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FCC's Spectrum Cash Cow Produces Rich Milk
November 25, 2014
Bidding for wireless spectrum in the United States Federal Communications Commission's latest auction has gone through the roof, raising more than $36 billion as of Tuesday morning. A total of 70 qualified bidders are seeking 1,614 licenses in the 1695-1710 Mhz, 1755-1780 Mhz and 2155-2180 MHz bands. The auction almost certainly will raise even more money over the next few weeks.
Wristband Heads Off Password Headaches
November 25, 2014
Has software glut got you down? Do you reuse passwords because creating unique ones for all your online accounts would cause a memory overload? If so, you may be interested in a bit of jewelry called the "Everykey," by a startup with the same name. Everykey is a wristband that removes the need to remember the countless log-in credentials we use every day.
Lollipop's Encryption Takes a Hefty Toll
November 24, 2014
The new full-disk encryption feature that's enabled by default in Android 5.0 Lollipop comes at a hefty price in terms of performance, according to a recent benchmark report. In fact, when full-disk encryption is enabled, random read performance drops by 62.9 percent, while random write performance falls by 50.5 percent, AnandTech reported late last week.
Apple's 'Get' Puts Paid to Free-App Sham
November 24, 2014
Apple has removed the word "free" from download buttons in its iOS and OS X app stores, replacing it with "get." European regulators recommended the action to Apple and Google earlier this year. In July, Google removed the "free" label from games that could be downloaded without cost -- but required in-app purchases to access a full set of features.
Gadget Ogling: Dueling Tablets, a Smart Scale, and Slooow Games
November 22, 2014
Welcome to our weekly look at the latest, greatest, and poorest gadgets to be revealed to the world. Hark as yours truly extols the virtues and horrors of two wildly different tablets, a smart kitchen scale, and video games requiring patience, among other objects. It's not like the planet needs another well-known consumer gadget maker whipping up Android tablets, and yet here we are.
NotCompatible Mobile Malware Gets Badder
November 21, 2014
A new version of the NotCompatible malware, which first appeared in 2012, is bigger, badder and pretty much indestructible, Lookout Security reported. And it can compromise corporate networks, thanks to the BYOD trend. The malware, called "NotCompatible C," focuses on Android devices. The NotCompatible Trojan is used to spread spam campaigns, among other nefarious activities.
SMS: It's Not Just for Marketing Any More
November 20, 2014
There appears to be a new trend emerging in the enterprise mobile engagement space, according to OpenMarket. Increasingly, its enterprise customers are adapting its platform to use SMS in new ways, said Tim Fujita Yuhas, the company's director of product management. Sometimes those uses are obvious CRM plays; sometimes they fall more under the rubric of Internet of Things.
Will Apple's Next iPhone Capture DSLR Quality With 2 Lenses?
November 20, 2014
The Apple rumor mill never stops spinning, and even though the iPhone 6 is barely here and the next version ages away, the most interesting rumor is the chance that the next iPhone will make a huge leap forward with its camera -- possibly using two lenses to produce DSLR-quality images. The rumor comes from John Gruber of Daring Fireball via an episode of The Talk Show podcast.
Jolla's Open Source Tablet Gets Crazy Crowd Love
November 19, 2014
Jolla, the company set up by former Nokia executives to keep the Meego operating system alive, raised more than $841,000 on Wednesday, the first day of its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. That's 221 percent of its goal of $380,000 -- and the campaign has 21 days to go, closing Dec. 9. Nearly 5,325 people have contributed to the campaign, although only about 3,800 actually purchased the tablets.
WhatsApp Battens Down the Hatches
November 19, 2014
WhatsApp has added end-to-end encryption and enabled it by default in the latest version of its Android messaging application, partner Open Whisper Systems announced Tuesday. The new feature taps Open Whisper's open source TextSecure encryption protocol to ensure that only a conversation's participants can read the messages they exchange. WhatsApp itself won't be able to decrypt the messages.
Google Glass May Be Saved by Obscurity
November 19, 2014
Whatever happened to Google Glass? In the early days, people got punched in bars, bounced from movie theaters, and pulled over in cars for wearing them, and some establishments outright banned "glassholes" from their premises. Google claimed the white "Cotton" beta model sold out when it held a one-day sale of Google Glass Explorer for United States residents at $1,500 a pop in April.
Nokia Hits the Comeback Trail With N1 Tablet
November 18, 2014
Nokia on Tuesday announced the N1 Android tablet, the first offering under its own brand since Microsoft's acquisition of its mobile phone business. The N1, slated for Q1 2015 release in China, will be made by Foxconn. Microsoft also offers a tablet under the "Nokia" brand -- the Nokia Lumia 2520 -- which raises the question of whether perhaps this might cause confusion among consumers.
Nvidia Launches a New Mobile Device Age
November 17, 2014
There was an announcement last week that I think is far bigger than folks realize: Nvidia announced a free Netflix-like streaming gaming service for its Shield products. I think this is a precursor to an event that is similar to what cable did to TVs years ago, and that it will change not only how we use these devices, but also what we use them for.
Gadget Ogling: A Creepy Echo, Clever Home Connections, Bizarre Smartphones and Flexible 3D Printing
November 15, 2014
Echo, Amazon's newest attempt at a smart personal assistant, is set to take pride of place in your home. The black tower is voice-activated and can play music, as well as provide information and news updates. It's from Amazon, so it also can update your shopping list. It's always on, so it's continually listening to you, wherever you are in a room. That's just more than a little unsettling.
Nexus 6, the Star Destroyer of Phablets, Goes on Sale
November 14, 2014
Google's Nexus 6 phablet on Friday became available for sale at Sprint stores, as well as on its website and through other Sprint sales channels. Priced at $696 with a plan, qualified buyers can purchase the Nexus 6 with no down payment, and 24 monthly payments of $29. The other three major U.S. carriers have announced plans to carry the Nexus 6 as well, but Sprint is first out of the gate.
Nvidia Flips Grid's Game-Streaming Switch
November 13, 2014
Nvidia on Thursday officially launched its Grid on-demand game-streaming service. Due to become available on Nov. 18 in North America, Grid will be free through June 30, 2015, for users of Nvidia Shield tablets and portable devices. "We intend to build Grid into a premium cloud gaming service, and the best global service," said Nvidia spokesperson Brian Burke.
Apple Preps for Enterprise Offensive
November 12, 2014
Apple reportedly has formed a dedicated sales team to pitch Apple products to CIOs, and it is working closely with app developers who have a corporate presence to sell into the enterprise. Apple's increased interest in the enterprise could be part of a long-term strategy to offset declining sales in the tablet market. For three consecutive quarters, iPad sales have fallen.
Microsoft Makes Lumia 535 Its Own
November 12, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday announced the Lumia 535 -- the first smartphone under its own brand since it completed its acquisition of Nokia in April. Microsoft is marketing the 535 as its "5x5x5" smartphone package. It has a 5-inch screen and 5-MP front- and rear-facing cameras. Microsoft will offer both single-SIM and double-SIM versions. Both will be 3G phones, preloaded with Windows Phone 8.1 and the Lumia Denim update.
Bankrupt Sapphire Supplier Blasts Apple in Court Document
November 12, 2014
GT Advanced Technologies, in a document made public last Friday, alleged that it "incurred losses ... due to Apple's inordinate control over GTAT's liquidity, operations ..., and decision making." The U.S. Bankruptcy Court of New Hampshire unsealed the document, in which GTAT CEO Daniel W. Squiller accuses Apple of using a "bait and switch" strategy in its dealings with the company.
Researchers Shine Spotlight on OS X/iOS Masque Attack
November 12, 2014
Researchers at FireEye on Monday made public the existence of the Masque Attack, which threatens iOS and Mac OS X operating systems. Masque Attack exploits a flaw in Apple's OSes that allows the replacement of one app by another so long as both apps use the same bundle identifier. All apps, except those preinstalled on iOS, such as Mobile Safari, can be replaced.
New Tool Alerts Etailers to Suspicious Characters
November 11, 2014
As thoughtful as mobile phone makers are when they design their products, there are always punters who want something that isn't there and are willing to hack a device to get it. In the Android world such a hack is called "rooting" a phone; in the iOS world, it's called "jailbreaking." Regardless of what it's called, it can turn a phone into a can of worms for retailers.
Texting Drivers Willing to Play With Fire
November 10, 2014
Texting while driving is dangerous. We know that intuitively; we know it because the statistics say so; we know it because we have seen any number of public service announcements warning of its hazards. A whopping 98 percent of respondents in a recent survey of people who text at least once a day acknowledged the danger of texting while driving -- yet most admitted to doing it anyway.
Dell: Using Technology to Change the World
November 10, 2014
I was at Dell World last week, and it is kind of amazing how far the company has come since it went private. Interestingly, much of the big tent content was less about Dell's technology and more about how technology was being used to change the world. This was kind of a scary event in some cases, because we are far from ready for some of the changes.
Gadget Ogling: Garish Walkie-Talkies, Slick Cameras and Mini 3D Printing
November 08, 2014
Welcome to another installment of every tech-loving optimist's and misanthrope's favorite look at the week's most wondrous and pitiful new gadgets. Ahead, for your delight and dismay, are studies of a wearable walkie-talkie-type communication device, a 360-degree action camera, a tiny 3D printer, a smart camera attachment, and a clever mobile roaming solution.

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