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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.
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."
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.
Galaxy S5 Could Win Over Mobile Payment Skeptics
March 04, 2014
Consumers love their smartphones, but a substantial number of them don't love using them to pay for purchases. With Samsung's introduction of its Galaxy S5 phone last week, the company is betting it can change some of those consumers' minds on that subject. Like Apple's iPhone 5s, the S5 has a fingerprint scanner. Unlike the Apple product, though, the S5's scanner can be used to pay for things.
Mobile's Year of Living Big, Strong and Superpowerfully
March 03, 2014
At last week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the major players showed up loaded for bear. Wearable computers became more robust, we got another Android fork, phones acquired superpowers, and it became clear that big -- really big -- is going to be all around us. Oh, and if you are into power and performance, this is the beginning of your era.
Boeing Unveils Suicidally Secure Smartphone
February 27, 2014
Boeing this week filed an application with the United States Federal Communications Commission for a secure Android smartphone called the "Black" that will self-destruct if anyone tries to physically open the case. The company will offer it to the U.S. defense and security communities. The Black has endless modularity capabilities, according to Boeing.
Google Issues Clarion Call for Project Ara Devs
February 27, 2014
Google is ramping up its plans to bring the Project Ara modular smartphone to market by scheduling its first developer conference. The company will hold the conference on April 15-16 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. A limited number of developers will be able to attend the conference in person, but anyone can participate online through a live stream and interactive Q&A.
BlackBerry Tries to Bring Back That Lovin' Feelin'
February 25, 2014
BlackBerry has announced new handsets and services aimed at moving the company forward. At the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, CEO John Chen debuted two new phones -- the Q20 and the low-cost Z3. The Q20 offers the classic BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard and experience on BlackBerry 10. It features BlackBerry's physical Menu, Back, Send, and End buttons along with a trackpad.
Windows XP to Live On in China
February 25, 2014
A handful of Chinese Web companies are banding together to provide user support -- system upgrades, security services and the like -- to domestic users after Microsoft turns out the lights on Windows XP. Microsoft announced that it's going to punt on Windows XP in early April. Alas, an estimated 25-plus percent of China's computers run on the operating system. But fear not!
Samsung's 'Meaningful Innovation' Crusade
February 25, 2014
Samsung hinted it wasn't about to rock the mobile world with the choice of the warmup band for its Unpacked 2014 event Monday -- the Barcelona Opera House Chamber Orchestra. At the event, held at the Mobile World Congress in Spain, it announced a new version of its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, as well as an upgrade of its smartwatch, the Gear 2, and an advanced fitness band, the Gear Fit.
Nokia Mixes It Up With New Android X Family
February 24, 2014
Nokia on Monday confirmed months of speculation with the unveiling of its X family of smartphones running Android. The X, X+ and XL are priced at $123, $136 and $150, respectively. Like Nokia's low-end Asha line, the X devices come in bright colors. They borrow some of Asha's other well-received features as well. Unlike Asha, however, the X series will not be available in the U.S.
Spanish Woman's Twitter Musings Lead to Terror-Related Conviction
February 24, 2014
Twenty-one-year-old Spaniard Alba González Camacho was convicted of inciting terrorism thanks to some ill-conceived tweets about a far-left terrorist organization. She became the first person in Spain to be convicted of such charges for Twitter posts. González Camacho implored the terror group "Grapo" to murder politicians. Grapo was responsible for 80-some killings, mostly in the 1970s and 80s.
Samsung's New Galaxy S5 Might Ship Bathtub-Ready
February 21, 2014
Of all the Samsung Galaxy S5 rumors to hit this week, the one that had me sit up straight and pay close attention is the rumor that the new Galaxy S5 may be both waterproof and dustproof. This is a big deal, because it would be the first major flagship smartphone with wide and popular distribution to be waterproof. Of course, Samsung last year offered the somewhat waterproof Galaxy S4 Active.

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