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Russia Aims to Build US-Free Mobile OS
May 20, 2015
Russia wants to develop alternatives to proprietary or partly closed mobile operating systems by using open source tools as a foundation, Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications Nikolay Nikiforov said last week. "Success would make a fairly significant impact on the go-to market plans of numerous IT vendors," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.
The Rampant, Risky Babbling of Android Apps
May 19, 2015
Eurecom researchers recently developed an Android app that can monitor the network traffic of other apps to alert users of suspicious or malicious activity. With more than 1.2 million applications in the Google Play store, there are multiple programs for performing a particular task. That can make choosing an app a chore for users, they noted in a report released last month.
Coherent Navigation Buy May Not Unmuddle Apple Maps
May 19, 2015
Apple has purchased GPS firm Coherent Navigation. The purchase is widely viewed as an effort to improve the trouble-plagued Apple Maps. Coherent Navigation offers satellite navigation hardware; software that includes precise, secure, robust positioning; and timing and communication solutions. "Coherent is well known for ... navigation and geolocation work," said Charles King, principal at Pund-IT.
The Future According to Qualcomm
May 18, 2015
I was at the Qualcomm Internet of Things event in San Francisco last week during what was a major IoT event in the city. What is kind of amazing is the larger event was just a small part of the applications show that used to go on at the same time. This year it is twice the size of that older show. Companies are flocking to this IoT concept like ducks to water.
Gadget Ogling: A Tracking Camera Drone, a Rockin' Speaker and a Water-Boiling Efficiency Expert
May 16, 2015
Camera drones certainly are growing in popularity -- or further polluting the sky, depending on your perspective. A new model plans to follow your every move, thanks to a tracker on your wrist. After you throw Lily, it will fly up to 50 feet in the air and 100 feet away from you, knowing where you are and keeping its lens focused on whatever you're doing.
Swiftkey's Clarity Keyboard Puts Auto-Correction in Context
May 12, 2015
Most auto-correction programs correct mistakes as you make them. They even predict words for you as you type. Swiftkey's recent release for Android, Clarity Keyboard Beta, corrects mistakes -- up to several at a time -- after you've typed them. "SwiftKey, for a long time, has had context awareness, but it's applied it looking forward," explained SwitfKey's Chief Marketing Officer Joe Braidwood.
$9 Debian-Based C.H.I.P. Computer Is a Kickstarter Smash
May 11, 2015
C.H.I.P., a Linux-based mini-PC priced at just $9, is receiving an overwhelming response on Kickstarter. Launched last Thursday with a funding goal of $50,000, it has chalked up more than 16,000 backers who have shelled out upwards of $815,000. The project still has 25 days to go. The tiny open source device, made by Next Thing Co., has been dubbed the "Raspberry Pi killer."
Smartphone Makers Play Musical Chairs as China's Mobile Market Matures
May 11, 2015
For the first time in six years, China's massive mobile market saw contraction in its smartphone sector, IDC reported Monday. There were 98.8 million smartphones shipped in China by the end of the first quarter of 2015, down about 4 percent year over year, according to IDC's Trackers. Quarter over quarter, the market's Q1 2015 shipments were down by about 8 percent.
Gadget Ogling: Virtual Sensations, Radio-Wave Charges and a Bitcoin Keeper
May 9, 2015
We're edging ever closer toward a virtual reality boom, with Oculus finally promising its Rift headset will arrive in 2016. Yet what if there were a way to make VR even more immersive? Feelreal has come up with two devices -- a virtual reality mask and a helmet -- that aim to draw users almost entirely into a fictional world. The mask is an add-on, compatible with major VR headsets.
Cyanogen Taps Truecaller in Effort to Build a Better Mobile OS
May 8, 2015
Cyanogen, best known for its FOSS Android-based OS, CyanogenMod, soon will provide caller ID screening and spam blocking directly from the native dialer on Cyanogen OS, the commercial version of its operating system. These capabilities will be provided through the company's global partnership with Truecaller. They will be baked into future smartphone devices preloaded with Cyanogen OS.
The Last Apple Watch Review You'll Ever Need to Read
May 8, 2015
If you're thinking about getting an Apple Watch and have been on the fence, this review is for you. Why? The Apple Watch, it turns out, is less about being the perfect smartwatch than about being a watch. For the fence sitters out there, these two questions are really where you should start: First, do you want a watch? Second, do you want a digital wearable device that can transform your life?
Discover Card Completes Apple Pay
May 7, 2015
Discover last week announced that it would allow its cardmembers in the United States to make contactless payments in participating stores through Apple Pay. Users will be able to pay for goods and services beginning this fall via iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch, as well as the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. With this new partnership, Apple Pay will have support from all the major U.S. credit card companies.
Xiaomi's Mi 4i Spreads in Asia
May 7, 2015
Chinese wunderkind smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi is taking its flagship Mi 4i smartphone to Hong Kong and Singapore, with availability slated for next Tuesday. Designed especially for emerging markets, the Mi 4i has been wildly successful in India, where it launched two weeks ago and reportedly sold 40,000 units in less than 15 seconds. The Mi 4i is the first Xiaomi phone to run Android Lollipop.
Watch Band Guidelines Good News for Apple Accessory Makers
May 6, 2015
The guidelines make recommendations for accessory makers interested in making bands for the new smartwatch. "A well-designed band will securely attach to Apple Watch while not interfering with its operation," the guidelines explain. To be compatible with the watch's heart rate sensors, bands should "provide sufficient adjustability for the user to achieve a snug, yet comfortable, fit.
Oculus VR Promises a Rift for All in 2016
May 6, 2015
An exact date hasn't been set, but Facebook's Oculus VR has announced that the highly anticipated consumer version of its Rift headset will launch in the first quarter of 2016. Preordering will begin later this year. More details will emerge about the consumer version of the Rift in the coming weeks, the company said, including information about unannounced made-for-VR games and experiences.
T-Mobile Offers Free 2-Week Vacation From Verizon
May 5, 2015
T-Mobile on Tuesday launched "Never Settle for Verizon," an aggressive response to Verizon's "Never Settle" ad campaign that gives Verizon customers an opportunity to test T-Mobile's network for themselves. T-Mobile promises to pick up any fees incurred by customers who participate in the free trial, whether they ultimately decide to switch to T-Mobile or not.
Faulty Taptic Engine Could Make Apple Watch Rollout Sputter
May 1, 2015
A production snag in making the component that provides tactile feedback in the Apple Watch could impact its availability in coming weeks. Quality control problems with the Chinese maker of the component reportedly have forced Apple to move nearly all manufacturing of the unit to a Japanese company. Delays in the availability of the watch could occur as it ramps up production.
Steer Clear of iOS 8's Infinite Loop
May 1, 2015
A flaw in iOS 8 allows hackers essentially to crash apps that perform SSL communications whenever they like. Skycure reported the bug at the RSA security conference held last week, advising owners of iOS devices to upgrade to iOS 8.3. Apple this week confirmed that iOS 8.3 addresses the vulnerability. An attack would involve specially crafting an SSL certificate to regenerate a bug.
Apple Watch Could Be a Password Alternative
April 30, 2015
With password tolerance levels at an all time low, alternatives to the pesky and insecure authenticators are beginning to abound. One of those alternatives could be the Apple Watch. Even before Apple's latest gadget began shipping last week, MicroStrategy announced it was extending its Usher enterprise security solution to the Apple Watch. Usher on the Apple Watch allows it to act as a digital key.
Can LG's Hot G4 Smoke the Competition?
April 29, 2015
LG on Tuesday unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the G4. The official launch followed weeks of leaks about the device's design and features. The G4 has an f1.8 aperture lens; a new IPS Quantum display, which is generally seen in the latest TVs; a body curved in LG's "Slim Arc" design; and six genuine leather color options. Its rear 16-MP camera has a manual mode and a color spectrum sensor.
Shiny Apple Has a Few Soft Spots
April 29, 2015
Apple on Monday reported another quarter of stellar earnings, detailing its drive to 27 percent revenue growth on the backs of its iPhone, Mac and App Store sales. The company generated $58 billion in revenue in the second quarter -- about a $12 billion increase year over year -- and posted a net profit of $13.6 billion, roughly $3 billion more than the year-ago quarter.
Gadget Ogling: Pretty 3D Printing, an Eye-Catching Engagement Ring Box and a Sturdy Smartphone
April 28, 2015
3D printing is fascinating. It still seems wild to me that you can download schematics for anything and have a plastic version of a physical object in your home a short while later. However, not many printers can switch up the color or the types of filaments you use in your creation. The Pallette could change that, with a peripheral to brighten up that mono-colored trinket you're ready to print.
No More Smartphones, Nokia Vows
April 27, 2015
Nokia has kinda, sorta asserted that it's not returning to the smartphone business, in the wake of persistent reports that it's been eyeing a comeback. Nokia "currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets," reads a company statement. "The reports are false, and include comments incorrectly attributed to a Nokia Networks executive."
The Great Apple Watch Marketing Mystery
April 24, 2015
The day Apple initially picked to launch the Apple Watch was in some respects a dud. The device was not available for sale in Apple Stores on Friday as previously scheduled, although it was available at some high-end fashion boutiques. Confusion reigned over shipments, with Apple earlier having said deliveries would be pushed back to June, but later saying some preorders would be shipped early.

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Are you comfortable using a mobile device to make purchases?
Yes - It's not any riskier than using a computer or paying in-person with a credit card.
Somewhat - I do it, but I also worry about ID theft and data security.
No - I've heard too many horror stories. The convenience is not worth the risk.