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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.
Pew: More Americans Looking for Love Online
February 12, 2016
Online dating numbers are up in the United States, the Pew Research Center said Thursday, based on the results of a recent survey. Today, it's possible for singles from all walks of life to find a date who's compatible with them -- at least virtually -- the findings suggest. In its national survey of 2,001 adults, Pew found that 12 percent had used an online dating site.
Bill Aims to Keep States From Banning Smartphone Encryption
February 11, 2016
United States Reps. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, last week introduced legislation to prevent states from passing laws banning the sale of smartphones with encryption capabilities. The bill aims to shut off attempts by the FBI, NSA and law enforcement agencies in the U.S. to force high-tech companies to include security or encryption backdoors.
India Trades Free Basics for Internet Freedom
February 9, 2016
India's Telecom Regulatory Authority on Monday ruled in favor of Net neutrality, effectively banning Facebook's Free Basics Internet access app. "This is a very important decision for the future of the Internet in India," said Barbara van Schewick, director of Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, whose paper the TRA cited in its ruling.
Keybase Releases Encrypted File-Sharing iPhone App
February 8, 2016
Keybase last week announced the alpha release of the Keybase app for the iPhone with a cryptographically secure file mount. Users can write data in an automatically created folder in this format: /keybase/public/username. Files written in the folder are signed automatically and appear as plain text files. The folder prevents server-side and man-in-the-middle attacks, Keybase said.
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.
Canonical Launches 2-in-1 Ubuntu Tablet
February 6, 2016
Canonical on Thursday launched the Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition tablet, developed in partnership with BQ. The tablet is the first fully converged Ubuntu device, the company said. It will ship with the latest Ubuntu software and is the first tablet with the Ubuntu OS. The tablet has a 10.1-inch multitactile FHD screen made from Asahi's Dragontrail glass, which is similar to Gorilla Glass.
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.
Rugged Turing Phone to Run on Sailfish OS, Not Android
February 4, 2016
Turing Robotic Industries this week announced that it has uninstalled Google's Android mobile platform in favor of Jolla's Sailfish OS in its yet-to-appear secure smartphone. The Turing Phone, molded from a single unit of the Liquidmorphium liquid-metal alloy, is designed to be more durable to absorb shocks and prevent screen breakage. Preorder pricing starts at $610.
Microsoft Acquires SwiftKey to Advance AI Goals
February 4, 2016
Microsoft on Wednesday announced an agreement to acquire SwiftKey, whose software keyboard and SDK are used on more than 300 million Android and iOS devices. SwiftKey's technology aligns with Microsoft's vision for more personal computing experiences "and directly supports our ambition to reinvent productivity by leveraging the intelligent cloud," said Microsoft's Harry Shum.
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.
Gadget Ogling: Babe-Friendly Smartwatches, Pretty Routers, and Automated Aromas
February 2, 2016
If I were a parent, I assume I would have a strong opposition to giving a smartphone to an under-14 child of mine. Don't get me wrong. I would, I surmise, be all in favor of my offspring being able to tap into the Internet to explore, learn, and communicate. I'd also want my kid to be reachable at all times -- but, ideally, in a more-controlled way than by carrying a typical smartphone.
Report: Apple Has Assembled a Crack Team of VR and AR Experts
February 1, 2016
Apple reportedly has hired a team of hundreds of workers as part of a plan to develop a new set of virtual reality headsets. The report came on the heels of Oculus VR finally taking preorders on its Rift virtual reality system, which it is offering for $599. The Rift is scheduled to begin shipping on March 28. Apple reportedly also poached a number of experts in the field from other companies.
Oracle Pulls Plug on Java Browser Plug-In
January 30, 2016
Oracle earlier this week announced its decision to scrap its Java browser plug-in. The plug-in, a frequent target of hackers, won't be included in the next version of JDK 9, which is expected to ship in September. Oracle's action was motivated by browser makers' withdrawal of support for the plug-in. Developers of applications that depend on it need to consider alternatives, the company said.
Google, Movidius to Bring Deep Learning to Mobile Devices
January 29, 2016
Movidius on Wednesday announced that it's working with Google to put deep learning on mobile devices. Google will source Movidius' latest flagship chip -- the MA2450 -- and software development environment, and will contribute to Movidius' neural network technology road map in return. That could result in mobile devices that will be able to understand images and audio swiftly and accurately.
Starry Eyes Speedy Internet Access
January 28, 2016
Project Decibel on Wednesday announced Starry, a company that promises easy broadband Internet access at speeds of up to 1 GB with no caps. Starry will deploy what it says is the world's first millimeter wave band for consumer Internet communications. Initial deployment will be a beta in Boston in the summer. Starry has an FCC license to run pilots for 24 months in Boston and 14 other cities.
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.
FCC Chief Proposes End of Set-Top Box Rule
January 28, 2016
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Wednesday announced that he'd shared with colleagues a long sought-after proposal to loosen the set-top box's grip on home entertainment. The proposal seeks to spur competition and consumer choice in an arena dominated by large cable and satellite television providers. Wheeler's proposal would provide a mechanism for creating new ways to access video content.
FDA Guidelines Target IoT Medical Device Security
January 28, 2016
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week took a step toward addressing the threat the Internet of Things poses to patients and their data by releasing some proposed guidelines for managing cybersecurity in medical devices. "Networked medical devices, like other networked computer systems, incorporate software that may be vulnerable to cybersecurity threats," the FDA says in its proposal.
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.
GoPro Shooters Can Send Live Streams Up Periscope
January 27, 2016
GoPro on Monday announced an integration with Twitter's Periscope app that allows live streaming from a GoPro Hero4 camera. Periscope users can switch between broadcasting from their iPhone's camera to their GoPro directly from the phone screen with the touch of a button, GoPro said. The feature allows GoPro shooters to use the Periscope interface like a production switchboard.
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.
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.
Gadget Ogling: Super Strollers, Posture Prodders, and Portable Projectors
January 26, 2016
Regular readers will know that I am not a parent, so you might wonder why I'm including a self-propelling stroller in this week's cavalcade of riches. The answer is elementary: It's a smashing idea. Granted, it's maybe because I don't have a child that I think as much. Aside from pushing itself along the sidewalk, the Smartbe Intelligent Stroller can warm bottles, charge devices and play music.
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