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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.
Sonos Swings Into Google's Playground
April 10, 2014
A new partnership between Sonos and Google means that users of the Google Play Music app for Android now can stream music to their Sonos speakers directly from the app itself. Available in 25 countries, the new capability effectively eliminates the need to use Sonos' Controller app as an intermediary. It represents Sonos' first such integration partnership with a major music streaming service.
Dropbox Reaches for Brass Ring With Photo-Sharing Carousel
April 10, 2014
Dropbox on Wednesday unveiled Carousel, a new app designed to function as a storage space for users' photos and videos. The Carousel app allows Dropbox users to organize, share and save photos from their Android or iOS phone as well as from Dropbox. Photos are sorted by event to allow for easy access to the files, and the app automatically backs up new photos or videos.
Facebook Mixes Up Mobile Messaging
April 10, 2014
Facebook is ditching the private messaging function in its main mobile application in favor of having the entire messaging experience take place inside the dedicated Messenger app. The company launched the dedicated messaging app on iOS and Android in 2011, and later debuted it on Windows Phone. Facebook last year redesigned the app to focus on aiding those who want to be reachable at all times.
Americans Distrust Tech Companies
April 07, 2014
The steady stream of reports on government surveillance of Americans has taken a toll on the image of high-tech companies, according to a Harris poll. More than two-thirds of Americans -- 67 percent -- feel technology companies violate their users' trust by helping the government spy on its citizens, suggests the poll of 2,000 consumers, which was sponsored by ESET.
FireChat Messaging App: Look Ma, No Internet!
April 02, 2014
FireChat, an iPhone app designed for anonymous hyperlocal communication, could change the way we connect with one other: It does not require an Internet connection or even a cell signal to work. FireChat takes advantage of the Multipeer Connectivity Framework in iOS 7. This feature allows developers to connect devices to each other using Bluetooth, WiFi, and peer-to-peer connections.
Doing the Mobile Payments Sync Dance
April 01, 2014
Two of the most hotly debated issues surrounding the future of m-commerce are these: 1) How quickly will it grow when consumers finally begin to accept the idea of a mobile wallet? and 2) When, exactly, are they going to start accepting it? There are myriad answers to those questions, including when security fears can be allayed, and when mobile payments offer more value than using a credit card.
Microsoft's Office for iPad Scores Big
March 31, 2014
Microsoft last week unveiled Office for iPad, which consists of Excel, Word and PowerPoint, rearchitected from the ground up. Office for iPad is available as a free download for the iPad and iPhone, with limited capability. Users who want to create or edit documents with the office suite have to subscribe to Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft prefers Apple over Google, noted tech analyst Rob Enderle.
Candy Crush Fails to Melt Wall St.'s Heart
March 27, 2014
Investors didn't share the same excitement for King Digital Entertainment stock as Candy Crush fans do for the mobile game, sending King shares down nearly 16 percent in Wednesday's disappointing first day of trading. It slipped a further couple of percentage points on Thursday. King's stock debuted at $22.50, but dropped 15.6 percent to close at $19 -- this year's worst first day drop for an IPO.
LG Sheds Light on Internet of Things
March 25, 2014
LG Electronics on Monday unveiled a light bulb designed to illuminate consumers lives in a more intelligent way. The Smart Lamp can be controlled by an iOS or Android device over Bluetooth or WiFi. The 10W LED bulb is 80 percent more energy-efficient than other incandescent bulbs, LG claimed, and will last for up to 10 years when used for around five hours per day.
Flappy Bird May Soar Again
March 20, 2014
The mobile game Flappy Bird seemed dead and buried, but a tweet from its creator suggests it may yet rise from the ashes -- perhaps not quite like the phoenix. In response to a Twitter user asking whether the game would return to the App Store, Dong Nguyen responded, "Yes. But not soon." Indie developer Nguyen released the game last May, having created it in just a few evenings.
Office for iPad May Be Waiting in Wings
March 20, 2014
Microsoft's tip of a news event next week triggered an avalanche of prophecy that the long-awaited version of Office for the iPad was about to be released. Microsoft is billing the event in San Francisco on March 27 as a "briefing and news focused on the intersection of cloud and mobile computing." Microsoft officially withheld further details, but an assortment of unnamed sources did not.
Earth Narrowly Missed Solar Blasts in 2012
March 20, 2014
Enormous solar blasts, which possessed the potential to wreak havoc on electrical grids and satellites, barely missed Earth in 2012. The near-misses, revealed by researchers Wednesday, would have been akin to the 1859 Carrington Event, the largest solar storm ever recorded. While there were no satellites to cripple back then, the storm knocked out telegraph systems across the U.S.
NCAA March Madness Live App Is Crazy Good
March 20, 2014
I've known some diehard college basketball fans to take vacation days just to watch the popular NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, but lesser fans can sneak away to catch the action without camping on the living room couch: NCAA Digital has updated its NCAA March Madness Live iOS app for 2014. With it, you can live-stream 67 games as they are broadcast from CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.
Android Stomps Into Wearables Field
March 19, 2014
Google on Wednesday released a developer preview for Android Wear, a day after announcing the project, which Android head honcho Sunder Pichai teased at SXSW earlier this month. The preview, which includes a software development kit, an Android emulator and a preview support library, is for development and testing only -- not for production apps.

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