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NASA and Google Do the Tango
April 18, 2014
Google's Project Tango smartphone, which is jam-packed with sensors, soon will be used in the International Space Station. NASA will swap out the smartphones it has used on two volleyball-sized free-flying satellites since 2011 with the Tango devices. NASA has flown modified Tango phones several times on an aircraft that can simulate microgravity by taking a parabolic flight path.
Smartphone Kill Switch Gets Breath of Life
April 16, 2014
CTIA and major mobile manufacturers, providers and operating system makers have entered a voluntary agreement to include antitheft measures in smartphones. The security and safety of mobile users is the top priority for the industry, according to CTIA, and the agreement is intended to protect consumers from smartphone theft while providing companies' with the ability to innovate.
Google Mounts $100K Project Ara Dev Challenge
April 16, 2014
Google announced a $100,000 developers' challenge prize on Wednesday, the second day of its Project Ara modular phone developers' conference. The top two runners-up will get all-expenses paid trips for two or three people to the next Ara devcon -- there will be a few more held this year -- and guaranteed hardware for the project, said Project Ara lead Paul Eremenko.
Amazon's Rumored 3D Smartphone May Radically Change E-Commerce
April 16, 2014
A picture may be worth a thousand words but the photo of what might be a smartphone in development by Amazon has produced many more words than that. The photo shows a black smartphone that looks like any number of mobiles on the market, save for the number of cameras on the front. In addition to the typical front-facing camera for selfies and video messaging, there are four others.
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.
Samsung's Galaxy S5 Splashes Into the Smartphone Market
April 11, 2014
Samsung on Friday rolled out its much-anticipated Galaxy S5 flagship smartphone in 125 countries worldwide, accompanied by a marketing and advertising blitz. The device was greeted with ambivalence. Some reports compared it unfavorably to the HTC One M8 and the 6-month-old iPhone 5S. Others said it offers only marginal improvements over the flailing S4, and some criticized it as bland.
France Bans Mobile Phones During Cabinet Sessions
April 10, 2014
French President Francois Hollande has imposed a ban on mobile phones during cabinet sessions, forcing ministers to leave their devices at the door. The move is designed to help "focus on what we must do," a spokesperson said, and will ensure that government folk "talk and listen to what is said and will no longer be able to tap away at this magnificent tool."
Courtroom Drama: Hollywood Sues Megaupload
April 08, 2014
Six Hollywood studios have banded together in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Megaupload, the wildly popular though now shuttered site that, in its heyday, was ground zero for file-sharing. The suit doesn't specify an amount of damages, but does say that the studios should be entitled to $150,000 per copyright infringement, as well as profits earned by Megaupload.
The Earth Is Moving Under the Smartphone Market
April 07, 2014
One thing that Apple made clear when it took the smartphone market away from then-dominant players Palm, BlackBerry and Microsoft is that to win you need to make big bets and change the battle. The market is now dominated by Apple and Google technology -- much of which Google doesn't control -- and Microsoft just swapped CEOs because the old CEO couldn't pull the needed rabbit out of his hat.
T-Mobile Won't Have BlackBerry to Kick Around Any More
April 03, 2014
BlackBerry has decided to part ways with T-Mobile. "BlackBerry has had a positive relationship with T-Mobile for many years," said CEO John Chen. "Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers." BlackBerry hopes to work with T-Mobile when the two parties have common business goals once again, Chen added.
Money Talks in Smartphone Kill Switch Debate
April 02, 2014
The notion of a smartphone kill switch has received considerable attention in recent months, but new research spells out in plain financial terms some fresh arguments in favor of the idea. A kill switch essentially is technology built into a smartphone that would allow it to be deactivated if it were lost or stolen, thereby safeguarding the legitimate owner's data.
Apple, Samsung Start New Round in Koh's Courtroom
April 01, 2014
Jury selection began Monday in the latest lawsuit between Apple and Samsung, being heard before Judge Lucy Koh in a United States District Court in San Jose, Calif. Apple is seeking about $2 billion in damages from Samsung for infringing its patents on smartphone and tablet technology, while Samsung is countersuing for about $7 million for two patents it claims Apple has infringed.
Apple Patent Addresses Texting-Walking Risk
March 28, 2014
Texting and walking can be dangerous, but Apple could be aiming to make it less so, judging from a patent awarded Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Apple has found an innovative way to use an electronic communication device's camera to continuously capture and present video images as background within a text-messaging session, suggests its Transparent Texting patent application.
HTC Flips Switch on One M8 Buzz Machine
March 26, 2014
Ask the Internet. That's the pitch in HTC's TV ads for its new flagship smartphone, the HTC One M8. It's a pitch that hopes to acquire by word of mouth what HTC was unable to get for its predecessor: consumer mindshare. "The challenge for any vendor outside of Samsung and Apple in the North American market is to get on the radar screen," said Gartner analyst Van L. Baker.
China Seeks Answers About NSA/Huawei Report
March 25, 2014
China's government is asking the U.S. to explain itself -- and to knock it off with all the cyberespionage -- following reports that the National Security Agency has had its way with Chinese telecom giant Huawei. The NSA reportedly penetrated Huawei servers to monitor communications among company executives, and to gain access to the dealings of Huawei customers.
Report: NSA Listens to International Calls From the Past
March 19, 2014
The National Security Agency reportedly possesses a system that enables it to record telephone calls -- all telephone calls -- in a foreign country, and review conversations for up to a month after they took place. The system is said to be akin to a time machine, allowing for retroactive snooping on foreign targets. Billions of calls are stored in a 30-day rolling buffer.
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 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.
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.
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.

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