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Mozilla Trumpets Firefox Smartphone Progress
June 11, 2014
Mozilla showcased the latest developments in its plan to offer inexpensive smartphones running the open source Firefox OS at the Mobile Asia Expo this week in Shanghai. Although Mozilla has announced plans to sell Firefox smartphones for less than $25 and has teamed with Chinese fabless semiconductor firm Spreadtrum to create reference designs, it did not mention pricing in its expo announcements.
Europe's Cab Drivers Rally Against Uber
June 11, 2014
Cab drivers throughout Europe clogged city streets as they protested the rise of Uber in their locales. Thousands of drivers blocked roads and participated in rallies to decry the service, which links users to drivers through a smartphone application. Residents in London, Paris, Berlin, Lisbon, Milan and Madrid all faced a day when regular cabs were not making pickups due to the drivers' strike.
Honeywell's Lyric May Disturb Google's Nest
June 10, 2014
Honeywell has launched its Lyric smart thermostat, a device widely seen as a challenge to Google's Nest product. Like Nest, the Lyric can be controlled by a smartphone app; however, it uses geolocation to turn home heating and cooling systems on or off when the consumer's smartphone is within a specified distance. Apart from that, the two devices generally appear to have fairly similar features.
The 5 Things That Made This Year's WWDC Radical
June 06, 2014
While there were two hours jam-packed with announcements at the keynote presentation kicking off Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference this week, you can count the really important announcements that will create lasting change on one hand. The new programming language, Swift, isn't one of them. Wait, what? Not Swift? Why? There are five bigger deals.
All Things Appy: Top 5 Android Launcher Apps
June 05, 2014
One easy way to refresh an aging Android smartphone phone is to replace the home screen with a Launcher. Launchers are skins with themes and unique behaviors, like transparency and scrolling styles. Our No. 1 pick is Nova launcher, an extremely customizable launcher app designed to speed up performance. Neat tricks include substituting KitKat-styled icons for the aging Ice Cream sandwich versions.
Samsung to Try Out Tizen Smartphone in Russia
June 03, 2014
Samsung this week officially launched its long-anticipated Tizen phone, at the Tizen Developer Conference being held in San Francisco through Wednesday. One description of Tizen is that it's an open source Linux-based operating system from Samsung -- but that might be open to debate. The Samsung Z Tizen phone initially will debut in Russia in the third quarter.
Apple Teases Consumers, Doubles Down With Devs
June 03, 2014
Apple managed to pull off a mean feat on Monday at its WorldWide Developers Conference. Without announcing a single hardware device, it teased consumers with dozens of updated features in iOS 8 and the next version of Mac OS X -- dubbed "Yosemite" -- then doubled-down with app developers by offering tons of new APIs, along with elements of deep integration between apps and devices.
China Calls for Increased Testing of IT Products
May 23, 2014
The ever-testy cyberstandoff between the U.S. and China got a new twist when Beijing announced that it would start "cybersecurity vetting of major IT products and services" used for national security and public interests. The vetting is designed to prevent suppliers from using their products to control, disrupt or shut down clients' systems, or from using the systems to scoop up information.
Iran Releases Fans Detained Over Music Video
May 22, 2014
Iran has released at least some of the people who appeared in a music video for a song by American pop artist Pharrell Williams. The video, set to the Williams tune "Happy," showed people dancing on rooftops of the capital of Tehran. It is not clear if all of the people arrested for making the Tehran-based video have been released or if they later will be put on trial.
Flappy Bird 2 Due in August, Paternity Uncertain
May 16, 2014
Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen this week said that the wildly popular mobile game will return in August and also that he is working on a brand-new offering. After dropping a tantalizing hint back in March, Nguyen on Wednesday told CNBC that the new Flappy Bird will deliver multiplayer capabilities and be "less addictive." On Thursday, however, he said that he was not the one creating the game.
Yahoo Buys Blink Team, App to Go Dark
May 15, 2014
Yahoo has acquired Blink, a mobile app that destroys messages at a predetermined time set by the user. Yahoo intends to shut down both the iOS and Android versions of the app in the coming weeks. Blink made its debut just a year ago. The conventional thinking is that Yahoo acquired Blink largely for its talent, as it seeks to build out a robust portfolio of mobile products.
For Safe, Private Mobile Browsing, Huddle Under F-Secure's Freedome
May 15, 2014
At a meeting with the press earlier this year, F-Secure Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen -- yes, the man who sparked the angry exodus of a small group of malware vendors from the RSA security conference -- mentioned the company would soon unveil Freedome, a cloud-based service that would be pretty much the bees' knees for protecting mobile devices.
Precision Cooking Fires Up the Crowd
May 14, 2014
A new crowdsourced Kickstarter project has blasted out of the gate and racked up more than $1,000,000 in funding -- its goal was a modest $100,000 -- with 34 days to go. The project? The Anova Precision Cooker. At first glance, the Anova Precision Cooker looks like a massive electronic thermometer with a plug-in cord. It's used for the sous-vide style of cooking.
Parrot Uncages New Drone
May 13, 2014
Parrot has added a new model to its line of airborne drones -- the Bebop. The lightweight Bebop includes some snappy features, such as built-in image stabilization, a 14-megapixel camera with a fish-eye lens, and support for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Although a price hasn't been announced, the drone is expected to hit a sweet spot between $500 and $1,000.
Snapchat Makes FTC Privacy Charges Disappear
May 09, 2014
Snapchat has agreed to a settlement with the United States Federal Trade Commission to resolve privacy issues resulting from a hacker's publication in January of data associated with 4.6 million of its users. The company has not admitted any wrongdoing, but it has agreed to implement a comprehensive privacy program that will be audited by a third party for the next 20 years.
Adobe Voice Can Make You a Better Storyteller
May 09, 2014
If you have a story to tell -- even a dull one -- Adobe Voice can improve your presentation. The free app can't make your story more compelling, but it can give you a better shot at getting it across. Adobe Voice is available for the iPad 2 and above running iOS 7. To kickstart your use of Voice, Adobe offers sample slideshows and a tutorial that provides the essentials for creating a short video.
Alibaba Files for Much-Anticipated IPO
May 07, 2014
Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba filed an initial public offering prospectus Tuesday, inching closer to what could be the biggest technology IPO in history. Alibaba Group handles 80 percent of all online commerce in China; it processed some $250 billion worth of transactions for 231 million users in 2013. The company's market value has been estimated as high as $200 billion.
The Digital Writing Revolution
May 07, 2014
It's natural to reach for a pad and pen when you need to take notes, but the end result can be frustratingly limited. Yet clicking away on a keypad doesn't quite cut it for all situations. "The cool thing about using the pen with the computer is that it gives you choices," said Doug Little, public relations manager at Wacom. "You're able to draw, write -- basically do anything you want."
Snapchat Adds New Features to Keep Users From Disappearing
May 02, 2014
Snapchat built its popularity on pictures that disappear, but new features added to the latest version of the app show its creators want it to be more than a one-trick pony. Both text and video chatting on Thursday became available in the mobile app for Android and iOS devices. "Until today, we felt that Snapchat was missing an important part of conversation: presence," reads the company blog.
All Things Appy: Top 5 New or Improved Android Apps
May 01, 2014
Five of the top free Android apps that either have been introduced for the first time or significantly updated this year are in the categories of password management, Web browser compression, lock screen functionality and media. Google's Android OS apps can be obtained in Google's Play Store. Browse to the Play Store -- you'll find it in your device's app drawer. Then search for the app.
New Salesforce Tool Lets Customers Send an SOS
April 29, 2014
Salesforce.com last week launched Salesforce1 Service Cloud SOS, a tool that allows companies to offer service via a mobile app. It consists of a button embedded in an app's interface, and as the name "SOS" suggests, it is meant for customers to press when they need help or assistance. Then, depending on the service apparatus of the company in question, a live agent will respond.
Zynga Heads Back to the FarmVille Trough
April 18, 2014
Zynga is once again plowing the furrow of its greatest success with the launch of FarmVille 2: Country Escape. The latest title from the casual gaming studio is a mobile-focused effort. Zynga has launched the game globally on iPhone, iPad and Android devices. FarmVille 2: Country Escape was crafted from the ground up as a new mobile experience.
Windows Phone 8.1 Becomes Available to Devs and Risk Takers
April 15, 2014
After an 18-month lull, Windows Phone took a step closer to an upgrade on Monday as Microsoft released version 8.1 of the operating system to developers. Unlike most developer versions of software, however, consumers can download and run the latest edition of Windows Phone on their mobile device -- as long as they're willing to void its warranty until their carrier OKs the upgrade.
Twitter Tries to Defuse Turkey Controversy
April 15, 2014
Twitter has agreed to close some accounts in Turkey, but the two sides are still at loggerheads over allegations of tax evasion and whether or not Twitter must maintain a physical presence in the country. Twitter Vice President of Global Public Policy Colin Crowell led a delegation of sorts to address the country's multifaceted grievances with the social media site.

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