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Microsoft's Nokia Deal Clears China Hurdle
April 09, 2014
Microsoft's proposed $7.4 billion acquisition of Nokia's mobile phone business is moving closer to the finish line, having just won approval from China's Ministry of Commerce. It is a key milestone for the transaction, which sailed through the U.S. and European approval processes with little difficulty or delay. The deal is expected to close this month.
Which Screen Comes Second Now?
April 08, 2014
Which came first, the mobile device or the television? OK, that one is easy -- but which comes first now -- the mobile device or the television? The answer is probably television, but it's not quite as obvious, is it? Television is the dominant screen for most consumers today, but signs are growing that the mobile screen might well supercede it at some point.
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 Kisses Up to BlackBerry Customers
April 04, 2014
After racking up a number of successes, T-Mobile clearly made a misstep earlier this year, when it promoted Apple's iPhone 5 to its BlackBerry customers. BlackBerry this week announced it would not renew T-Mobile's license to sell its products, which expires at the end of April. Now T-Mobile is now scrambling to keep its BlackBerry customers with an offer of a $100 credit.
Smartphone Tracking: How Close Is Too Close?
April 04, 2014
There you are, strolling down the coffee and tea aisle at the supermarket when you get an alert on your smartphone that you can get extra points in the store's reward program if you purchase a certain brand of coffee. Are you annoyed that you have been tracked with such precision that the merchant knows not only that you are in the store -- but also which food aisle you are in?
Net Neutrality Wins Tough Battle in European Parliament
April 03, 2014
The European Parliament on Thursday approved new Net neutrality rules. Net neutrality, both in the EU and in the U.S., refers to the concept of requiring ISPs to treat all traffic the same regardless of its source. In Europe, that means ISPs such as Vodafone or Deutsche Telekom can't deliver content from competitive providers of, say, online videos, via slower pipes or make them pay more.
BlackBerry's Coca-Cola Moment
April 03, 2014
BlackBerry CEO John Chen is trying to turn the company's fortunes around, and something it has in common with Coca-Cola could help. This is something very important, if BlackBerry realizes it. It's something that if done correctly could help the company succeed once again. I have followed BlackBerry for many years, watching its ups and predicting its downs. I believe it can recover.
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.
Doing the Mobile Payments Sync Dance
April 01, 2014
Two of the most hotly debated issues surrounding the future of m-commerce are these: 1) How quickly will it grow when consumers finally begin to accept the idea of a mobile wallet? and 2) When, exactly, are they going to start accepting it? There are myriad answers to those questions, including when security fears can be allayed, and when mobile payments offer more value than using a credit card.
Sony's New Business Slate Allows Document Doodling
April 01, 2014
Sony has launched a high-end tablet targeted at businesses, which allows users to annotate and draw on documents on an e-Ink screen. It is pitching Digital Paper as a solution for increasing productivity and streamlining collaboration in paper-heavy environments. It's targeting the legal and higher education sectors, along with corporate boards and government agencies, as potential clients.
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.
Microsoft's Office for iPad Scores Big
March 31, 2014
Microsoft last week unveiled Office for iPad, which consists of Excel, Word and PowerPoint, rearchitected from the ground up. Office for iPad is available as a free download for the iPad and iPhone, with limited capability. Users who want to create or edit documents with the office suite have to subscribe to Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft prefers Apple over Google, noted tech analyst Rob Enderle.
Telecom Customer Service: The Wrong Things Stay the Same
March 27, 2014
I started writing about service as a magazine editor back in the last century -- well, 1996, if you want to be specific -- but it might as well have been in the days of hula hoops and big fins on Fords. Service practices for telephone companies -- and for all utilities -- were still rudimentary, and they weren't getting any better. The telecom act of 1996 opened up competition.
HTC Needs to Turn Up the Heat
March 27, 2014
HTC this week announced the HTC One M8, a new model of its flagship smartphone. When the HTC One made its debut last year, AT&T Mobility sent me one to test drive. I thought it was very well designed. However, what it had in substance, the HTC One lacked in brand recognition, marketing, advertising and public relations. Let's face it, HTC is not a well known and loved brand.
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.
Rocket the Vote! NASA Asks People to Vote on New Space Threads
March 26, 2014
NASA is asking people to vote on their favorite design for the outer shell of the new Z-2 spacesuit. While the Z-2 models may descend from their Apollo 13-style ancestors, there are some decidedly 21st Century twists. The "Biomimicry" design, for example, has a reptilian flare; "Trends in Society" has a more everyday look -- at least, as far as spacesuits go.
Sony Gives Android Wear the Cold Shoulder
March 25, 2014
It's been just barely a week since Google's Android Wear project made its initial debut, but already one major maker of wearable devices has snubbed the new platform. Sony this week said it will stick with its own Android-based SmartWatch platform for wearables instead. Consumer electronics manufacturers including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung have signed on as Android Wear partners.
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.
Getting Mobile App Devs to Jump on Your Bandwagon
March 24, 2014
Earlier this year, during the Mobile World Congress, Jon Matonis, executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation, made a compelling argument for the use of bitcoin in mobile payment applications. Mobile payments have not made the traction many expected they would -- but bitcoin could neatly circumvents all of the obstacles that have held them back, Matonis explained.

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