, but they can appear roughly every seven minutes. The program reportedly began months ago. "This practice is definitely concerning for multiple reasons," said the Electronic Freedom Foundation's Jeremy Gillula.
Apple Watch Dazzles Beyond High Expectations
September 10, 2014
Apple is almost never first to market in a product category, but when it does make its splash, it usually swamps all boats. That seems to be the case again in the smartwatch space. "Every other watch in the market is a beta version compared to what you're seeing coming from Apple," said analyst Michael Morgan. "None of us expected this to be a mind-blowing product," said analyst Trip Chowdhry.
Amazon's Hot Sale Stokes Fire Phone Interest
September 09, 2014
Amazon on Monday dropped the price of its 32-gigabyte Fire Phone to a mere 99 cents from its original $199, with a two-year contract. The 64-gigabyte version now sells for $99, down from its launch price of $299. The offer is available exclusively for AT&T's network and includes a free year of Prime. The news raised more than a few eyebrows. Was the price cut in response to sluggish sales?
Intel Picks Up Its Mobile Pace
September 09, 2014
Intel on Tuesday made a mobile splash as it kicked off the Intel Developer Forum being held in San Francisco through Thursday. It announced the commercial availability of Intel Edison, its postage stamp-sized System on a Chip, and of its second-generation Intel XMM 7260 and 7262 LTE modem. It also unveiled the MICA bracelet -- available exclusively on AT&T's network.
Apple Brings It
September 09, 2014
Apple on Tuesday rebuilt its iPhone foundation by introducing two new models with Retina HD displays: the iPhone 6 at 4.5 inches, and the iPhone 6 Plus at 5.5 inches. It launched Apple Pay, which promises to become the catalyst NFC mobile payment technology needs to become mainstream. Plus, it introduced the drool-worthy Apple Watch in two sizes, three style collections, and six choices of straps.
The Dark Side of BYOD
September 09, 2014
The BYOD trend offers pluses for both employers and employees, but sometimes there's a hitch. Under certain circumstances, the owner of a device suddenly might lose all of the data stored on it. Clients of Fiberlink remotely wiped 81,000 mobile devices between January and June. About 30,000 of them, or 37 percent, were cleaned of everything -- including personal data.
Twitter Cautiously Experiments With Buy Button
September 09, 2014
Twitter on Monday began testing a new Buy button with a small percentage of its users in the U.S. -- one of the first steps in a larger initiative to build purchase functionality into the service. A small group of brands, including Burberry, Home Depot, Keith Urban, the Nature Conservatory and Soundgarden, are participating by sending offers that are unique for Twitter users.
Salesforce's Investment Bodes Well for the Mobile IoC
September 08, 2014
Salesforce.com's vision of the Internet of Customers is getting clearer, and it has a decidedly mobile orientation. The company on Monday announced the launched the Salesforce1 Fund -- a dedicated fund in its newly renamed investment unit, now called "Salesforce Ventures" -- that will pour $100 million into companies building mobile apps and connected products based on the Salesforce1 Platform.
Can Cook Stir Up That Old Black Magic?
September 08, 2014
Excitement is mounting as the countdown to Apple's mysterious Tuesday event ticks away. Apple is widely expected to unveil two new iPhones -- one in the usual smartphone form factor and the other a phablet. There's also a good deal of anticipation for an iWatch or other stylish wearable that will kick the sector into high gear. Some expect Apple to go full blast into the healthcare industry.
Gadget Ogling: Curves and Edges, Toasty Toes, Smart Charger and Dumb Wearables
September 05, 2014
Welcome to the latest installment of Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, a weekly look at just-announced personal tech items. There's plenty on the menu this time around: Samsung's latest smartphone and tablet salvo; two pieces of smart, on-the-go tech; some curved home entertainment options; and wearable devices from an unlikely source. Tthese are not reviews -- my ratings reflect my interest.

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