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Apple Flirts With Lower-End Mobile Market
March 18, 2014
Facing unrelenting pressure to come up with a new killer device, plus strong competition from Android smartphones, Apple on Tuesday unveiled lower-cost versions of its iPhone 5c and 9.7-inch iPad. The company debuted an 8-GB version of the 5c in Europe, and it revived the iPad 4, calling it the "iPad with Retina display." Both items are offered at what are relatively low prices for Apple devices.
All Hacks on Deck: Japan Invites Hackers to Go At Government
March 18, 2014
Japan invited hackers -- nice ones, that is -- to go to town on the nation's government departments Tuesday. The move is designed to expose weaknesses in cyberdefenses and bolster national security ahead of the 2020 Olympics. Japan enlisted 50 cyberdefense specialists to gather at an emergency response center in Tokyo; an additional 100-plus were stationed offsite.
Google Adds Some Serious Oomph to Play Games
March 17, 2014
Google on Monday announced a number of new features to the Google Play Games platform that are intended to boost discoverability and cross-platform multiplayer gaming while providing developers with deeper analytics. Three out of every four people who use the Android operating system play games, according to Google. There are more than 1 billion activated Android devices.
Google Now Encrypting Searches in China
March 14, 2014
Google's years-long spat with Beijing just began a new chapter. The company has begun encrypting searches made by people in China, where Google has long run afoul of regulations designed to keep a tight lid on searches deemed inappropriate. Google's encryption of searches in China reportedly will prevent the "Great Firewall of China" from detecting when users search for certain terms.
Windows Phone: New Friends, New Markets, New Lease on Life?
March 14, 2014
Following months of speculation that Microsoft may be rethinking its approach to getting its beleaguered Windows Phone into the hands of more consumers, two reports came to light on Thursday suggesting that indeed may be the case. First, Huawei CMO Shao Yang reportedly said that his company was planning a similar dual-booting device for release in the U.S. in the second quarter of this year.
Marketers, Start Your Engines
March 13, 2014
The connected car may be zooming into the mainstream: Apple has officially entered the market. The debut of CarPlay comes nearly a year after Apple first previewed iOS in the car, tweaking the platform to move Siri, Maps and other services to the dashboard. Apple showed off CarPlay and announced new partners Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo early last week at the Geneva International Motor Show.
WhatsApp Flaw Opens Database Doors to Hackers
March 12, 2014
An Android developer's disclosure that it's possible to hack into the WhatsApp database and read the text of the chats from another application could be a big headache for Facebook, which has agreed to purchase the app for $19 billion. "This is not a bug, but a design decision of WhatsApp," said Bas Bosschert, chief technology officer of Double Think.
7.1 Update: iOS by the Dashboard Light
March 12, 2014
Apple has released a major update for iOS that takes its mobile firmware beyond the confines of smartphones and tablets and onto car dashboards. The Apple CarPlay system, which will be available in select models this year, promises to insert the most common features of iPhone that a driver may wish to use while behind the wheel directly into the car's built-in display.
Jawbone's UP24 Makes Its Way to Android
March 11, 2014
After initially launching to an iOS-only audience late last year, Jawbone's UP24 wireless fitness tracker on Tuesday finally arrived for Android. With the UP24 wristband and accompanying app, users can wirelessly sync sleep, movement and diet data to the app via Bluetooth Smart. "Our entire community can enjoy the benefits in real time," said Jawbone VP Travis Bogard.
Turkey PM, Prez Go Round and Round About Social Media
March 10, 2014
Turkey's prime minister and president are spewing conflicting talking points on the nation's stance toward social media. It turns out the one who's getting nailed on social media is the one who wants more restrictions. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week vowed to restrict social media after this month's local elections, but President Abdullah Gul said that was "out of the question."
Apple's CarPlay Gambit: Retract One Claw to Hook With Another
March 07, 2014
Apple's CarPlay initiative is a profoundly new tactic for Apple. Compared to its behavior in recent years, when Apple has focused intense control over every element of its product environment -- from packaging, hardware and operating systems to the submission process for its App Stores -- Apple's stance in its CarPlay initiative is a very big deal.
The Road to Immersive Smell Tech Could Be Paved With Bacon
March 07, 2014
Kraft wants you to wake up and smell the Oscar Mayer bacon, and its latest marketing campaign could point to smell-related technology finally getting a whiff of success. The company has debuted a new smartphone application designed to help users wake up to the sound of crackling bacon. Oscar Mayer also is giving away thousands of iPhone attachments that produce the bacon-frying smell.
Evernote for Android Could Make the Pen Mighty Again
March 06, 2014
Evernote this week launched handwriting capabilities in its app for Android, offering a long-awaited extension of some of the functionality it brought to iOS when it acquired Penultimate back in 2012. "Sometimes there's no better way to capture an idea than to write it down or sketch it out," wrote Andrew Sinkov of Evernote's marketing team in a Wednesday blog post.
Watch Out, NSA - Here Comes the Snowden Phone
March 06, 2014
Brash startup mobile carrier FreedomPop, which leases bandwidth from Sprint and has launched several aggressive programs to help it take off, on Wednesday unveiled the Privacy Phone -- nicknamed the "Snowden Phone" -- a Samsung Galaxy SII tweaked to be highly secure. The fully encrypted device costs $189, which includes unlimited talk, text and 500 MB of data for three months.
Flipboard Gets Its Hands on Zite
March 05, 2014
Zite has traded hands again, three years after CNN bought it for $20 million. Flipboard now is acquiring the service, CNN reported, initially pegging the new sale price at $60 million. It later backed away from that figure, calling it "inaccurate." The transaction is a multi-stage deal in which CNN gains an equity stake in Flipboard, according to unnamed sources.
Beijing to Officials: Please, No Smartphones During Session
March 05, 2014
Officials partaking in China's National People's Congress, which began Wednesday, have been asked to please not mess around on their mobile devices during the session. A state-owned newspaper published a list of rules for attendees, including this one: "Do not use your phones to send text messages or make phone calls during meeting; do not use your computer or phone to play games."
Brian Cox's Wonders of Life Brings the Universe-Tromping Physicist Back to Earth
March 05, 2014
There are three elements that bring a great nature documentary to life: first, you need great video footage; second, you need to infuse the content with a sense of time, scope, and wonder; and third, you need a cool narrator. Brian Cox's Wonders of Life app delivers all three. I stumbled upon the app after Apple highlighted it as an Editor's Choice.
Federal Agencies Knee-Deep in Mobile Devices
March 05, 2014
U.S. government agencies are moving briskly into the mobile era, spurred by the fast pace of technological change. The scope of the federal mobile market is broad-based, and to some degree depends upon what is meant by such terms as "wireless," "mobility" and "digital." The parameters of that market are coming into focus, with federal agencies recently having created a track record of procurement.
Now Drivers Can Engage Siri in Safe CarPlay
March 04, 2014
Apple on Monday unwrapped its CarPlay auto initiative at the Geneva International Motor Show, less than a month after Google announced its grand plans to bring Android into automobiles with its Open Automotive Alliance. CarPlay will enable iPhone users to make calls, consult maps, play music and receive messages either through the vehicle's native interface or through voice commands.
Zynga Trots Out New Mobile Versions of Old Favorites
March 04, 2014
Zynga COO Clive Downie on Monday announced the early rollout three mobile-first games: FarmVille 2: Country Escape, New Zynga Poker and New Words With Friends. The soft launch is taking place in certain markets before the games' formal debut in June. The release as a key part of Zynga's larger strategy to regain its momentum.

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