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Sprint Selling the HTC One (E8)

Friday, 9:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Friday, 11:59 AM

Sprint today added the HTC One (E8) to its roster of Android smartphones. The E8, which was announced earlier this year, is a plastic version of the M8. It carries over many of the same features, such as the 5-inch full HD screen, BoomSound speakers, 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, and 2,600mAh battery with Android 4.4.2 KitKat and HTC Sense 6.0. The device trades the M8's 4-ultrapixel camera for a standard 13-megapixel sensor. The Sprint E8 includes Sprint Spark, Wi-Fi calling, and HD Voice. It is being sold in gray or white online and via telesales. With Sprint Easy Pay, the HTC One E8 can be purchased for $0 down followed by 24 monthly payments of $20.84. Alternately, it costs $99 with a new two-year contract or $499 at full retail.


AT&T Resurrects $100 Credit for Next Plan Subscribers

Friday, 8:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today rekindled a $100 credit offer to new and existing customers who add a new line of service with a smartphone on an AT&T Next plan. The Next plans allow customers to pay for devices over time, don't require upgrade/activation fees, and don't require annual service contracts. AT&T Next plans are available in two options: AT&T Next 12 and AT&T Next 18, which break up device payments by 20 and 24 months, respectively. The $100 credit is available starting today at AT&T retail stores and online. The offer ends September 30. AT&T said the offer can be combined with other promotions to realize even more savings.


Samsung to Offer Nokia's HERE Maps to Galaxy Devices

Friday, 7:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia and Samsung today announced that HERE Maps will soon be available to Samsung's Galaxy smartphones for free. HERE Maps allows users to download entire countries or regions, which makes the maps available even when the device is offline. Downloaded maps perform faster when panning and zooming since new segments don't need to be loaded from an internet connection. HERE Maps for Galaxy devices will include free, voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions. Users can plan routes via car, public transport, or foot. Live traffic updates and real-time transit schedules will require a data connection. Nokia says maps are available for about 200 countries with turn-by-turn directions available in about 100. Transit maps are available in 750 metro areas across 40 different countries, with more being added all the time. In addition to HERE Maps for Galaxy phones, Samsung's Gear S smartwatch (announced this week) will also receive HERE Maps. Further, HERE Maps will allow Galaxy device owners to share their location with others via Glympse. HERE for Galaxy phones will be available once the Gear S goes on sale in early October.


Spint, SoftBank to Sell Sony Xperia Phone

Friday, 7:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint and SoftBank will for the first time sell a flagship smartphone from Sony, according to Reuters and The Wall Street Journal. Sony is prepared to announce new devices at the IFA trade show in Berlin on September 4. One of the new devices is expected to be a flagship model that will succeed the Xperia Z2. Sprint and SoftBank will sell this as-yet-unnamed device in the U.S. and Japan, respectively. Sony has struggled in the U.S. market for years, and often fails to win distribution agreements with U.S. carriers. It regularly sells devices directly to consumers (at full price) through its own web site. Scoring a distribution agreement with Sprint would be a major win for the company. Neither Sprint nor Sony commented on the reports.


T-Mobile to Sell HTC One for Windows this Fall

Thursday, 10:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today voiced support for the HTC One for Windows on its web site. The company will sell the device in the weeks ahead. It is already sold by Verizon Wireless, and will also soon be sold by AT&T. The One for Windows runs Windows Phone rather than Android.


Sprint Gives Samsung GS4 International Wi-Fi Calling

Thursday, 10:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today said an over-the-air software update to the Samsung Galaxy S4 with Sprint Spark will allow owners to use Sprint's Wi-Fi Calling service when traveling abroad. The service lets people connect calls for free over Wi-Fi networks. Wi-Fi calls don't count against plan minutes.


OneDrive for Android Adds Business Account Support

Thursday, 10:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today updated its OneDrive cloud storage application for the Android platform. The primary new feature of the app is support for OneDrive Business accounts, which allows device owners to sign in with either or both of their personal or work-assigned accounts. Android device owners can access their personal and business files separately and easily save files to either account. Other new features include support for pin code lock, improvements to camera backup, and the ability to open OneDrive files with the storage access framework. OneDrive for Android is free to download from the Google Play Store.


Sprint Adds Avatars to Visual Voicemail

Thursday, 9:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today announced a new service that will allow customers to add animations and avatars to their voicemail messages. The service is available to Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile USA customers with select Android handsets. The base service includes 12 free avatars and 12 free backgrounds that can be paired together in any combination along with voice effects in order to create unique animations. The avatars are lip-synced with the caller's voicemail (up to 20 seconds for free, up to two minutes with premium subscription). According to Sprint, the content library will be updated often, with new free and paid avatars and backgrounds appearing each week. Sprint customers can use their own voice, or an optional voice effect with variable pitch to make the message more fun. The avatar messages can be shared via voicemail, email, SMS, and even posted to Facebook. Further, messages can be sent to any user on any network, and can also be viewed on the web from desktops or tablets. Devices compatible with the service will receive an update to the visual voicemail application beginning this month. The initial list of compatible devices includes the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, and S5, and Note 2; the HTC EVO 4G LTE and HTC One. Sprint said more devices will be made compatible with the service over time.


Samsung's Latest Smartwatch Can Make Voice Calls

Thursday, 7:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Thursday, 8:50 AM

Samsung debuted a new smartwatch that can make and receive voice calls, as well as send and receive messages thanks to built-in 3G radios. The Gear S is based on Samsung's Tizen platform and features a 2-inch, curved Super AMOLED display with 360 x 480 pixels. In addition to 3G, the Gear S includes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Samsung says it can transition between cellular and Bluetooth connections seamlessly so it can function with and without a nearby smartphone. It includes Samsung's S Voice service for voice commands, and has an on-screen keyboard for composing messages. Other features include Samsung's S Health and fitness apps, music player and gallery apps, and the ability to receive notifications from a variety of services. The Gear S is powered by a dual-core 1.0GHz processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. It has a 300mAh battery, which Samsung claims provides for two days of usage per charge. Samsung said the Gear S will be available in global markets beginning in October. Samsung didn't say how much the Gear S will cost.


LG Debuts Round Android Wear Watch

Aug 27, 2014, 9:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the G Watch R, a round smartwatch based on Google's Android Wear platform. LG already offers a square-shaped device called the G Watch. In designing the G Watch R, LG said it carefully weighed how consumers view watches as accessories and often require them to be stylish as well as functional. The G Watch R is made of stainless steel and features a 22mm calf-skin strap. According to LG, the G Watch R is the first wearable to feature a plastic OLED display, which measures 1.3 inches across the diagonal with 320 x 320 pixels. It is highly visible, even in direct sunlight. The G Watch R is powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of built-in storage. It boasts an IP67 rating against water/dust intrusion, and can withstand up to 30 minutes in one meter of water. The device features a heart rate monitor, 9-axis gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, and barometer. It has a 410mAh battery, but LG didn't offer information on expected battery life. The G Watch R can run all apps compatible with Android Wear, and includes a number of LG-designed fitness apps. The LG G Watch R will go on sale in select markets early in the fourth quarter. Pricing and exact availability will be announced on a market-by-market basis.

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Microsoft to Cleanse Windows Store of Questionable Apps

Aug 27, 2014, 8:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today announced it is making changes to the Windows Store in order to improve the quality of the apps therein. To start, it has established three main criteria apps need to pass in order to be certified for sale through the store. App names need to clearly and accurately reflect what the app does; the app must fall into a category so it is easier to discern the app's function and purpose; and app icons must be sufficiently differentiated from other apps to avoid confusion. Microsoft said many of its developers were receptive to making changes so their apps fall in line with the new policy. Some developers, however, did not, and Microsoft has removed 1,500 apps from the Windows Store. Microsoft said it will continue to review apps currently in the store to make sure they adhere to the new policies.


Apple Denied Injunction Bid Against Samsung

Aug 27, 2014, 3:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple lost in its attempt to ban the sale of select Samsung devices today, as U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh denied Apple's request. The company sought a ban on devices found to infringe on its patents at trial earlier this year. "Apple has not demonstrated that it will suffer irreparable harm to its reputation or goodwill as an innovator without an injunction," wrote Judge Koh in her ruling. Apple was also denied a bid to ban sales of older Samsung phones in the 2012 patent trial that it won. Juries awarded Apple damages of $120 million and $930 million in the 2014 and 2012 cases, respectively. Samsung is still appealing to have the damages reduced or overturned. Earlier this year, Apple and Samsung resolve all their patent issues outside the U.S., leaving only these two cases unresolved.


FCC Finalizes $819,000 Fine Against T-Mobile

Aug 27, 2014, 1:36 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The FCC today levied an $819,000 fine against T-Mobie for its lack of support for hearing-aid compatible handsets. The FCC originally made its claim against T-Mobile more than two years ago, when it discovered T-Mobile "willfully and repeatedly" failed to comply with rules mandating each carrier offer a certain number of hearing-aid compatible (HAC) handsets. According to the FCC, T-Mobile violated the rules during 2009 and 2010. The requirements make sure consumers with hearing loss have access to advanced telecommunications services. The minimum number of HAC phones required to be offered by Tier 1 carriers has evolved over the years, but at the moment 10 handsets or at least 50% of a carriers' breadth of devices must offer an M3 acoustic coupling, and seven handsets or at least 33% must offer a T3 inductive coupling. T-Mobile attempted to mitigate the fine over the last few years, but its arguments didn't convince the FCC. T-Mobile has 30 days to pay the FCC, or it will face the Department of Justice.


Cricket Offering Five Lines for $100

Aug 27, 2014, 1:28 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless, which is owned by AT&T, today announced a new incentive to win over T-Mobile and other customers. Cricket is offering five lines for $100 per month. The plan includes one more line than T-Mobile's current promotion (four lines for $100). Cricket said, "People can sign up for the five lines for $100 up until January 2, and enjoy the promotion long after." It didn't provide an actual end date. Each line gets unlimited talk/text and 500MB of data. The pricing is based on five lines of service with an eligible $40 base plan. Each successive line gains a greater discount. For example, line two receives a $10 monthly discount; line three receives a $20 monthly discount; line four receives a $30 monthly discount; and line five receives a $40 monthly discount. The promotion is available to new and existing customers (in good standing, with two eligible lines of service). Accounts with multiple lines will automatically be enrolled into the new promotion. The $100 monthly cost includes all taxes and fees.


AT&T One (M8) Receiving Android 4.4.3

Aug 27, 2014, 10:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HTC said via Twitter that owners of the AT&T variant of the One (M8) can download Android 4.4.3 beginning today. The minor system update, which fixes bugs and improves performance (esp. GPS), can be installed over the air.


T-Mobile to Sell Alcatel OneTouch Fierce 2 and Evolve 2

Aug 27, 2014, 8:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 27, 2014, 9:10 AM

T-Mobile and Alcatel today announced the addition of the Fierce 2 and Evolve 2 to T-Mobile's value handset roster. Both devices run Android 4.4 KitKat. Shared hardware features include 5-megapixel main cameras, VGA user-facing cameras, 4GB of built-in storage, support for microSD cards up to 32GB, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

T-Mobile's web site lists the phones as "coming soon." Pricing was not provided.


T-Mobile Dials Music Freedom Up to 13

Aug 27, 2014, 8:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 27, 2014, 8:10 AM

T-Mobile today expanded the availability of its Music Freedom program to include six new music services. Music Freedom already allows T-Mobile customers to stream music from iHeartRadio, iTunesRadio, Pandora, Rhapsody, Samsung Milk, Slacker, and Spotify for free. The music streamed across T-Mobile's LTE network doesn't count against customers' data buckets. Beginning today, customers will be able to stream music from AccuRadio, Black Planet, Grooveshark, Radio Paradise, Rdio, and Songza, too. Further, T-Mobile said Google's Play Music service, chosen by T-Mobile customers through a poll, will be available later this year. T-Mobile claims its customers have streamed 7,000 terabytes of music across its network since Music Freedom began in June.


HTC Intros Desire 510, A Low-Cost LTE Phone

Aug 27, 2014, 7:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HTC today announced the Desire 510, an entry-level device that includes LTE 4G for many regions around the world. The 510 is made from polycarbonate and HTC created a DotView case for the device, which allows owners to answer calls even when the case is closed. The phone has a 4.7-inch FWVGA display and is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor. It has 1GB of RAM, 8GB of built-in storage, and supports microSD cards up to 128GB. The main camera captures 5-megapixel images, and the user-facing camera captures VGA images. Connectivity features include Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, and DLNA for sharing media. The 510 runs Android 4.4 KitKat and includes HTC Sense and Blinkfeed. HTC said the Desire 510 will be sold in most countries around the world in the months ahead. None of the U.S. network operators have announced plans to sell the 510, and pricing wasn't immediately disclosed.


AT&T Names Glenn Lurie as CEO of Wireless Unit

Aug 26, 2014, 3:52 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today made some changes in its executive ranks and has replaced Ralph de la Vega as the CEO of AT&T Mobility. Taking de la Vega's place is Glenn Lurie, a longtime AT&T vet who was instrumental in bringing the Apple iPhone to AT&T back in 2007. Lurie most recently oversaw AT&T's connect home business. He will head the entire wireless group moving forward, but AT&T also indicated it is merging its wireless and enterprise solutions groups. The new, merged business unit will be managed by de la Vega. His new title is CEO Mobile & Business Solutions. The executive changes are effective immediately. AT&T Mobility's change of CEO follows closely that of Sprint's, which replaced Dan Hesse with Marcelo Claure.


Yahoo Closes Acquisition of Flurry

Aug 26, 2014, 11:46 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Yahoo today said it has finalized its purchase of Flurry. Flurry offers mobile app developers tools to improve and monetize their applications. The acquisition allows Yahoo to further refine its mobile offerings to advertisers.


Boost Mobile to Sell Low-Cost ZTE Warp Sync

Aug 26, 2014, 10:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 26, 2014, 10:39 AM

Boost Mobile today announced the ZTE Warp Sync, an inexpensive Android handset for Sprint's pre-paid network. The Warp Sync features a 5-inch display with Gorilla Glass 2 and a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor from Qualcomm with 2GB of RAM. The Warp Sync includes an 8-megapixel main camera and a 1.6-megapixel user-facing camera. According to Boost Mobile, the Warp Sync is the first handset from ZTE capable of accessing Sprint Spark and offering HD Voice. Other specs include a 2,300mAh battery, mobile hotspot, Mobile ID packs, and Android 4.4 KitKat. The ZTE Warp Sync is available online beginning today for $180. It will reach Boost Mobile stores September 1. Boost Mobile does not require contracts.


AT&T's HTC One mini to Gain Sense 6 Update

Aug 26, 2014, 9:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HTC took to Twitter today to tout the pending arrival of Sense 6.0 for the AT&T variant of the One mini. The update makes changes to the camera app, Blinkfeed, and various other functions. More specifics weren't provided.


T-Mobile Increases Family Plan Limit to 10 Lines

Aug 26, 2014, 8:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today expanded the flexibility of its family plan from a maximum of five lines per plan to a maximum of 10 lines per plan. T-Mobile Simple Choice subscribers can add new lines to their plan for $10 each after the second subscriber. Beginning August 27, they'll be able to add up to 10 lines. T-Mobile says the increase is in response to demand from large families as well as small business. Each T-Mobile Simple Choice plan provides unlimited talk/text, unlimited 2G data, and up to 1GB of LTE data. Subscribers can add unlimited LTE data for $30 per line if they wish. T-Mobile's Simple Choice plans do not require a contract, don't charge overages, and include 2G data and texting while abroad, in addition to free music streaming in the U.S. In addition to the expanded Simple Choice family plans, T-Mobile is upping the data available to tablets. Beginning September 3, customers can add a tablet to their plan for $10 per month and T-Mobile will match the customers' smartphone data allotment up to 5GB. For example, a Simple Choice subscriber who pays for 3GB of LTE data for their smartphone will receive that same amount of data for their tablet for $10 per month.


LG Shows Off the G3 Stylus

Aug 26, 2014, 7:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the G3 Stylus, a variant of the G3 that adds a stylus, but seriously ramps down the specifications. The device carries over the design language of the G3, but the 5.5-inch display goes from Quad HD (2560 x 1440) to qHD (960 x 540). The G3 Stylus also loses the G3's quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 processor and instead includes a quad-core 1.3GHz processor. It offers a 13-megapixel main camera and 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera. The G3 Stylus has 8GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, and a memory card slot, and it boasts a removable 3,000mAh battery. The G3 Stylus runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat along with a number of LG's signature apps, such as QuickMemo, QSlide Apps, Knock Code, and the Smart Keyboard. LG didn't call out any specific features or applications customized for the stylus. The device is limited to 3G networks for now and goes on sale in Brazil, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa this fall. LG didn't indicate if a version of the G3 Stylus will reach the U.S.


Verizon Says VoLTE to Launch in Coming Weeks

Aug 26, 2014, 7:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 26, 2014, 7:37 AM

Verizon Wireless today announced the pending launch of its delayed VoLTE service. The service will go live in the coming weeks, and will allow select devices to connect HD Voice calls and Video Calls. Advanced Calling 1.0 uses Verizon's LTE 4G network and requires that both devices have LTE coverage. Callers will be able to see who among their Verizon Wireless contacts are available for HD Voice and Video Calling with simple icons in the contact application. Both participants need to be Verizon customers. HD Voice and VoLTE-backed Video Calling won't work if a Verizon customer calls someone who uses a competing network. The audio portion of Video Calls will be in high-definition, and calls can be switched from voice-only to video and back with ease. According to Verizon, VoLTE service will launch nationwide and arrive on compatible devices through a software update. Verizon didn't say which devices will be compatible, but HD Voice and Video Calling over VoLTE will be free to use. T-Mobile offers VoLTE-backed HD Voice over much of its LTE footprint. AT&T launched VoLTE in May in a handful of markets.


California Signs Smartphone Kill Switch Into Law

Aug 26, 2014, 7:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that will mandate all smartphones to come with a kill switch by July 2015. The law's goal is to curb smartphone thefts. Lawmakers believe that allowing smartphones owners to render their device unusable after it is stolen will reduce the appeal to thieves, who won't be able to use or sell them. Minnesota enacted a similar law earlier this year, and the CTIA Wireless Association said all carriers will support kill switches by July 2015, too. Apple already added a kill switch functionality to iOS, and Google and Microsoft are working on similar tools for Android and Windows Phone.


Google Debuts New Slides, Sheets, Docs Apps for iOS

Aug 25, 2014, 1:57 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today refreshed its productivity suite for iOS devices, including the iPhone and iPad. To start, Google is making a stand-alone Slides app available for the first time. Slides allows iOS device owners to create and edit slide presentations on their device, including those originally made by Microsoft's PowerPoint app. The Docs and Sheets apps have been updated with performance enhancements. All three apps can be used to create documents, spreadsheets, or presentations even when offline. Google Slides, Docs, and Sheets, part of Google's Drive productivity suite, are all free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Huawei: No Tizen and No More Windows Phone for Us

Aug 25, 2014, 11:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei recently said it has no plans to release a Tizen-based smartphone, and also said it will no longer make smartphones using Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system. "Some telecom carriers are pushing us to design Tizen phones but I say 'no' to them. In the past we had a team to do research on Tizen but I canceled it," said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, to The Wall Street Journal. "We feel Tizen has no chance to be successful. Even for Windows Phone it's difficult to be successful." Tizen is a Linux-based platform created by Samsung and Intel. Samsung, Tizen's primary backer, has delayed plans to realize a Tizen phone indefinitely as it builds up the app ecosystem. Huawei remains a member of the Tizen Association, but its new stance on the platform further clouds Tizen's potential. As for Windows Phone, Huawei complained of losing money on the platform for two years. "We have tried using the Windows Phone OS. But it has been difficult to persuade consumers to buy a Windows phone," said Yu. "It wasn't profitable for us. So for now we've decided to put any releases of new Windows phones on hold. We have worries about Android being the only option, but we have no choice. And we have a good collaboration with Google." Google's Android platform holds about 85% of the global smartphone market, with Apple's iOS holding 11% and Windows Phone holding 2.5%. BlackBerry's share of the market is less than 1%.


T-Mobile Simple Starter Subscribers Gain 2GB of Data for $5

Aug 25, 2014, 8:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced a new option for subscribers of its Simple Starter plans. The plan already offers unlimited talk/text and 500MB of data for $40 per month. Starting September 3, subscribers will be able to quadruple their data to 2GB of LTE 4G access per month for $5 more. The Simple Starter plan does not require an annual service contract and does not charge domestic overages.


Apple Offering to Replace Faulty iPhone 5 Batteries

Aug 23, 2014, 9:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has launched an iPhone 5 battery replacement program. According to Apple, a limited number of iPhone 5s sold between September 2012 and January 2013 may experience a sudden decrease in battery life, requiring frequent recharges. Customers who believe their device may be affected can verify their device's eligibility through the serial number. Apple will replace the battery for free, or reimburse customers who paid to have the battery replaced on their own. Apple said the program is limited to batteries. iPhones with cracked screens or other problems will likely incur charges to have those separate issues resolved before the battery is replaced. The program launched in the U.S. and China on August 22, and will launch in other countries August 29.


Google Grabs Gecko Design for Project X

Aug 22, 2014, 3:22 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today confirmed it has acquired Gecko Design, a mechanical engineering and design firm. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Jacques Gagne, president of Gecko Design, said he and Gecko's four employees will join Project X within Google. Project X is the internal unit responsible for Google's hardware projects, such as Google Glass, Project Ara, and Loon, its high-altitude balloons. Gecko Design previously worked on the One Laptop Per Child device, as well as gear for Fitbit.


AT&T's Cricket Targets T-Mobile/MetroPCS with $100 Credit

Aug 22, 2014, 11:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless is borrowing a play from T-Mobile by offering a $100 credit to customers who switch from the UNcarrier or MetroPCS to AT&T-owned Cricket. The $100 bill credit offer is available from August 24 to October 19 at Cricket stores nationwide and online. According to Cricket, there is no limit on the number of lines a customer can switch to Cricket. Each line transferred from T-Mobile/MetroPCS is eligible for the $100 bill credit. Cricket's prepaid Basic, Smart, and Pro plans cost $40, $50, and $60, respectively, per month. Each plan offers a $5 monthly reduction when customers choose to use auto-pay.


Google Search Speaks More than One Language at a Time

Aug 22, 2014, 7:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google has improved the multilingual capabilities of its voice search feature. The latest version of Google Search allows users to speak up to five different languages without requiring that they change the settings each time. User need only tell Google Search the five languages they expect to use once, and voice search will be able to recognize them automatically when spoken. Android device owners can perform voice searches with more than 50 languages at present, and Google expects to add more over time. According to Google, users need to stick to one language per sentence in order for voice search to recognize and translate the language. Google Search for Android is free to download from the Google Play Store.


Sprint Intros $60 Unlimited Plan with Hardware Hitch

Aug 21, 2014, 11:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today announced a new unlimited plan that it says undercuts the competition. The plan, which will be available beginning August 22, provides a single line of service with unlimited talk, text, and data for $60 per month. Sprint claims the offering beats T-Mobile's best price by $20 per month, and that similar options aren't available from AT&T or Verizon Wireless. There is a catch. In order to qualify for the plan, customers need to either bring their own device, pay full retail for a device, or sign up for Sprint's Easy Pay financing plan. The Sprint $60 Unlimited Plan for single lines follows a complete overhaul of Sprint's family share plans, which offer savings to four or more lines of service.


Yahoo Adds More Magazines to Mobile App for Android

Aug 21, 2014, 9:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Yahoo today made more content available to the Yahoo app for Android in the shape of digital magazines. The app now includes Yahoo Food, Tech, Travel, Movies, Beauty, and Health. The digital magazines use a visual storytelling style that Yahoo believes is more immersive. The app lets Android device owners access a wide range of content across Yahoo's properties. The app is free to download from the Google Play Store.


T-Mobile Offers Its Customers a Bounty for Converts

Aug 21, 2014, 8:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today said it will give current customers unlimited LTE data for a full year if they convince an AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon customer to switch to T-Mobile. T-Mobile is likening the program to "throwing a lifeline" to those on competing networks. Not only does the current customer receive unlimited LTE for a year, but so does the new customer. Customers who already pay for unlimited data will receive a $10 monthly credit instead. The referral program kicks off August 29. Customers will then be able to enter their own number and the number of a friend who's ported their service, which must be reported within 30 days of the friend's activation. The referral program runs for a limited time, but T-Mobile didn't immediately indicate an end date. It doesn't apply to pre-paid plans, and is limited to one referral per account.


Opera to Provide Browser for Microsoft's Feature Phones

Aug 21, 2014, 7:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Opera Software today said it has struck a deal with Microsoft to supply the browser for Microsoft's feature phones. Opera Mini will replace the Nokia Xpress browser on Series 30, Series 40, and Asha phones moving forward. "All the current user base will be encouraged to upgrade to Opera Mini and all the new phones will come with Opera Mini pre-installed as a default browser," said Opera. Nokia developed the Xpress browser as a competitor to Opera Mini, which uses server-side compression to reduce mobile data use. Opera has long pitched its Mini browser as ideal for cost-concious consumers. Opera's browsers are available to a wide variety of desktops, tablets, and smartphones. The move shows that Microsoft is looking to save costs on developing its feature phone lines, which are mostly sold in developing markets.


Vine Adds Support for Videos Stored in Camera Roll

Aug 20, 2014, 11:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Vine today pushed out an update to its iOS application that should make it easier for people to share videos. To start, users can now upload older videos from the camera roll on their iPhone. Previously, videos had to be shot new within the Vine app. The app also adds a number of new editing functions, such as the ability to duplicate clips, lock focus of either front/rear cameras, and delete the last video captured. Other tools include a level, shooting grid, and support for the flash for shooting in the dark. Vine for iOS is available for free from the iTunes App Store. A similar update should be available to Android devices soon.


Skype to Minimize Notifications Across Devices

Aug 20, 2014, 10:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Skype today announced a change to the way it handles notifications that should make users happier people. The idea is called Active Endpoint. Once rolled out, users will see Skype notifications only on the device they are actively using. In other words, people who use Skype on a tablet, smartphone, and laptop will only receive notifications on the smartphone if that's the device with which they're Skyping. The other devices will sit silently. If the user stops Skyping on their smartphone, future incoming alerts will sound on all three devices so the user doesn't miss messages/calls. If the user then opens Skype on their laptop, Skype notifications will stop pinging the smartphone and tablet, and so on. Active Endpoint will still allow for read notifications to sync across platforms and devices. According to Skype, users need to update their devices to the latest version of Skype in order to reap the benefits of Active Endpoint. Active Endpoint is being rolled out gradually.


Uber Releases API, Names App Partners

Aug 20, 2014, 9:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Uber today announced the availability of an API for developers, as well as a handful of partners first putting the API to use. The API allows third-party companies to build Uber functionality into their own apps. Apps will be able to pass a destination address to the Uber app, display pickup times, provide fare estimates, access trip history, and more. Some of the first apps to integrate Uber include United Airlines, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, Starbucks, TimeOut, and Hyatt. The United mobile app, for example, can be used to show the ETAs of the closest drivers and fare estimates so flyers can get to the airport on time. Some of these initial supporters of Uber are offering new Uber users $30 in credit to use towards rides. Uber is a smartphone app and service that locates and hails taxis or other livery vehicles for transportation.


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