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Google Nexus 6 versus iPhone 6 Plus

02/01, 1:14am

Apple might be late to the party, but delivers a much better phablet experience

The Nexus 6 is the latest flagship Android smartphone from Google that is designed for developers and Android fans who prefer Google's stock iteration of its popular Android operating system. The massive six-inch device is meant to stand as a testament to the Android platform, its capabilities, and where the technology is currently heading. In the other corner, we have Apple's iPhone 6 Plus, the first "phablet" from Apple, which has famously resisted pushing into this segment in the recent past. Like the Nexus 6, the iPhone 6 Plus represents all that is currently state-of-the-art when it comes to iOS-powered smartphones. The two devices are undoubtedly two of the leading heavyweights in this segment, but which stands tall over the other in a head-to-head fight?

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Google unveils Now integration with 40 third-party apps

01/31, 12:05am

Now cards pull info from apps at user's convenience

In a post on Friday in the Google Inside Search blog, Director of Product Management Apama Chennapragada announced the company's predictive-search app, Google Now, would be rolling out integration with third party apps to help users keep abreast of important information on their devices.

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FCC raises $44.9B in AWS-3 auction, including $18.2B from AT&T bids

01/30, 3:33pm

Dish Network spends $13.3B on spectrum licenses, Verizon $10.4B

The latest spectrum auction conducted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has raised $44.9 billion. Of the bidders looking to acquire what has been termed AWS-3 spectrum, the FCC revealed AT&T spent more than any other carrier or organization, using $18.2 billion to acquire almost half the total number of licenses up for grabs in the auction.

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Data caps and preferred traffic get shot down in Canadian ruling

01/30, 2:52am

CRTC rules data caps can't be used to give an unfair advantage to carriers' own services

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced a decision on Thursday, acting on a complaint regarding data caps and preferred traffic. Wireless carriers Bell Mobility and Videotron both have their own subscription mobile television services, neither of which count towards the data caps written into subscribers' contracts, while competitor's services -- such as Netflix -- do, providing the carriers with incentive to sell larger data plans or favor their own offerings. With today's ruling, that practice must end.

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CIRP: majority of Android switchers are outside US

01/30, 1:17am

Largest switch rate in company's record-keeping happened for iPhone 6

During its conference call with analysts on Tuesday, CEO Tim Cook noted that "the current iPhone lineup experienced the highest Android switcher rate in any of the last three launches," which he later clarified was how long the company has been measuring the metric rather than that switching rates were higher in 2011. Further analysis by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners suggests that most of the switching is happening overseas rather in the US.

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WSJ: Microsoft may make investment in Android ROM producer Cyanogen

01/29, 10:32pm

Cyanogen investment may be ploy to weaken Google control of Android

Microsoft may be planning to make an investment in an Android-related startup, a report claims. According to sources of the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft will allegedly take part in a funding round as a "minority investor" of Cyanogen, creators of the CyanogenMod Android ROM, with rumors that the round will bring in a total of $70 million to the ROM maker.

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Sky confirms future launch of own carrier on O2's mobile network

01/29, 5:20pm

UK broadcaster gets closer to offering quad-play services to customers

British pay-TV provider Sky will be moving into the mobile phone business, it has announced. The satellite broadcaster confirmed earlier reports that it would be working with the Telefonica-owned carrier O2 to have wholesale access to its 2G, 3G, and LTE mobile phone network and provide carrier functions to its subscribers, as part of a multi-year deal.

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Apple, Samsung effectively tied for lead in global smartphone market

01/29, 10:02am

Giants cross paths with different trajectories

The timing of Apple's surge during the last quarter and Samsung's respective slump has put the two corporations in a dead heat in terms of smartphone marketshare, according to Strategy Analytics. The research firm estimates that the companies each shipped about 74.5 million smartphones worldwide; while only Apple has announced that figure specifically, Samsung says that of the 95 million handsets it shipped in total, the number of smartphones went into the "high 70 percent range." That could mean anything between 71 and 75 million units.

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Samsung fourth-quarter, fiscal year 2014 results shows drop in profits

01/29, 2:23am

Chip segment strong, but not enough to make up for lagging smartphone segment

Samsung released its Q4 and FY 2014 results today, and as expected, the news was not good. The past three years have resulted in growth for the company, but fiscal 2014 shows an annual earnings decline, in spite of strong performance by the company's chip division. The earnings from smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices fell to 1.96 trillion Korean won ($1.8 billion), a 64.2 percent decline from the year-ago quarter. The news comes on the heels of a record-shattering report from its main rival, Apple.

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TracFone settles with FTC over 'unlimited' plan throttling complaints

01/28, 7:19pm

Carrier must pay $40M in refunds to customers for restricting unlimited data plans

A carrier has settled with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over complaints it offered mobile phone contracts that claim to have "unlimited" data, but turn out do not. TracFone was accused by the FTC of capping and throttling customers on the "unlimited" plans, with the carrier agreeing to pay out $40 million in refunds to consumers as part of its settlement.

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BlackPhone manufacturer plugs text messaging bug in secure smartphone

01/28, 3:58pm

Vulnerability found in Silent Text app included with BlackPhone

A flaw in a security-focused Android smartphone's software caused it to be susceptible to attack, according to a security researcher. A now-patched vulnerability in an app included on the BlackPhone allowed attackers to read encrypted messages, contacts stored on the smartphone, and to also remotely control device functions.

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ZTE Blade S6 revealed with octa-core 64-bit processor, 13MP camera

01/28, 9:22am

Mid-ranged $250 ZTE smartphone triggers apps by gestures

Chinese device producer ZTE has introduced a new mid-ranged smartphone in its Blade series, this time with an octa-core processor. The Blade S6 uses the 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage, and an Adreno 405 GPU, all packed behind a 5-inch HD IPS In-cell display within a 7.7mm-thick body.

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Briefly: Motorola discounts in February, Amazon Fire Phone deal in UK

01/28, 5:22am

Motorola details online store discounts for early February

Motorola will be offering multiple discounts on devices in its mobile store, as part of a Valentine's Day promotion. From February 3 until February 14, the manufacturer is discounting pre-tax purchases worth $500 by $100, or $35 off $250 purchases, though an customers registering for the promotion within a one-hour window on February 2 will get codes worth $140 and $50 off the $500 and $250 respective purchases.

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Analysts: China iPhone sales outpace US, Apple gaining on Samsung

01/27, 3:18am

Remarkable reversal in Korean maker's fortunes benefitting Apple

On Tuesday, Apple will reveal its latest figures on its overall sales and general health, but analysts will again focus on one key segment -- Apple's best-selling device, the iPhone -- as the only metric that matters. Two key aspects of that metric, however, may have larger implications than just the quarterly revenues, or a temporary change in Apple's stock value. According to analysts, it is now likely that Apple is selling more iPhones to China now than it is in the US market (where it is market leader by a long way) -- and even more remarkably, that Apple is close to rivaling the total smartphones sales of rival Samsung.

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Dutch carrier website source hints at future 'Galaxy S6 Edge'

01/27, 1:05am

Galaxy S6 with curved display named in code for pre-order page

Rather than wait until March for Samsung to introduce it's newest Galaxy phone, Dutch smartphone enthusiasts at Galaxy Club may have discovered an encouraging bit of information while viewing the page source on Vodafone's Dutch website.

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Apple blamed for lack of fingerprint sensor on Google Nexus 6

01/26, 10:26am

Acquisition of AuthenTec by Apple prompted removal of planned Nexus 6 function

The Google Nexus 6 was going to have a fingerprint sensor, but Apple forced a change in the phone's design, the ex-CEO of Motorola claims. The Android smartphone was initially going to have a fingerprint reader on the back, where a Motorola-branded dimple now resides, but Apple's acquisition of AuthenTec is said to have put a stop to those plans completely.

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Cablevision launching Freewheel Wi-Fi carrier in February

01/26, 7:21am

Cable service moving into mobile phone business with Wi-Fi carrier

Cablevision is moving into offering mobile phone services, albeit without cellular connectivity. Launching in February, Freewheel is said to be mobile phone operator that works on Wi-Fi alone, with customers able to use public hotspots while away from home in order to use the service for phone calls, texts, and using the Internet.

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Briefly: Sprint targets T-Mobile customers, T-Mobile Score discounts

01/26, 5:57am

Sprint offers T-Mobile customers $200 minimum trade-ins for switching

Sprint is refocusing its trade-in offer directly against main rival T-Mobile. Running until April 9, Sprint will offer T-Mobile customers a minimum instant trade-in value of $200 for their smartphone if they transfer their number over. Sprint is also allowing the offer to work alongside another promotion, granting up to $350 per line to cover early termination fees or installment billing balances.

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Apple takes majority of US phone activations in Q4

01/23, 8:00pm

Nearly doubles rival Samsung's sales, equals all combined competition

Apple's share of the US mobile phone market has nearly doubled following the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 in October, a new study has revealed. The report, by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, finds that the iPhone went from 28 percent of the market in the July-to-September quarter to just over 50 percent in the final three months of the year, an improvement even over the same time the year before, when the iPhone 5s was released.

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Verizon updates prepaid plans, confirms will not offer rollover data

01/23, 8:18am

CFO claims rollover data is not coming to Verizon price plans

Verizon will not be joining competitors AT&T and T-Mobile in providing a rollover data plan to its customers, its chief financial officer Fran Shammo has advised. The denial comes at the same time the carrier introduces updates to its prepaid plans, with a focus on providing more data and more options to add more data if required.

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T-Mobile 'Smartphone Equality' to help customers with poor credit

01/22, 9:13pm

Initiative will offer cheaper phones to customers with year of bills paid on time

T-Mobile will be making it easier for any of their customers to buy a new smartphone, by helping those with poor credit. A new initiative called Smartphone Equality will allow customers who have successfully paid their bills on time for the previous 12 months to qualify for their device financing deals, regardless of their credit rating.

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Samsung still open to BlackBerry acquisition, report claims

01/22, 2:51pm

Alleged leaked document suggests Samsung considered BlackBerry purchase for months

Samsung is still interested in acquiring BlackBerry, according to rumor. A document allegedly created by investment bank Evercore Partners for Samsung seems to suggest Samsung has been mulling over a purchase of the competing smartphone producer for some time, and according to sources, is still very much interested in the prospect despite denials from both BlackBerry and Samsung.

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BlackBerry CEO writes Feds, seeks mandated cross-platform development

01/22, 9:22am

Chen sees threat to net neutrality from app developers more than carriers

Blackberry CEO John Chen appears to be turning to the US government for help in broadening the app ecosystem for the struggling Canadian handset, as well as railing against a US-centric view of net neutrality and possible Title II regulation at the same time. In a blog post taken in part from a letter the CEO wrote to members of Congress, Chen defines not only what he sees as an ideal path for net neutrality, but also complaining about a "two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem" where content providers like Apple and Netflix are free to not develop for all wireless platforms.

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Sky reportedly in talks with O2 over strategic partnership in UK

01/21, 12:10pm

Early-stage talks could see Sky selling O2 lines to customers in quad play package

British carrier O2 has received some considerable interest in recent months, with broadcaster Sky allegedly in discussions with the mobile phone network. Reports claim Sky and O2-owner Telefonica are in early-stage talks, which could lead to a potential "strategic partnership" offering lines to customers rather than a touted acquisition similar to the one said to be under negotiation between O2 and competitor Three.

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Briefly: Facebook reducing hoax posts, AT&T unlimited calls to Mexico

01/21, 5:59am

Facebook attempts to reduce number of hoaxes in News Feed

Facebook is trying to reduce the number of fake or hoax stories that appear in a users News Feed. The social network will take into account whenever a user reports a post as a "false news story," as well as whenever users delete posts linking to an article, when deciding what is shown to other users. While Facebook will stop short of blocking the content entirely, it will give the flagged hoax a "reduced distribution" in News Feed, as well as adding a notice to the top of the post warning that users "have reported that this story contains false information."

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HTC One M9 allegedly pictured in image leak with large rear camera

01/20, 4:21pm

Leak points to changes with UltraPixel camera system in next HTC flagship

The follow-up to the HTC One M8 looks a lot like its predecessor, according to the latest alleged leak. Surfacing shortly after the company revealed it would be holding an event at Mobile World Congress, photographs for what is believed to be called the HTC One M9 has surfaced, with the codenamed-Hima smartphone having relatively few external changes.

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New Galaxy S6 rumors hint at metal body, non-replaceable battery

01/19, 9:55pm

Former head of Ive studio hiring may hint at new wave of Apple copying

Rumors about the upcoming Galaxy S6 continue to abound as Mobile World Congress -- the annual conference in March where the Korean manufacturer is likely to debut its flagship model -- approaches. In addition to previous rumors, new information suggested by the often-unreliable Korean site Ddaily suggests that the Galaxy S6 may sport an iPhone 6-like all-metal body, and may further copy Apple in making the battery of the unit unremovable.

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Bloomberg: HTC preparing wearable device for MWC launch

01/19, 6:21pm

HTC smartwatch said to share data with Under Armour fitness platform

HTC may join Samsung in launching a wearable at Mobile World Congress in March alongside a new flagship. Though lacking in detail, a report claims the smartwatch will take advantage of a partnership between HTC and Under Armour, with the wrist-based tracker connecting to the sports apparel brand's own fitness service for health and fitness tracking.

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Rumor: Round-faced smartwatch, glass-backed Galaxy S6 launching at MWC

01/19, 11:15am

Samsung allegedly adding wireless charging to rumored smartwatch

Samsung may be preparing to launch a round-faced smartwatch in March, according to rumors. The alleged launch at Mobile World Congress may take place alongside the expected next installment in the Galaxy S flagship smartphone line, with the Galaxy S6 reportedly using glass on the rear as well as the front and a metal construction.

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Three UK owner reportedly seeks $13.6B acquisition of O2

01/19, 9:38am

Hutchison Whampoa said to be in talks with Telefonica over O2 acquisition

British carrier O2 may be the latest target for acquisition by another telecommunications company. Hutchison Whampoa, the company behind competitor Three, is apparently said to be in early-stage talks to take over O2 from current owner Telefonica, with a report claiming it could change hands for as much as £9 billion ($13.6 billion) if the discussions are fruitful.

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Briefly: Sprint gains Lumia 635, Dodo leather bands for Moto 360

01/19, 7:24am

Nokia Lumia 635 goes on sale through Sprint

Sprint has started to sell the Nokia-branded Lumia 635, the first on the network running Windows Phone 8.1. Equipped with a Snapdragon 1.2GHz quad-core processor accompanied by 512MB of RAM, a rear 5-megapixel camera, and a 4.5-inch 480x854 display, the Lumia 635 is being sold on Sprint for $7 per month over 24 months under Easy Pay, or a full price of $168.

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AT&T takes $10 billion hit in Q4, closes deal on Iusacell for $2.5B

01/16, 9:37pm

Looks to drop copper in favor of wireless and fiber while expanding south of the Rio Grande

AT&T released a statement about its Q4 numbers today, revealing some serious financial hits. However, a deal to acquire Mexican provider Iusacell from Gurpo Salinas for $2.5 billion has also finalized, representing opportunities for growth and turning the company into a North American, rather than US-only, carrier.

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Virgin Mobile no-contract data sharing plans available tomorrow

01/16, 9:15pm

New Virgin Mobile plans with data sharing available via Walmart

Virgin Mobile has become the first prepaid carrier in the United States to offer no-contract data sharing plans. The "Data Done Right" plans, going on sale from tomorrow though Walmart, will provide LTE data on Sprint's cellular network to multiple lines under the same prepaid account, along with unlimited calls and unlimited texts across all lines.

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HTC invites media to pre-Mobile World Congress event

01/16, 12:33pm

Barcelona event in March could be launch of new HTC flagship smartphone

HTC may use an event at Mobile World Congress at the beginning of March to launch a new flagship smartphone. The manufacturer has issued invitations to members of the media for an event taking place the evening before the Barcelona-based show starts, with the invitation giving relatively few clues as to what HTC will reveal to the press.

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OnePlus One getting Lollipop-based CyanogenMod 12 next month

01/16, 12:22am

OnePlus still developing its own custom Lollipop-based ROM

Late last month, smartphone maker OnePlus asked their users for feedback on naming the custom ROM for the OnePlus One. An alpha release of the ROM, based on Android v5.0 "Lollipop," has been available at the OnePlus forums since just before the New Year. Today, an interview with Cyanogen founder Steve Kondik confirmed that Cyanogen plans to ship its own Lollipop/CyanogenMod 12 for the OnePlus One next month.

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SAASpass unveils instant two-factor authentication security feature

01/15, 8:34pm

Smartphone or nearby mobile device replaces extra passwords and dongles

According to digital security provider SAASpass, a requirement to possess a separate physical device as part of accessing digital data -- for example a fingerprint reader or separate dongle -- helps prevent nearly all hacking attacks on computers. To that end, SAASpass has recently unveiled its "Computer Connector" apps to provide on-the-fly two-factor authentication, rather than passwords, using smartphones or mobile devices.

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RadioShack facing possibility of bankruptcy by February

01/15, 7:58pm

Entered into 'definitive agreements to provide additional near-term liquidity'

Venerable tech retailer RadioShack released its fiscal Q3 numbers to the US Securities and Exchange Commission this month. The report includes information about what RadioShack describes as a "prolonged downturn in our business" and predictions about its liquidity if efforts to restructure its debt don't go through by February 2, the last day of Q4 for RadioShack's current fiscal year.

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T-Mobile introduces Simply Prepaid plan with streamlined features

01/15, 1:33pm

Unlimited calls, texts, data included in Simply Prepaid, Data Stash excluded

T-Mobile has added a new prepaid price plan to its roster, one which is said to complement its existing Simple Choice plan. Simply Prepaid will provide customers with unlimited calls and texts, and though the plans include unlimited data, with different tiers offering various levels of LTE data on top, in an altogether simpler price plan.

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Xiaomi Mi Note, Mi Note Pro phablets launch in China

01/15, 7:37am

Xiaomi flagship phablets have 5.7-inch displays, aluminum and glass body

Xiaomi has launched two new mobile devices, with a pair of phablet-sized smartphones The Xiaomi Mi Note is a smartphone with a large 5.7-inch 1080p display squeezed into a 6.95mm-thick aluminum and glass body, while the Mi Note Pro keeps the design the same but slips in some component upgrades, as well as increasing the screen resolution to 1440x2560.

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Follow-up: Marriott caves, scuttles Wi-Fi blocking scheme

01/14, 9:56pm

Hotel chain states they will 'continue to look to the FCC' for guidance

Back in October, Marriott International settled with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to the tune of $600,000 for a complaint dating back to March that involved the blocking personal Wi-Fi hotspots at a Marriott resort in Nashville. It later, along with other hotels, petitioned the FCC to allow it the right to kick off hotspots. Today, the hotel chain released a statement that seems to indicate it will be backing down from the policy.

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Reuters: Samsung talks with BlackBerry about potential acquisition [u]

01/14, 6:43pm

Purchase could cost $7.5B, provide Samsung with BlackBerry patents

[Updated with BlackBerry denial] BlackBerry could possibly be the target of an acquisition, with a report claiming Samsung may be looking to buy the Canadian smartphone producer for a hefty sum. Details from a source, along with documents, were allegedly provided to Reuters, suggesting Samsung may be willing to pay as much as $7.5 billion to take control of the company.

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Project Ara modular smartphone heading to Puerto Rico later this year

01/14, 3:10pm

Spiral 2 Project Ara prototype has Marbell, Nvidia processor options

Project Ara, Google's attempt to create a modular smartphone, will be initially released in Puerto Rico this year, the company has revealed. News of the project's initial launch details come at the same time as the search company revealed its second prototype device, an upgraded collection of modules and endoskeleton which it calls Spiral 2.

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Tizen-powered Samsung Z1 smartphone launches in India

01/14, 7:07am

Samsung Z1 has dual-core 1.2GHz processor, runs Tizen 2.3

Samsung is attempting to push forward with its plan to sell Tizen-powered mobile devices, following the ill-fated Samsung Z, by launching its rumored smartphone in India. The Samsung Z1 is an entry-level mobile phone with fairly typical specifications, all backed by a mobile operating system spearheaded by Samsung and Intel as a light-weight, open-source alternative to Google's Android.

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Microsoft launches Lumia 435, Lumia 532; to ship in February

01/14, 6:09am

Budget Lumia 435, Lumia 532 have similar entry-level specifications

Microsoft has unveiled two Lumia smartphones destined for emerging markets. The Lumia 435 is claimed to be the company's "most affordable Lumia," complete with a four-inch 800x480 LCD screen, while the Lumia 532 is slightly more expensive -- and while it packs the same display, it switches out the 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor for a quad-core version.

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Reuters: Sony CEO considers sale of mobile, TV businesses

01/13, 10:32pm

Smartphone, television arms potentially at risk in cost-saving effort

Sony may be open to letting go of its mobile phone arm, along with its television businesses, a report claims. Officials at the electronics manufacturer allegedly close to CEO Kazuo Hirai believe the chief is thinking about getting rid of the two loss-making arms of the company, as a measure to rectify its expected full-year net loss forecast of 230 billion yen ($1.9 billion).

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Facebook considered investment in China's Xiaomi, say reports

01/13, 10:09pm

Chinese smartphone maker denies story, emphasizes good relations with partners

Last month, China's top smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi raised $1.1 billion in investment capital to help fuel expansion plans. However, prior to its successful fundraising round, CEO Lei Jun invited Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to his home for dinner, where the two discussed the possibility of an investment by the social media company.

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Facebook will display Amber Alerts in News Feeds

01/13, 12:07pm

Amber Alerts will be sent to users in missing child search locations

Facebook will start to post into its users News Feed alerts about missing children in the future, in an effort to locate them. A partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children will involve the social network showing Amber Alerts to Facebook users located in specific search areas, both on mobile devices and desktops.

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Next entry-level Samsung smartphone could be Galaxy J1

01/13, 9:58am

Samsung Galaxy J1 may be first of budget J-series device range

A new budget smartphone from Samsung using a 64-bit processor is on the way, according to leaked images. Using a similar naming convention to the flagship Galaxy S-series, and more recent Galaxy A-series and Galaxy E-series smartphones, the Galaxy J-series appears to be a new entry-level collection, starting with the Galaxy J1 and its 4.3-inch 800x480 display.

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Flickr: iPhones surpass Nikon, claim second most-popular camera

01/13, 4:11am

Camera phones, despite limitations, replacing point-and-shoot

Flickr has updated statistics for 2014 in its "Most Popular Camera" and "Most Popular Mobile Camera" categories, with the combined models of iPhone taking second place in the general "camera" category -- beating out DSLR maker Nikon and popular point-and-shoot maker Sony for second place. While Canon remains the most popular overall camera, the built-in cameras on smartphones from Apple and Samsung have -- despite inherent limitations -- steadily risen in popularity.

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UK Prime Minister vows ban on encrypted end-to-end communication

01/13, 1:17am

Calls secure chat 'safe space' for terrorists, pedophiles, criminals

In many democratic countries, responses to terrorist attacks usually involve the curtailing of some civil liberties in the name of safety. The hacking of Sony, for example has created momentum for the possible return of CISPA. In the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron has now called for tightening laws around "the internet and new ways of communicating," and specifically hinted at a ban on end-to-end encrypted messaging, in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices in Paris.

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