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Apple Pushes iOS 9.3.5 to Patch Security Holes

Yesterday, 1:38 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 9.3.5 available to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. The update, according to Apple, resolves three security issues. Two of the problems could have led to remote code execution. Apple suggests all users update as soon as possible. The update is free to download over the air.

Google Adds Actual Games to Mobile Search

Yesterday, 9:06 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today made several simple games available to play directly in search results. Performing a search for solitaire will bring up a playable version of the card game. Similarly, users can search for tic-tac-toe to strategize Xs and Os. Google also made a simple coin toss function available in search to help people settle bets. Google says more simple and fun games are headed to search in the near future. The games can be assessed via the desktop or mobile devices.

Samsung Releases Pink Gold Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge

Yesterday, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Yesterday, 2:36 PM

Samsung today announced a pink gold version of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The new color will be available only at Best Buy stores in the U.S. For a limited time, customers who buy and activate the pink gold Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge from Best Buy will receive a $150 gift certificate to Best Buy. The pink gold handset goes on sale August 28. They be sold, carrier locked, to AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless customers.

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WhatsApp to Share User Data with Facebook

Yesterday, 7:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

WhatsApp today updated its terms of service and revealed plans to share data with its parent company, Facebook. The company says coordinating with Facebook will allow it to better track metrics to do things like fight spam. It will use the information for advertising purposes, as well. "By connecting your phone number with Facebook's systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them," explained WhatsApp in a blog post. Users will have the ability to opt out of sharing their data, but must do so proactively via WhatsApp's privacy tools.

Google Drive, Play Music See Updates on Android

Yesterday, 7:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google recently updated its Google Drive and Google Play Music apps for Android devices, giving new features to both apps. Google Drive now allows people to set home screen shortcuts for their favorite or frequently-used files and folders. The update also makes it easier to control notifications and upgrade or change the storage plan. Google Play Music adds a sleep timer that people can use to control how long their device plays music. The app also features new control buttons and other minor tweaks. Google Drive and Google Play Music for Android are both free to download from the Google Play Store.

Google Gives Nexus Phones Access to WiFi Assistant

Wednesday, 11:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Wednesday, 11:32 AM

Google this week made its WiFi Assistant feature available to all Nexus devices. The tool is a direct carryover from Google's Project Fi. The WiFi Assistant lets Nexus owners automatically and securely connect to more than one million free, open WiFi hotspots that are certified by Google. Users won't be required to sign in or set up accounts to access the WiFi. Moreover, Google manages the connection and ensures it is protected. Google says the tool can help improve average connection speeds and lower monthly data consumption, regardless of which wireless carrier provides cellular service to the phone. The Google WiFi Assistant is available to Nexus devices in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Nordic countries. Google says it will roll out over the next few weeks. Project Fi relies on WiFi for calling and data, but also hops onto Sprint, T-Mobile, or U.S. Cellular when WiFi is not available.

Verizon to Bring VoLTE to Prepaid Later this Year

Wednesday, 11:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Yesterday, 6:55 AM

Verizon Wireless plans to give its prepaid subscribers access to VoLTE services, including HD Voice and video calls in the near future. Prepaid customers will need to add HD Voice to their account before they can make HD calls, but the add-on will be free. Calls will be billed by the minute, even though they are routed over the LTE data network rather than Verizon's legacy voice network. HD Voice supports six-way conference calls, one- or two-way video calls, and WiFi calling. As always, both the handset making the call and the handset receiving the call need to have the feature enabled and must be connected via LTE for HD Voice to function properly. Verizon said it anticipates launching HD Voice for its prepaid customers early this fall.

Microsoft Adds GIF Search to Its iPhone Keyboard

Wednesday, 7:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft's Word Flow keyboard now features a search tool for finding GIFs, images, and emojis. The search functionality also allows iPhone owners to find contacts and look up restaurants. Microsoft says the app includes more predictions, including GIFs, that show up as users type. Word Flow now makes it possible to control the cursor placement with 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. The app gains some accuracy improvements, particularly when in one-handed mode, and support for the iOS text replacement function. Last, Word Flow has even more themes that people can use to customize their keyboard. Word Flow from Microsoft is free to download from the iTunes App Store.

Sony Talks Up Plans for Android 7 Nougat

Tuesday, 12:52 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sony today highlighted which devices it plans to update to Android 7 Nougat. Sony will make Nougat available to the: Xperia Z3+ and Z4 Tablet; Xperia Z5, Z5 Compact, and Z5 Premium; and the Xperia X, XA, XA Ultra, and X Performance. Sony said it is working to bring Nougat to these devices as quickly as it can, but reminds owners that availability will vary depending on region, carrier, and other factors. Sony will provide more detailed information as it becomes available.

Google to Tackle Annoying Popup Mobile Ads

Tuesday, 12:29 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said it plans to change how it ranks mobile search results in a way that will make content easier to find and consume. First, the company will remove the "optimized for mobile" tag that often accompanies results. Google says 85% of mobile search results already meet this criteria and it is no longer necessary to call it out. Removing the label will declutter search results and allow more results to be seen. Google is already in the process of removing the tag. Second, Google is going after web sites that take advantage of mobile search to serve interstitial popup ads. Specifically, Google will de-prioritize the rankings of sites that a show a popup that covers the content; display a standalone interstitial that must be dismissed before accessing the content; or use a layout where the above-the-fold portion looks like a standalone interstitial. Google says such ad practices often frustrate users and don't promote a good mobile experience. Google will begin lowering the search rank of web sites that use these frustrating ads January 10, 2017. Google says some interstitials are okay, such as those that require age verification, or those that use a reasonable amount of screen space, and are easily dismissed.

Opera Brings Its Mobile VPN to Android Devices

Tuesday, 7:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Opera Software today launched a free VPN for Android devices that allows smartphone and tablet owners to browse the web more securely and access what might be prohibited content when using managed networks. The VPN removes ad trackers for privacy purposes and supports virtual locations (U.S., Canada, Germany, Singapore, and the Netherlands), which should let people get around some region-based restrictions. The VPN includes a WiFi tester that can detect the strength of WiFi security. If the VPN determines the network isn't secure, it will recommend users connect through the VPN. The WiFi sniffer also checks to see if the network its public or private, if it's encrypted, how many other devices are using it, if the IP address/location are exposed, and whether or not others can see your device. Opera imagines the VPN will be useful to students and office workers who are restricted from accessing social networks or other types of web sites when using campus or office WiFi. Opera VPN is free to downloaded from the Google Play Store. Opera made the same VPN available to iOS devices earlier this year.

Lenovo to Preload Microsoft Apps on Android Phones

Tuesday, 7:06 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Lenovo has agreed to install Microsoft's core productivity applications on some of its Android-based devices. The apps include Microsoft Office, OneDrive, and Skype. Lenovo said the productivity apps will reach millions of customers over the next few years. The agreement between Lenovo and Microsoft also includes a patent cross-licensing accord, allowing Lenovo to use Microsoft patents on its own devices, as well as those that carry the Motorola brand. Microsoft has patent-licensing agreements in place with most Android device makers. Terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

Night Mode Reaches Twitter's iOS App

Monday, 12:34 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Twitter today made its night mode tool available to devices running iOS. Twitter says night mode should make viewing the app in the dark less stressful on the eyes. The refreshed app includes a tool in the settings menu that, when activated, changes the background from white to a deep blue. Twitter for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store. Night mode has been available to Android devices since last month.

Google Officially Releases Android 7 Nougat

Monday, 12:10 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today made the final version of Android 7.0 Nougat available to developers, phone makers, and select devices. Google released the first developer build of Nougat earlier this year and has been refining the platform ever since. Today marks the official release of the platform, which moves out of beta. The next-generation mobile operating system includes support for Vulkan to improve graphics performance for games, but it also improves the Android runtime to speed up daily use. For example, apps should install 75% faster while requiring 50% less code. On the security front, Nougat introduces file-based encryption to better isolate and protect individual users. It also hardened the media framework to prevent attacks. Nougat offers seamless security updates that happen automatically in the background with no user action required. Google made improvements to the multitasking functions, with multi-window mode available to all. Nougat will show only the most recent seven apps and moves the "clear all" tool to the top of the screen to prevent accidental closings. Nougat overhauls notifications, providing direct control over silencing certain types of notifications. The platform adds Unicode 9.0 for an expanded set of emoji, including skin-tone variations. Last, Nougat bakes in more direct support for virtual reality. Nougat is available to the Nexus 6, 5X, 6P, 9, and Pixel C devices.

Walgreens Adds Its Loyalty Program to Android Pay

Monday, 9:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Walgreens today said Android Pay users can now incorporate their Walgreens Balance Rewards membership with the Google mobile payment service. Adding the loyalty account to Android Pay gives Walgreens customers the ability to earn points every time they pay with their mobile device, and can do so without requiring people to separately scan their Balance Rewards account card. Walgreens says Android Pay is accepted at some 8,200 stores. Walgreens Balance Rewards are already available to Apple Pay users.

AT&T Signs Interconnect Agreement with Cuba Carrier

Monday, 9:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today said it has signed an interconnect agreement with Cuba's Empresa De Telecomunicaciones De Cuba (ETECSA). The agreement will eventually allow AT&T customers to roam on ETESCA's network when traveling to Cuba. AT&T hasn't said when it will make such roaming available and will announce pricing at a later date. Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless already have similar agreements in place with ETESCA.

Samsung's Milk Music Sours, to Be Discontinued

Aug 20, 2016, 8:56 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung says it will discontinue its Milk Music service in the U.S. on September 22. "We have made the strategic decision to invest in a partner model focused on seamlessly integrating the best music services available today into our family of Galaxy devices. We believe that working with partners will accelerate innovation, enhance device sales and provide amazing new experiences for our customers," said the company in a statement. Samsung built Milk Music using Slacker's library. The company created a unique, circular user interface for Milk and preloaded the app on its Android smartphones for several years. Samsung had a similar video service called Milk Video, but discontinued that service in November 2015. Samsung did not say what users of its Milk Music service can/should do with the app or their account once it is turned off. There are plenty of alternatives in the market, including Spotify, Google Play Music, and Apple Music.

MIT Spinout Claims to Double Battery Life

Aug 19, 2016, 12:10 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

A company called SolidEnergy Systems, a spinout from MIT, says it has new battery technology that will double the life of lithium-based power cells. The breakthrough involves a battery that replaces the traditional graphite anode with a thin, lithium-metal foil. The foil can hold more ions and thus more potential energy. Further, new chemistry protects the lithium-metal so it can be recharged frequently and used at normal temperatures. The company says it can create small batteries that provide as much charge as larger batteries, or it can double the life of larger batteries. Perhaps most importantly, SolidEnergy's technology was founded on a failed MIT startup called A123. SolidEnergy has taken over A123's Massachusetts-based facilities and claims it can mass produce the new lithium-metal batteries in volume. In fact, it plans to produce batteries for drones as soon as November, with batteries for smartphones to follow in early 2017. Battery-life breakthroughs are common in research settings, but often can't scale for use in the real world. SolidEnergy's technology and manufacturing progress appear to be further along than most.

AT&T Spearheading Robocall 'Strike Force'

Aug 19, 2016, 9:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T and dozens of other companies are escalating the war on robocalls with a new Strike Force aimed at disrupting spammers' ability to call and pester consumers. AT&T CEO Randal Stephenson says carriers, device makers, OS developers, network designers, regulators, and lawmakers will all need to work together to create a play book to tackle the problem. "In parallel with technological solutions, we need our regulatory and law enforcement agencies to go after the bad actors. Shutting down the bad guys is a necessary step, and a powerful example to others. Our goal isn't complicated: Stop unwanted robocalls. Easy to say. Hard to do," said Stephenson in remarks made at the FCC's first meeting of the Robocall Strike Force. Industry player are gathering today to discuss initial plans and are expected to report back with more solid short- and long-term plans on October 19. Some of the companies participating in the Strike Force include AT&T, Apple, Blackberry, Comcast, Ericsson, Google, LG, Microsoft, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon.

Samsung Accessories Land Alongside Note7

Aug 19, 2016, 8:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Samsung Galaxy Note7 reaches U.S. stores today and with it some interesting accessories and companion products from Samsung. The new Gear VR headset, which is compatible with the Note7 and other recent Galaxy phones, has a new look, new color, and expanded field of view. It's available for $100 at carrier stores, as well as Amazon, Best Buy, and Samsung. The Gear 360 camera (pictured), able to shoot 360-degree photos and video, will only be available online for $350. Samsung's Gear IconX wireless earbuds are available, too. These $200 headphones are fully wireless, have built-in memory, and can track workouts. The less expensive Samsung Level Active headphones are sweat proof and can control music/calls for $100. Last, the Samsung Connect auto provides an AT&T-backed in-car hotspot via the OBD II port. The Connect auto can also send alerts to the driver and improve driving safety/efficiency. AT&T will sell the Samsung Connect auto online and in stores. The Galaxy Note7 is Samsung's flagship phablet for the year. It has a 5.7-inch screen, 12-megapixel main camera, Snapdragon 820 processor, 64 GB of storage, and the S Pen stylus. The Note7 is available from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

HTC Makes Red and Gold 10s Available Online

Aug 19, 2016, 7:02 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HTC today said U.S. consumers can order the red or gold HTC 10 smartphones from its web site. The limited edition colors were announced earlier this year for select markets. This marks the first time they are available to U.S. buyers. Customers can get the phones for $100 off, or with a pair of noise-cancelling JBL headphones for a limited time. The devices are available for preorder online, but HTC didn't say how soon they will ship.

Twitter to Expand Availability of Quality Filter

Aug 18, 2016, 12:24 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Twitter is allowing people take more control over their experience with the help of tools and filters. Twitter is expanding the availability of a quality filter from a subset of users (e.g., celebrity accounts) to all users. The quality filter can "improve the quality of Tweets you see by using a variety of signals, such as account origin and behavior." Twitter says at a base level the filter gets rid of low-quality content, such as duplicate or automated Tweets. The filter does not block the content from people that users follow or interact with. Twitter is improving how it handles notifications, as well. Everyone will have the ability to limit notifications to only the people they follow. Moreover, notifications can be accessed and managed directly in the notifications tab. The changes are rolling out to all users over the next few days.

Sprint Debuts Unlimited Plan of Its Own

Aug 18, 2016, 8:56 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today announced Unlimited Freedom, a service plan that provides unlimited talk, text, and data for two lines at $100 per month. Sprint says the Unlimited Freedom plan offers "optimized streaming" for "video, gaming, and music" and "unlimited LTE data for most everything else." Specifically, video resolution is capped at 480p resolution when streamed over the network, while games are capped at 2Mbps, and music is capped at 500Kbps. The first line costs $60 per month, the second line costs $40, and lines three through eight cost $30 each. A family of four costs $160 per month before device payments, taxes, and fees. Further, Sprint's Boost Mobile prepaid brand has a simpler, unlimited offer called Unlimited Unhook'd. For $50 per month, Boost customers get unlimited talk, text, optimized videos/music, and unlimited data for everything else. Additional lines cost $30 per month for lines two through five. Boost is offering a starter line, too, that costs $30 per month and includes unlimited talk, text, and 1 GB of LTE. Both Sprint's and Boost's new unlimited plans will be available starting August 19.

T-Mobile Uncarrier 12 Heralds Fully Unlimited Service

Aug 18, 2016, 8:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 18, 2016, 10:38 AM

T-Mobile today announced T-Mobile One, a truly unlimited rate plan that includes all-you-can-eat data, messaging, and minutes. T-Mobile says the new T-Mobile One plan includes many of the Uncarrier benefits, such as T-Mobile Tuesdays, Stock Up, WiFi Unleashed, Carrier Freedom, Mobile Without Borders, and Global Freedom. The plan includes unlimited video streaming at standard definition and unlimited hotspot usage at 2G speeds. The first line costs $75 per month. Adding more lines to create a family plan costs $55 for the second, and $25 for lines three through eight. A family of four, says T-Mobile, can subscribe to the unlimited T-Mobile One plan for $180 per month. If all lines are subscribed to Auto Pay, the price for each line drops by $5 per month for a total of $160 for four. There are some extra fees involved. Customers who want to stream HD video over LTE will need to cough up an extra $25 HD video access fee. Customers can get unlimited LTE data for their tablet for $20 per month when paired with a phone line, or for $70 if the tablet is the only line. Customers can add 5 GB of LTE high-speed tethering for $15 per month. Wearables cost $5 per month to add to a T-Mobile One plan. Last, T-Mobile made it clear that customers who exceed 26 GB of LTE data in a given billing cycle will be throttled back to 2G speeds if/when they encounter network congestion. T-Mobile said the T-Mobile One plan will be available starting September 6. Customers may switch to the new plan or stick with their current plan.

Cricket Wireless to Sell LG X Power

Aug 17, 2016, 4:04 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today revealed plans to sell the LG X power smartphone beginning August 26 for $160. The X power, announced by LG earlier this year, features a 4,100mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 that delivers up to two days of battery life. The X power also includes a 5.3-inch 720p screen and runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Other specs include an 8-megapixel main camera with flash and 5-megapixel front camera with selfie light. The device is powered by a 1.1 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor with 1.5 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The phone accepts memory cards up to 32 GB. For a limited time, people who port their number to Cricket Wireless can buy the LG X power for $130.

Instagram Makes Event Videos Easier to Find

Aug 17, 2016, 12:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram today added a new Event feed to its Explore tab. The Event feed collects video highlights shared from concerts, sporting events, and other activities so people can find and view them quicker. The events will be customized for each individual user based on what Instagram things they will like. The updated Explore tab is rolling out through Android and iOS app updates in the U.S. first.

AT&T's Mobile Share Advantage Plans Drop Overages

Aug 17, 2016, 12:20 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 17, 2016, 12:27 PM

AT&T today announced new service plans for multiple lines that do away with overage charges. The Mobile Share Advantage program includes unlimited talk and text in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, rollover data, sharable data, mobile hotspot, and unlimited texting to more than 120 other countries. Rather than charge customers overage fees for exceeding their monthly data allotments, AT&T will throttle users back to 2G, or about 128 Kbps, for the remainder of the billing cycle. This is in line with what competitors do. Data plans now start at 1 GB and range up to 100 GB for families, and from 25 GB to 200 GB for businesses. AT&T said new options make the plans more flexible, such as the addition of 6 GB and 10 GB data buckets. Smartphone access charges are now a flat fee of $20 per device. Device payments are extra. The new Mobile Share Advantage plans will be available starting August 21.

AT&T and Cricket Launch the Alcatel Ideal

Aug 17, 2016, 12:08 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T and Cricket Wireless today announced a low-cost Android handset from Alcatel. The device is the same hardware as the Alcatel Dawn sold by Boost and Virgin, but has been rebadged as the Ideal by AT&T and Streak by Cricket. The phone features a 4.5-inch screen with 854 by 480 resolution, 1.1 GHz quad-core processor, and 1 GB of RAM. The Ideal/Streak includes a 5-megapixel main camera, VGA front camera, 8 GB of storage, 1,780mAh battery, support for LTE, and a memory card slot for microSD cards up to 32 GB. The AT&T Ideal runs Android 5.1 Lollipop, but the Cricket Streak runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Cricket is selling the Streak for $30.

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Intel Believes USB Type-C Will Replace 3.5mm Jack

Aug 17, 2016, 7:54 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

A planned update to the USB Type-C specification will give it more control over audio functions, paving the way for it to fully supplant the 3.5mm headphone jack on most phones. Speaking at the Intel Developers Forum, engineers Brad Saunders and Rahman Ismail explained that the new USB audio standard lowers power usage through USB and defines how buttons on headphones can control music. The standard "will really make USB Type-C the right connector for audio," said Saunders. The 3.5mm headset jack is universally available on most consumer electronics, but is decades old. Dropping the jack will free up internal space, lowers the potential for interference, and negates the need for a digital-to-analog converter. Moreover, Saunders says the updated spec allows for software-based audio effects and signal processing that can, for example, cancel out nearby noise. Last, the updated USB-C spec improves support for video. Saunders says the new video capabilities will be good for working on a PC or watching a movie, but not necessarily for graphics-intensive gaming. USB-C is slowly gaining traction in smartphones. Samsung's Galaxy Note7 made the switch to USB-C, as did HTC 10, LG G5, and just-announced Huawei Honor 8. The connector is slim and reversible, and Type-C cables can push power in both directions.

FreedomPop Zero-Rates WhatsApp with New SIM

Aug 17, 2016, 7:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

FreedomPop today announced a new SIM card that provides free access to WhatsApp. The WhatsApp SIM comes with unlimited WhatsApp usage, 200 MB of data, and 100 voice minutes — all of which can be used for free. The card works with unlocked Android and iOS devices and functions in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Portugal, and two dozen other countries with no roaming fees. More data and voice minutes can be added to the card for low rates when/if needed. The WhatsApp SIM card is available for free from FreedomPop's web site.

Hands On with the Honor 8

Aug 17, 2016, 12:08 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 19, 2016, 2:40 PM

Huawei's Honor brand finally has a true flagship model in its lineup, and it combines Huawei's manufacturing chops with the Honor design flair, plus true flagship specs. It has the features of the Huawei P9 (another flagship) plus a few small extras. The design has a bit more flair, though. It's very iPhone-like. But how is it in person? We go hands-on.

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Huawei Pushes Honor Brand Uprange with Flagship Honor 8

Aug 16, 2016, 10:30 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 16, 2016, 10:43 PM

Huawei's Honor brand today announced the Honor 8, the company's first true flagship-class phone under its Honor brand. The Honor 8 has most specs in common with the well-regarded Huawei P9, the company's flagship outside of the Honor brand. That includes the 12-megapixel camera with laser focus and a secondary camera providing monochrome exposure info for improved image quality. It also includes the 5.2-inch, full-HD display, Kirin 950-series processor, 3,000 mAh battery, 8-megapixel front camera, fast charging, fingerprint reader, NFC, memory card slot, and USB Type-C connector. Further, the Honor 8 improves on the P9 with 4 GB of memory instead of 3, and adds an infrared emitter for controlling home A/V gear. The design is glass on the front and back, with an aluminum frame. A 15-layer process creates a unique visual effect behind the glass. It will be available in blue, white, and black, with the blue color being exclusive to Best Buy for the first 60 days. The phone will be sold unlocked for $400 (32GB) or $450 (64GB) starting September 3rd. Pre-orders begin August 17th.

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Intel to Allow ARM Chip Builders to Use Its Foundry

Aug 16, 2016, 4:05 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Intel today said companies that design and build ARM-based processors will for the first time be able to use Intel's manufacturing facilities to make them. Intel will allow its Intel Custom Foundry customers to use its 10nm FinFET process for ARM cores and Cortex series processors. The move gives Intel a toehold in the mobile processor market after it gave up on its own mobile processors earlier this year. It also gives chipmakers an alternative to existing foundries, such as those operated by Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor. The ARM Artisan platform includes High Performance and High Density Logic Libraries, Memory Compilers, and POP IP for future ARM mobile cores. Intel said LG plans to "produce a world-class mobile platform based on Intel Custom Foundry's 10 nm design platform." LG joins existing Intel Custom Foundry customers Spreadtrum, Achronix, and Altera.

USB-IF to Certify Chargers

Aug 16, 2016, 3:51 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The USB Implementers Forum today announced that it will certify USB chargers for use with smartphones, tablets, PCs, and other compatible gear. The organization has created a new logo that will be stamped on compliant chargers. Compliant chargers will also clearly state the charger's power capability in watts. The USB-IF says the compliance program will be based on the USB Type-C and USB Power Delivery specifications. Certified chargers will look like traditional power bricks or wall warts, but will provide faster charging via USB-C. The USB-IF has several goals in mind: to make it easier and safer for consumers to charge devices, and to reduce electronic waste. "USB-IF understands consumers want to carry less equipment without sacrificing battery life or flexibility," said Jeff Ravencraft, USB-IF President and COO. "Guided by the USB brand promise of 'it just works,' the Certified USB Charger Program will make it easier to share device chargers across the compliant USB Type-C landscape, whether consumers are at home, in the office or anywhere in between." Companies can download the necessary documentation from the USB-IF web site.

Microsoft Pushing Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary Update

Aug 16, 2016, 1:48 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today made the Windows 10 Anniversary update available to devices running Windows 10 Mobile. The update is the first major improvement to the Windows 10 platform. It adds features and makes improvements to phones such as the Lumia 650, 950, and 950 XL. Some of the changes impact the Edge browser and Maps app. Unlocked devices can snag the update through the settings menu, but carrier-locked phones will need to wait for the carrier-specific update to arrive. The Windows 10 Anniversary update is free to download and install.

Google Building Non-Linux OS Called Fuchsia

Aug 16, 2016, 11:09 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google is working on a new operating system called Fuchsia. The open-source platform is the first from Google that does not rely on Linux at its core. Instead, the operating system runs the Magenta kernel and, according to the documentation, it relies on the Flutter user interface and Dart programming language. The platform appears to be intended as an embedded operating system for IoT devices, but it can also run on smartphones and PCs. Google hasn't said much about the project, but the platform is available in pieces via GitHub. It's unclear if or when Google might release a complete, final version of the operating system.

Google Duo ls Here

Aug 16, 2016, 7:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today released Duo, the video chatting app for Android and iOS it announced earlier this year. Duo is simple to use. It doesn't require a separate account, users need only their phone number to get started. Google says it built the app to function well even across poor network connections. The app will change the resolution to match the connection speed in order to keep the call going, and can seamlessly switch from wifi to cellular. A feature called Knock Knock gives people a preview video of the person calling so they can see what's up before answering the video call. Duo is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.

Apple Releases iOS 10 Betas for Developers and Public Testers

Aug 15, 2016, 11:58 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 15, 2016, 12:02 PM

Apple today released iOS 10 Developer Beta 6 and iOS 10 Public Beta 5, fresh builds of the pre-release operating system for iPhones, iPads, and iPods. The release notes suggest the update contains only bug fixes and other unspecified improvements. At nearly 2 GB, Apple recommends the developer beta be downloaded only over WiFi. At around 100 MB, the public beta is much smaller. Apple typically updates the developer and public betas separately, so today's double release suggests important fixes are contained within. The final version of iOS 10, which improves Siri, News, Music, and Photos, isn't expected to arrive until September.

Alcatel Debuts the Tru for MetroPCS

Aug 15, 2016, 11:06 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 15, 2016, 11:11 AM

Alcatel today announced the Tru, an inexpensive Android smartphone for MetroPCS. The phone features a faux leather rear, a 5-inch FWVGA display, and quad-core 1.1 GHz Snapdragon processor with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage. The Tru offers a 5-megapixel main camera with Polaroid software and 2-megapixel selfie camera. It includes expandable storage up to 32 GB, a 2,000mAh battery, and support for LTE (Bands 2, 4, and 12.) The Alcatel Tru runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and costs $29 after rebates. The phone is available beginning today.

FCC Approves Possible HTC Nexus Phones

Aug 15, 2016, 10:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The FCC has approved two new handsets from HTC that may be bound for Google's Nexus program. The FCC documents don't confirm much other than the model numbers and radio support, but they do leave a few clues as to the devices' potential. In a letter to the FCC, HTC says the user guide "will be made publicly available on Google's web site ( at the time the product is commercially released." This strongly suggests the devices will be Nexus-branded phones. The FCC confirms the devices will support a variety of LTE bands, as well as hearing aids and CDMA networks — key factors for use in the U.S. The documents do not clarify why there are two different model numbers. Neither HTC nor Google has confirmed any such devices are in the works.

More articles in the Archive ›

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