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Internet.org Hands Out Free Samples in Zambia
July 31, 2014
The Internet.org collective's mission of bringing the entire planet online took a step forward Thursday with the release of an app affording limited free mobile Internet access to users in Zambia. While around 85 percent of the world's people are located in areas with cellular network connectivity, only 30 percent access the Internet. In Zambia, just 15 percent have online access.
Target Adds a Ripple to Image-Recognition Pool
July 31, 2014
Target last week introduced In a Snap, a new image-recognition app that lets users buy products from the pages of select magazine and printed ads. It is unlike earlier variations of such apps in that consumers don't have to scan codes or follow a link to buy a product. It is similar to -- although far more limited than -- the Firefly functionality in Amazon's recently released Fire Phone.
Microsoft Sends Cortana to Far-Flung Corners of the Earth
July 31, 2014
Microsoft is preparing to debut an update to its Windows Phone 8.1 operating system, which includes expansion of its Cortana personal assistant availability to more regions. The update introduces Cortana to China and the UK in beta form, and Canada, India and Australia in alpha mode. Cortana is only just starting to make waves in the market, several years after Apple debuted Siri.
Thanks, C Spire - for Leading Mississippi Schools to Tech's Fast Lane
July 31, 2014
If you have been following business and personal technology in recent years, you've seen a quantum leap forward. Unfortunately, education is not moving ahead as quickly. Technology can help, though, and C Spire is setting a good example, propelling Mississippi schools forward. C Spire is helping schools and entire cities create a quantum leap of their own.
Twitter Claims Legions of Uncounted 'Users'
July 30, 2014
Twitter posted healthy revenue for the second quarter -- US$312 million, up 124 percent year-over-year. Its profit? Not there yet. However, even though the company reported a net loss of $145 million, investors are likely to overlook the lack of profit for some time. Financials aside, what Twitter really wants everyone to know is that it is big -- as in average monthly user big.
Android's Fake ID Could Put Millions in Jeopardy
July 30, 2014
An Android vulnerability that exists in every version from v2.1 Eclair to v. 4.3 Jelly Bean could expose millions of users, Bluebox Security has warned. The flaw lets attackers fake the certificates of specially privileged parties, such as Adobe and Google Wallet, and serve them up with malware that bypasses detection by Android. Attackers then can take over every app running on an Android device.
The Retail Channel Is Dead - Long Live the Omnichannel
July 29, 2014
As Amazon's Fire Phone finds its way into consumers' hands, brick-and-mortar retailers are on guard. Amazon's new device is equipped with technology that seems to have been designed to take showrooming to new heights -- or depths, depending on one's perspective. The Fire Phone, in brief, has functionality that lets users scan an item they see in front of them or in a magazine.
BlackBerry Picks Secusmart to Tighten Mobile Security
July 29, 2014
BlackBerry on Tuesday announced plans to acquire Secusmart, a developer of high-security voice and data encryption and anti-eavesdropping technologies. Mobile devices increasingly are being used for more critical tasks and to store more critical information, noted CEO John Chen. "The acquisition of Secusmart underscores our focus on addressing growing security costs and threats."
Bringing Retail Into the 21st Century
July 29, 2014
Let's get one thing straight: E-commerce will not kill the physical retail store. Hold on, I hear you object, the digital world has utterly disrupted our shopping habits. We rarely enter a store without having researched the big-ticket items we want to buy. Much of our holiday shopping is done with a mouse click. When we do venture into a store, we rarely do so without clutching a smartphone.
Swell Deal Could Give Apple Something to Talk About
July 29, 2014
It appears Apple is close to acquiring talk radio app Swell for $30 million. Much of Swell's development team reportedly will be joining Apple, and the app is expected to be shut down sometime this week. Although Swell managed to raise $7.2 million from the likes of DFJ, Google Ventures and InterWest Partners, it hasn't been able to get much traction in the crowded iTunes App Store.
Yahoo's in a Flurry Over Mobile Advertising
July 28, 2014
Another Yahoo acquisition hit the news last week -- Flurry Analytics, and it was widely seen as a bid to raise the company's profile in the hot mobile ad market. Mobile advertising will exceed $31 billion this year, eMarketer has predicted. The market currently is dominated by Facebook and Google, which together account for more than 75 percent of all mobile ads worldwide.
Global Tablet Sales Go From Surge to Shuffle
July 25, 2014
Tablet sales will show dramatically slower growth this year, according to IDC's Q2 worldwide quarterly tablet tracker. Worldwide tablet sales grew 11 percent year over year in Q2, with shipments totaling 49.3 million units. While sales will continue to grow, they will do so more slowly than in 2013, when they grew by 51.6 percent, according to IDC.
IBM Is a 'Kindred Spirit': Whoa, Tim Cook, Whoa
July 25, 2014
The Apple deal with IBM has shown us a whole new side of Tim Cook -- the gushing, hype-laden, excited-but-still-vague Tim Cook who says things like "kindred spirit," "fit together like a puzzle," "huge opportunity," and "radical step for enterprise." Who peppers his speech with words like "profound," "complementary," "landmark" and "thrilled." Holy macaroni.
Sprint Jumps Aboard Google's Apps for Business Bandwagon
July 24, 2014
Sprint will begin selling Google Apps for Business services to enterprise customers starting next month through a new partnership announced Wednesday. Included in Sprint's mobile-focused offering will be a full array of deployment and support services, along with value-added services such as single sign-on. Among the packages included in Google Apps are Gmail, Google Drive and Google Docs.
Facebook Rolls in Mobile Ad Dough
July 24, 2014
Facebook chalked up $2.68 billion in ad revenue in Q2, up 67 percent year over year, and mobile ads accounted for about 62 percent of that haul, totaling $1.66 billion. "The ability of Facebook to move into the mobile ad space and to monetize it successfully was heavily questioned last year," said Andreas Scherer, managing partner at Salto Partners.
Amazon Fire Phone Wins Respect, if Not Raves
July 23, 2014
Early reviews for Amazon's first foray into the smartphone market are mixed, with a general sense that the device is a good phone overlaid with some flashy features. Amazon announced the Fire Phone last month, trumpeting its 3D display, which uses facial recognition and front-facing cameras to shift perspective, depending on where the user's head is.
Tim Cook Reveals Apple's Plan for World Domination
July 23, 2014
Strong iPhone and Mac sales droves Apple to achieve record revenue for the June quarter -- quarterly revenue of $37.4 billion and quarterly net profit of $7.7 billion, which is $1.28 per share and about a 12.3 percent rise in profits. Interestingly, Apple managed to bump up its profit margin, too: Gross margin was 39.4 percent compared to 36.9 percent in the year-ago quarter
EU Rides Apple Over Weak In-App Purchase Policies
July 23, 2014
The EU last year adopted a "common position" on how purchases made within mobile and online applications should be treated by operators of app stores. Now Google is drawing praise for striving to comply with EU guidance, while Apple is being rebuked for dragging its feet. Google announced specific steps it's taking, including removal of the word "free" from any app that enables in-app purchases.
Apple May Have Ordered a Big Boatload of Big iPhones
July 22, 2014
The frenzy over the forthcoming iPhone intensified Tuesday with a report that Apple has ordered up to 80 million units of the device. Meanwhile, Samsung unveiled an ad poking fun at the "iPhone 6" and Xiaomi introduced its answer to the iPhone, the Mi4. Xiaomi, known for high specs at relatively low prices, is cutting inroads into markets in the developing world where Apple is struggling.
China's Internet: It's Not Personal, It's Business
July 21, 2014
The Internet adoption rate in China appears to be slowing, based on a report that shows the lowest six-month increase in the number of Internet users in eight years. The total number of Internet users in the country reached 632 million by the end of June. That includes the 14.4 million people who joined Internet user ranks in the first half of the year, according to the CNNIC's biannual report.

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