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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.
Google's Project Tango Struts Into the Spotlight
February 21, 2014
Google is making an increased push into the 3D imaging sphere with the announcement of its Project Tango technology. The project is aimed at helping mobile devices fully map a 3D space to give them the same type of understanding of space and motion that humans have, through a blend of robotics and computer vision tools. The prototype smartphone Google unveiled has myriad sensors.
WhatsApp Gives BlackBerry a Bounce
February 20, 2014
Facebook's $19 billion purchase of mobile-messaging service WhatsApp appears to have buoyed the value of BlackBerry Messenger -- and by extension, BlackBerry. BlackBerry shares went up nearly 10 percent in after-hours trading because, in the words of Reuters, Facebook's purchase "put a rough valuation metric around the smartphone maker's own BlackBerry Messaging service," also known as "BBM."
BlackBerry CEO Miffed With T-Mobile
February 19, 2014
John Chen, BlackBerry's new chief executive, lashed out at T-Mobile after it sent an email to BlackBerry users imploring them to ditch their current devices and switch to an iPhone. BlackBerry was not notified about T-Mobile's email blast beforehand, causing Chen to become "outraged" over what he dubbed a "clearly inappropriate and ill-conceived marketing promotion."
If You Were Apple, You'd Ignore Low-End Smartphones, Too
February 18, 2014
Smartphone sales have been rising. The 968 million smartphones sold surpassed feature phone sales for the first time, Gartner reported. However, sales actually topped 1 billion, according to IDC. What's the difference of 32 million between friends? Not much. Here's a more important point: High-end smartphone sales have been slowing fast, while low-end smartphone sales have been rising fast.
Two's Company in Global Smartphone OS Market
February 13, 2014
Google's Android and Apple's iOS led the global smartphone operating system market in 2013, a year in which worldwide shipments surpassed 1 billion units for the first time, according to IDC. The two OSes accounted for 93.8 percent of global smartphone shipments for the year. Together, they made up 95.7 percent of the smartphone shipments in the final quarter of the year.
Content Providers: Consumers Have Gone Mobile, Ready or Not
February 13, 2014
Americans are living in an increasingly digital and mobile world, according to "The Digital Consumer," the latest study published by research firm Nielsen. The report determined that Americans now own an average of four digital devices, with average per-person content consumption of 60 hours per week across devices. Consumers have more options than ever for when and how they access content.

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