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FTC Goes After Amazon for Fleecing Kids
July 11, 2014
The FTC has filed suit against Amazon over billing kids for unauthorized in-app purchases that in many cases they did not know they had made. The suit accuses Amazon of violating Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce. The FTC is seeking a court order requiring Amazon to refund victims for the unauthorized charges.
New IoT Group to Get Devices Talking Among Themselves
July 11, 2014
Half a dozen companies this week launched the Open Interconnect Consortium to define the connectivity requirements and improve the interoperability of the 200 billion devices that will make up the Internet of Things by 2020. The consortium aims to define a common communications framework based on industry standard technologies, regardless of form factor, operating system or service provider.
Apple Fails to Get Little I Robot Off Siri's Back
July 09, 2014
The Beijing First Intermediate Court ruled against Apple in a case that pitted it against a Shanghai-based firm and the country's State Intellectual Property Office's Patent Review Committee. The court found that the intellectual property rights of Zhizhen Internet Technology, a company that holds a patent for a voice-controlled digital concierge called "Little I Robot," were valid.
Your Abandoned Smartphone May Betray You
July 09, 2014
Doing a factory reset to wipe the data off smartphones does not work, and the data can be recovered, warned Avast. The company recovered tons of data, including more than 40,000 stored photographs, from 20 used Android phones purchased from eBay. Device owners need to overwrite their files to make them irretrievable, Avast said, touting one of the applications it offers.
BlackBerry Squares Up for a Fight
July 09, 2014
BlackBerry's upcoming Passport smartphone is creating a buzz because of its shape. The Passport is square, unlike the rectangular form of conventional smartphones. Its 4.5-inch screen offer the same viewing space as a rectangular 5-inch screen, but the greater width allows a better experience, according to the company. BlackBerry is positioning the device's shape as a break from convention.
LG G Watch Rides In on 1st Android Wear Wave
July 08, 2014
LG has launched its Android Wear-powered G Watch around the world. It can be ordered from Google Play and purchased at retailers in the United States, Canada, France, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Japan and South Korea. In 15 other countries -- including Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Singapore and New Zealand -- the device will be available only from retailers.
TSA Kills Dead Devices' Ticket to Ride
July 08, 2014
In a move that's bound to raise the power management consciousness of air travelers, the TSA on Sunday announced a ban on electronic devices that won't power up before they're carried onto a plane. During the security examination conducted by TSA officers before passengers board a plane, travelers may be asked to power up some electronic devices, the agency said.
Tiny Spectrometer Tells You Exactly What You're Eating
July 08, 2014
For all those who have wondered about the ingredients in their lunchtime burrito, Consumer Physics is gearing up to release a handheld device designed to provide the answer. Dubbed "SCiO," the device is a tiny spectrometer that can scan food, medicines and plants to determine their molecular composition. SCiO can deliver nutrient values and evaluate ripeness and spoilage levels.
Reading Rainbow Finds Pot of Gold
July 07, 2014
Reading Rainbow's Kickstarter campaign hit a significant milestone last week: It not only raised the $1 million it originally sought to create a Web version of the popular children's television show within the first 24 hours of the campaign, but also wrapped the 35-day effort with an additional $4.4 million for a grand total of $5,408,916 in donations. The project was organized by LeVar Burton.
Microsoft Paddles Nokia Lumia 635 Downstream
July 07, 2014
Microsoft-owned Nokia created some fireworks over the holiday weekend by making the Lumia 635, sporting Windows Phone 8.1 , available with T-Mobile's Simple Choice prepaid plan over the Home Shopping Network. The first device to feature personal digital assistant Cortana, it will be available directly from T-Mobile this Wednesday and from its MetroPCS subsidiary later this month.
Rumor: Microsoft's Smart Band Will Play Well With Others
July 03, 2014
Microsoft is said to be preparing the launch of a wearable fitness device that will be compatible with the iOS and Android platforms, as well as Windows Phone. While the device likely will display the time, along with notifications from the user's smartphone, the form factor is expected to be a wristband rather than a smartwatch. The band reportedly will function mainly as a fitness tracker.
Despite Apple's Aperture Fumble, the Photos for OS X End Goal Could Win It All
July 03, 2014
There's a lot riding on Apple's new Photos for Mac OS X app. At WWDC, Apple briefly showed off an early version of its upcoming Photos app, which will integrate with iCloud and the iOS 8-based Photos app with the iCloud Photo Library service. Naturally, this plan raised some questions, and late last week, Apple revealed that it has stopped developing new features for Aperture and iPhoto.
Samsung's Galaxy S5 Mini Sashays on Stage
July 02, 2014
Roughly three months after the launch of its flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone, Samsung on Tuesday debuted the device's smaller sibling: the widely anticipated Galaxy S5 mini. Featuring a 4.5-inch HD 720 x 1280 Super AMOLED display, the Galaxy S5 mini comes equipped with a Quad Core 1.4-GHz processor and 1.5 GB RAM, along with 8-MP rear-facing and 2.1-MP front-facing cameras.
Twitter Taps TapCommerce for Mobile Retargeting
July 02, 2014
Twitter is deepening its mobile advertising capabilities with the acquisition of TapCommerce, a retargeting and re-engagement provider. Twitter announced the deal on Monday, calling the company's toolset an important piece of the mobile advertising platform it is building for marketers, app developers and users. TapCommerce enables real-time programmatic mobile ad buying across multiple exchanges.
Google Aims to Defrag Android Universe
July 01, 2014
As any Android user knows, the version you're using can vary widely because it depends on parties other than Google. That's why nearly two-thirds of users are running a version of Android introduced in 2012 or earlier. With Android making the leap to wearables and the Internet of Things, however, Google is aiming to make that kind of fragmentation a thing of the past.
Supreme Court Turns Deaf Ear to Google's Street View Appeal
June 30, 2014
The Supreme Court has declined Google's appeal of a lower-court ruling in a class-action lawsuit that alleges it violated federal wiretap laws with its Street View cars. The court left in place a decision the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down in September. The appeals court declined to dismiss the case, ruling that Google was not exempt from liability under the federal Wiretap Act.
Google Glass Service Could Make All Customers Feel Special
June 30, 2014
Virgin Atlantic recently announced the expansion of a pilot project in which flight attendants use Google Glass to meet and greet customers. For the initial project, the airline equipped the concierge staff in its Upper Class Wing at London's Heathrow airport with Google Glass so they would have easy access to such information as connecting flights or loyalty points.
The Big Winners at Google I/O 2014
June 30, 2014
At last week's Google I/O, Nvidia was the big winner. It was showcased in TVs, mobile devices and automotive as the supplier of a key technology. Other brands were mentioned in the keynote, but it was Nvidia that was mentioned most consistently -- and its technology apparently was connected to most of the demos. Though it was mentioned only in passing, Lenovo actually was the other big winner.
Google's GAL Makes Glowing I/O Debut
June 27, 2014
One of the many notable things to come out of Google's I/O conference this week was the announcement that 40 new auto industry companies representing 25 brands had joined the Open Automotive Alliance, which Google formed earlier this year. Google also unveiled Google Automotive Link, or GAL, which works like Apple's Carplay, along with an Android Auto software development kit.
The Next iPhone Is a Naming Catastrophe Waiting to Happen
June 27, 2014
I can't help but wonder how the heck Apple is going to name its new iPhone lineup when it debuts this fall. Make no mistake, the naming scheme is due for a change. Last year, the shakeup was two form factors that introduced the plastic body of the iPhone 5c with the clear flagship iPhone 5s model. With the next iPhone, the top-of-line iPhone model won't be clear to consumers at all.

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