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India Trades Free Basics for Internet Freedom
February 9, 2016
India's Telecom Regulatory Authority on Monday ruled in favor of Net neutrality, effectively banning Facebook's Free Basics Internet access app. "This is a very important decision for the future of the Internet in India," said Barbara van Schewick, director of Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, whose paper the TRA cited in its ruling.
Keybase Releases Encrypted File-Sharing iPhone App
February 8, 2016
Keybase last week announced the alpha release of the Keybase app for the iPhone with a cryptographically secure file mount. Users can write data in an automatically created folder in this format: /keybase/public/username. Files written in the folder are signed automatically and appear as plain text files. The folder prevents server-side and man-in-the-middle attacks, Keybase said.
Google Strikes Back at Ad Blockers
February 6, 2016
Google this week reportedly pulled one mobile ad blocker from the Google Play store and prevented another from being updated. The moves come on the heels of Samsung's announcement this week that it was opening up its mobile Web browser to ad blockers. AdBlock Fast, which was one of the first blockers to take advantage of Samsung's largesse, was tossed from Google Play.
Vaio's Phone Biz to Test Windows 10's Reception in Asia
February 5, 2016
Vaio on Wednesday announced Phone Biz, a Windows 10 mobile phone. The device doesn't have a SIM, leaving users free to select their own carriers. The Phone Biz lets users easily access corporate apps, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange, as well as the Azure cloud, according to Vaio. The OS is synced with the latest version of Windows 10.
Uber Makeover Draws Derision
February 4, 2016
Uber on Tuesday unveiled a new logo, the culmination of a two-year effort to develop a rebranding strategy. The new logo will be depicted in the Uber app in colors localized to each of the 65 countries where the company has a presence. For example, it's pink in Mexico, red in India, gold in China and oak in Ireland. The colors and patterns are meant to bring out Uber's human side.
Microsoft Acquires SwiftKey to Advance AI Goals
February 4, 2016
Microsoft on Wednesday announced an agreement to acquire SwiftKey, whose software keyboard and SDK are used on more than 300 million Android and iOS devices. SwiftKey's technology aligns with Microsoft's vision for more personal computing experiences "and directly supports our ambition to reinvent productivity by leveraging the intelligent cloud," said Microsoft's Harry Shum.
Apple Pencils In March 15 for 4-Inch iPhone Launch
February 4, 2016
Apple is planning an event to unveil a refresh of its iPhone 5s and its Apple Watch, as well as to introduce a new version of its iPad Air, according to a Tuesday report. However, the event date could change, or the company could opt for an online announcement. The 4-inch Phone 5se reportedly will look similar to the 5s and sell at the same price point: $450.
T-Mobile Wins OpenSignal Speed Tests
February 3, 2016
T-Mobile's 700-MHz rollout has given its mobile users some of the fastest data speeds in the U.S. market, according to a report OpenSignal released Tuesday. OpenSignal crowdsources data on carrier signal quality from users who have its consumer mobile application installed. T-Mobile has the fastest 4G LTE download speeds in the country, overtaking Verizon by a slight edge.
IBM Expands Social Business Capabilities
February 3, 2016
IBM on Monday announced new capabilities for its Connections business social network platform. The functions will let users customize communities by role or function, manage files with personal subfolders, and remain productive on the go with polls and surveys for mobile devices. Admins get enhanced controls so they can secure apps with application-level passwords.
Samsung Answers Android Ad-Blocking Call
February 2, 2016
Samsung on Sunday released a version of its mobile browser that supports applications that block advertising on Web pages. The browser upgrade can be applied to devices running Android Lollipop and higher. Apple released similar support for the Safari mobile browser last year, but this is the first time a major maker of Android hardware has supported ad blocking.
Oracle Pulls Plug on Java Browser Plug-In
January 30, 2016
Oracle earlier this week announced its decision to scrap its Java browser plug-in. The plug-in, a frequent target of hackers, won't be included in the next version of JDK 9, which is expected to ship in September. Oracle's action was motivated by browser makers' withdrawal of support for the plug-in. Developers of applications that depend on it need to consider alternatives, the company said.
Facebook Bathes in Q4 Mobile Magnificence
January 28, 2016
Facebook on Wednesday reported earnings of 79 cents per share on $5.84 billion in revenue for Q4 2015, and annual revenue of $17.93 billion, an increase of 44 percent year over year. Net income for the full year ended Dec. 31 was $3.69 billion. Analysts reportedly had expected per-share earnings of about 68 cents on revenue of $5.37 billion for the quarter.
Sprint to Lay Off Thousands of Customer Service Reps
January 28, 2016
Sprint plans to lay off about 2,500 employees, including five vice presidents, according to news reports this week. About 2,000 of the cuts are in customer service. The company reportedly will close or reduce operations at six customer care centers: at its Overland Park headquarters in Kansas and in Colorado, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
FCC Chief Proposes End of Set-Top Box Rule
January 28, 2016
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Wednesday announced that he'd shared with colleagues a long sought-after proposal to loosen the set-top box's grip on home entertainment. The proposal seeks to spur competition and consumer choice in an arena dominated by large cable and satellite television providers. Wheeler's proposal would provide a mechanism for creating new ways to access video content.
FDA Guidelines Target IoT Medical Device Security
January 28, 2016
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week took a step toward addressing the threat the Internet of Things poses to patients and their data by releasing some proposed guidelines for managing cybersecurity in medical devices. "Networked medical devices, like other networked computer systems, incorporate software that may be vulnerable to cybersecurity threats," the FDA says in its proposal.
GoPro Shooters Can Send Live Streams Up Periscope
January 27, 2016
GoPro on Monday announced an integration with Twitter's Periscope app that allows live streaming from a GoPro Hero4 camera. Periscope users can switch between broadcasting from their iPhone's camera to their GoPro directly from the phone screen with the touch of a button, GoPro said. The feature allows GoPro shooters to use the Periscope interface like a production switchboard.
New Little iPhone May Sprout This Spring
January 26, 2016
An iPhone with a 4-inch display and some features found in Apple's latest models will launch in March or April, according to a report that surfaced last week. The model reportedly will be called the "iPhone 5se" -- for "special edition" -- and will be offered at the same price point as the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5se will have design features similar to the 5s, which was released in 2013.
The Gears of E-Commerce
January 26, 2016
As the U.S. retail industry puts another long holiday shopping season behind it, a few changes appear to be taking place. For one thing, it appears there's a new recipe for success. Growing a business requires more than setting up a fancy website, placing inventory into a warehouse, and engaging a service to make speedy deliveries. That's in part because customer expectations have changed.
Samsung Rolls Out Stylish Gear S2 Classic Smartwatches
January 25, 2016
Samsung on Monday began a global rollout of the latest versions of its Gear S2 Classic smartwatch, hitting China first. There are two models in the Gear S2 Classic New Edition line -- one with 18K rose gold plating and the other with a platinum finish. They have ivory and black genuine leather bands, respectively. The watches' new faces feature characters from the Peanuts comic strip.
Execs Exit as Dorsey Works to Reshape Twitter
January 25, 2016
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Sunday announced that four executives have exited the company. Alex Roetter and Kevin Weil, who managed the engineering teams responsible for generating ads; Katie Stanton, who helped guide the international offices; and Skip Schipper, who oversaw HR and recruiting, all have departed. Roetter, Weil and Stanton each had been with Twitter for more than five years.
Android Is Download King, but iOS Reigns Over Revenues
January 23, 2016
Worldwide downloads of Android apps in 2015 were double those for iOS, but revenues from iOS apps were nearly twice those of Android, according to an App Annie report released this week. First-time device owners in emerging markets drove the huge increase in Android downloads, researchers found. "This growth opens up avenues for publishers to create new markets," the report says.
ESPN Boss Sees Significant Role for Sling TV
January 21, 2016
Streaming media services, including Dish Network-owned Sling TV, could help make up for losses in traditional pay TV subscribers, ESPN President John Skipper said an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Tuesday. Sports remains a growth business, he said. It would be foolish to predict that sports rights -- and therefore prices -- would decline in the near future.
Gadget Ogling: Baring Souls, Soaking Up Sound, and Tracking Babes
January 19, 2016
As time advances, more responsibilities seep into our lives. We get wrapped up in our own worlds, and don't necessarily make enough time to spend with the friends and family members who've been important parts of our worlds for decades. Concepter's Soul time tracker seeks to make us more conscious of the time we spend with those who matter most to us.
WhatsApp Scraps Fee Model
January 18, 2016
WhatsApp on Monday announced that it would drop the annual subscription fee and allow people to use the service for free. Company founder Jan Koum announced the move at the DLD Conference in Munich. While more than 900 million people worldwide use WhatsApp to stay in touch with family and friends, the $1-a-year subscription fee could be a barrier to further growth, he said.
Apple Loses Track of News App Traffic
January 13, 2016
Apple this week revealed that technical difficulties with its News app have led the company to underestimate usage figures for the more than 100 publications offering content through the software. The company discovered an error in the app that's resulted in underestimating the number of readers using the software, according to Apple's Eddy Cue, who said the company is fixing the problem.
Periscope's Live Streams Now Pop Up in Tweets
January 13, 2016
Periscope on Tuesday announced integration with Twitter, allowing users to view its live-stream broadcasts directly in the Twitter iOS app. Previously, Periscope broadcasters could share only links to their videocasts in tweets. Now they can embed video directly into tweets, and the content can be set to autoplay. Periscope has more than 20 million user accounts, according to CEO Kayvon Beykpour.
Facebook Messenger Dashes Past 800 Million User Mark
January 11, 2016
Facebook last week announced that its Messenger app had reached the 800 million monthly user milestone. Messenger lets users send text messages, stickers, photos, videos, voice clips, GIFs, their location and money. It's a standalone app, so one doesn't have to be a Facebook member to use it, and it's cross-platform, running on smartphones, tablets and desktops.
Uber Settles With New York AG After 'Playing God' With Data
January 8, 2016
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Thursday announced a deal that would require Uber to encrypt geolocation information about its riders, as well as enhance its data security practices. The AG opened an investigation into Uber in 2014, in response to allegations that the service had tracked riders and displayed their locations in an aerial format, known internally as the "God View."
Apple Rings In 2016 With Record App Sales
January 7, 2016
Apple on Wednesday announced that customers spent a record $1.1 billion on apps and in-app purchases the during the holidays. Jan. 1 was the App Store's best day ever, with consumers spending about $144 million, the company said. Since 2008, the store has generated close to $40 billion in revenue for developers. Consumers spent more than $20 billion in the store last year.
New Smart Cam Can Distinguish Between Cats, Cat Burglars and Cars
January 6, 2016
Netatmo on Monday announced a smart security camera and floodlight combo at CES 2016. The Presence camera is designed for outdoor use and can identify objects such as people, animals and vehicles. The camera, which connects to a rectangular floodlight, can be customized to send alerts to a smartphone app or desktop browser based on what it sees and where it sees it.
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What is your reaction to the rumored
4-inch iPhone?
I'm in -- I'd love to have a smaller iPhone.
I prefer a larger iPhone, but it's good to have more options.
I expect innovation from Apple -- seems it's running out of ideas.
I'm not interested in an iPhone of any size.
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