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FCC Proposes Subsidy to Close Broadband Gap
March 10, 2016
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Tuesday announced a $2.25 billion plan to expand the federal Lifeline subsidy program to help low-income consumers afford broadband Internet service. Lifeline, which currently allows low-income consumers to buy mobile phone service at a discount, would let them buy standalone broadband starting Dec. 1 for $9.25 per month or apply the discount to bundled services.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Review Buzz: It's the Bee's Knees
March 9, 2016
Reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge came out Tuesday, and they were overwhelmingly positive. "What the S7 line does, and does smartly, is it comes back to the basics and does the basics well," remarked Ramon Llamas, a research manager at IDC. Samsung is "hitting the right notes with improved battery life, external storage capacity and the quality of the camera."
Google's Loons to Glide Over India
March 8, 2016
Google has been in talks with telecom service providers in India to bring its Project Loon to the subcontinent, Rajan Anandan, Google's managing director for Southeast Asia and India, said in an interview published Monday. The project would deliver Internet access via balloons floating thousands of feet in the air. It is Google's latest effort to bring Internet access to remote parts of Asia.
Google's Hands Free Puts Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
March 3, 2016
Google on Wednesday announced that it has begun testing an app dubbed "Hands Free," which lets Android and iOS smartphone users make purchases via their devices without taking them out of their pockets or purses. Early adopters in Silicon Valley can use the system at some McDonald's, Papa John's and other eateries. The app offers connectivity via Bluetooth Low Energy, WiFi and location services.
Apple Event Date Nudges Court Showdown
March 1, 2016
Apple reportedly has changed the date for the launch event for its 4-inch iPhone and new iPad Air from March 15 to March 21. If the rumor is correct, Apple will be holding the event the day before it appears in a federal court in California to contest a controversial court order. "The timing seems to be a miscalculation on Apple's part," said John Carroll, a professor at Boston University.
Fitbit Leads Surge in Wearable Sales
February 26, 2016
Wearable device makers shipped more than 27 million units globally in the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase of nearly 127 percent over the year-ago quarter, IDC reported Tuesday. Vendors shipped a total of 78.1 million units in 2015, up 171.6 percent over 2014, according to the "Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker" report. Fitbit led the growth, followed by Apple and Xiaomi.
Microsoft Buys Xamarin to Boost Cross-Platform Development
February 25, 2016
Microsoft on Wednesday announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Xamarin, a platform provider for mobile app development. Xamarin's platform will be used in conjunction with Microsoft's Visual Studio, enabling developers to build apps using C# to deliver fully native mobile app experiences across platforms, including Android and iOS, said Microsoft's Scott Guthrie.
MasterCard Will Put Selfies to Work for Authentication
February 23, 2016
MasterCard on Monday announced facial recognition and fingerprint technology that essentially would allow customers to take selfies to help authenticate their identity when engaged in mobile shopping. The rollout, which is planned for this summer in the U.S., Canada and part of Europe, follows a pilot of biometrics by MasterCard and International Card Services with Dutch participants.
Facebook May Launch Risky Messenger Ad Program
February 22, 2016
Facebook has been preparing to push personalized ads through its Messenger app, according to a report last week. The company will allow brands to send their own marketing materials through the popular chat app, suggests a leaked document apparently intended for Facebook's advertising partners. The changes could go into effect during the second quarter of the year.
Investors Bet $57M on Jana's Global Internet Access Strategy
February 19, 2016
Jana on Thursday announced it has raised $57 million in Series C funding, enabling it to continue its plans to connect developing countries to the Web. Verizon Ventures led the funding round, with backing from Spark Capital and Publicis Groupe. The backing will give Jana the boost it needs to connect its next billion users, according to company spokesperson Meagan Ward.
A Glimpse Into the 5G Wireless World
February 18, 2016
Your world is about to change. 5G is coming. Whether you are a wireless carrier, a handset maker, an app developer, a mobile TV provider, a worker, investor or consumer, your world is about to undergo a major transformation. AT&T recently announced plans to start testing 5G technology this year. Wireless data transmissions could be 10 to 100 times faster over 5G than on current 4G networks.
Report: Apple Moving Quickly to Sell New iPhone, iPad Models
February 16, 2016
Apple will begin selling new models of its iPad tablets and iPhones in mid-March, according to a report published last week. It will debut a 4-inch iPhone, called the "iPhone 5se," as well as a new iPad Air at a March 15 event, followed by a retail and online sales launch three days later, said the report. Apple is not expected to offer its usual preorder sales event.
AT&T Jumps Into the 5G Race
February 13, 2016
AT&T on Friday announced plans to start testing 5G technology, with a possible limited commercial rollout before the end of 2016. 5G offers the promise of besting the speeds of today's fastest wireless networks by a factor of 10 to 100, through the use of millimeter waves, network function virtualization, and software-defined networking. AT&T is collaborating with Ericsson and Intel on the effort.
Yahoo May Have Found a Lifeline
February 11, 2016
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdams last week confirmed that his company was exploring an acquisition of some of Yahoo's assets, which would be placed under the corporate umbrella of Verizon's AOL unit. McAdams discussed Verizon's interest in an interview with Mad Money host Jim Cramer. Giving AOL CEO Tim Armstrong control of some of Yahoo's assets would be good for investors.
Twitter's New Algorithm Raises De-Democratization Fears
February 10, 2016
Twitter on Wednesday gave users the option of using a new algorithmically organized feed that would deliver more relevant messages -- not necessarily the newest -- first. The new approach to disseminating tweets was spearheaded by Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey, who is under pressure because of the company's lack of growth. Compared to other social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter is lagging behind.
Google Strikes Back at Ad Blockers
February 6, 2016
Google this week reportedly pulled one mobile ad blocker from the Google Play store and prevented another from being updated. The moves come on the heels of Samsung's announcement this week that it was opening up its mobile Web browser to ad blockers. AdBlock Fast, which was one of the first blockers to take advantage of Samsung's largesse, was tossed from Google Play.
Vaio's Phone Biz to Test Windows 10's Reception in Asia
February 5, 2016
Vaio on Wednesday announced Phone Biz, a Windows 10 mobile phone. The device doesn't have a SIM, leaving users free to select their own carriers. The Phone Biz lets users easily access corporate apps, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange, as well as the Azure cloud, according to Vaio. The OS is synced with the latest version of Windows 10.
Uber Makeover Draws Derision
February 4, 2016
Uber on Tuesday unveiled a new logo, the culmination of a two-year effort to develop a rebranding strategy. The new logo will be depicted in the Uber app in colors localized to each of the 65 countries where the company has a presence. For example, it's pink in Mexico, red in India, gold in China and oak in Ireland. The colors and patterns are meant to bring out Uber's human side.
Apple Pencils In March 15 for 4-Inch iPhone Launch
February 4, 2016
Apple is planning an event to unveil a refresh of its iPhone 5s and its Apple Watch, as well as to introduce a new version of its iPad Air, according to a Tuesday report. However, the event date could change, or the company could opt for an online announcement. The 4-inch Phone 5se reportedly will look similar to the 5s and sell at the same price point: $450.
Fitbit's Alta Is Dressed to Kill
February 3, 2016
Fitbit has unveiled a new fitness tracker that highlights muted colors and fashion-forward design elements. The Alta, priced at $129, has a brushed, stainless steel body that supports interchangeable bands, so that it doesn't stand out for the wrong reasons. Consumers can select bands from the Classic line, available in plum, teal, black and blue for $30 each.
T-Mobile Wins OpenSignal Speed Tests
February 3, 2016
T-Mobile's 700-MHz rollout has given its mobile users some of the fastest data speeds in the U.S. market, according to a report OpenSignal released Tuesday. OpenSignal crowdsources data on carrier signal quality from users who have its consumer mobile application installed. T-Mobile has the fastest 4G LTE download speeds in the country, overtaking Verizon by a slight edge.
IBM Expands Social Business Capabilities
February 3, 2016
IBM on Monday announced new capabilities for its Connections business social network platform. The functions will let users customize communities by role or function, manage files with personal subfolders, and remain productive on the go with polls and surveys for mobile devices. Admins get enhanced controls so they can secure apps with application-level passwords.
Samsung Answers Android Ad-Blocking Call
February 2, 2016
Samsung on Sunday released a version of its mobile browser that supports applications that block advertising on Web pages. The browser upgrade can be applied to devices running Android Lollipop and higher. Apple released similar support for the Safari mobile browser last year, but this is the first time a major maker of Android hardware has supported ad blocking.
T-Mobile's Binge On May Run Afoul of Net Neutrality Rules
January 29, 2016
T-Mobile's Binge On streaming video service violates Net neutrality rules, according to a report authored by Barbara van Schewick, director of The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. Among the reasons the Binge On service may be problematic: It doesn't offer unlimited video streaming, raising transparency concerns; and it gives participants a competitive advantage.
Facebook Bathes in Q4 Mobile Magnificence
January 28, 2016
Facebook on Wednesday reported earnings of 79 cents per share on $5.84 billion in revenue for Q4 2015, and annual revenue of $17.93 billion, an increase of 44 percent year over year. Net income for the full year ended Dec. 31 was $3.69 billion. Analysts reportedly had expected per-share earnings of about 68 cents on revenue of $5.37 billion for the quarter.
Sprint to Lay Off Thousands of Customer Service Reps
January 28, 2016
Sprint plans to lay off about 2,500 employees, including five vice presidents, according to news reports this week. About 2,000 of the cuts are in customer service. The company reportedly will close or reduce operations at six customer care centers: at its Overland Park headquarters in Kansas and in Colorado, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Wall Street Backs Off Apple
January 28, 2016
Their fears confirmed, investors were bearish on Apple Wednesday, the day after the company reported its slowest-growth quarter ever. The company's shares closed the day at $93.44, down 6.55 percent. In its Q1 earnings report, Apple prepared investors for what may come next: its weakest quarter for iPhone sales in 13 years. Even worse is its gloomy forecast for next quarter's iPhone sales.
iPhone Sales Could Be Slowing
January 26, 2016
In the runup to the release of Apple's Q1 2016 earnings report Tuesday, one of the big unanswered questions was whether the iPhone could maintain its sales momentum. Q1 2015 iPhone sales hit a record 74.5 million units, and it's possible the latest quarter's shipments may not equal -- let alone exceed -- that mark. IDC has forecast of slowing sales industrywide for 2016.
AOL Buys AlephD to Boost Publisher Support
January 26, 2016
AOL on Monday announced that it has agreed to purchase AlephD as it ramps up efforts to boost its key assets: its global content brands, millennial-focused over-the-top content, original video content, and programmatic advertising platforms. AlephD's algorithms focus on publisher analytics and price floor optimization. They let publishers control and optimize inventory pricing and packaging.
New Little iPhone May Sprout This Spring
January 26, 2016
An iPhone with a 4-inch display and some features found in Apple's latest models will launch in March or April, according to a report that surfaced last week. The model reportedly will be called the "iPhone 5se" -- for "special edition" -- and will be offered at the same price point as the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5se will have design features similar to the 5s, which was released in 2013.
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It's dead -- Google, Facebook and others killed it.
Personalized advertising is the worst -- it's creepy.
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