Leaked James Bond product placement pitches reveal unannounced Sony smartphone

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Emails found among the documents recently stolen from Sony by hackers have revealed what looks to be concept art for an unannounced smartphone. The “XPERIA Z Fourth Generation,” seen above, was pitched by Sony executives for product placements in the recently announced 24th James Bond flick “Spectre.”

The executives haggle over pricing for the placement of the phone, questioning whether they should pay the full $5 million for star Daniel Craig to use the phone, or settle for actor Ben Whishaw’s much cheaper “Q” to show it off.

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Google ‘deeply concerned’ by reports of MPAA working with movie studios to ‘revive SOPA’

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Google has published a post on its Public Policy blog responding to recent revelations that the Motion Picture Association of America was working with a group of movie studios in order to find new ways to force the search giant to modify its results to omit sites that contained stolen copyrighted material:

We are deeply concerned about recent reports that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) led a secret, coordinated campaign to revive the failed SOPA legislation through other means, and helped manufacture legal arguments in connection with an investigation by Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood.

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McDonald’s increases sales by beaming offers to smartphones in beacon pilot

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McDonald’s is testing Bluetooth beacon-based offers in at least some of its locations as it pilots beacon platform Piper that works with both Android devices and iOS devices using Apple’s iBeacon framework.

Piper announced today that it’s testing its beacon platform in McDonald’s franchises in Columbus, Georgia and pushing deals out to users that download its mobile app that sends location-based offers when users come in contact with its beacons. Read more

Secret update basically copies Yik Yak, brings communities and cute new mascot

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Secret was one of the first to the anonymous social network category of apps, but Yik Yak recently took the spotlight and started really catching on with the college crowd. It appears that Secret felt a bit threatened by its university-based competitor. Today, the app has been updated with a completely new appearance, a new, cuter version of its fox mascot, and a re-imagined way of communicating with those around you anonymously.

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How to update Android Wear devices manually using OTA downloads

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Last week Google released the latest version of Android Wear, 5.0.1 Lollipop. The latest update entails many enhancements and refinements, but most notable is the long awaited official watch face API support and new notification, brightness, and alert settings. If you’re anxious to try out the new features of Android Wear’s latest (whether it be Lollipop or some future release), but haven’t received the OTA update yet, you can try to manually install it with ADB tools.

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Amazon Prime Now launches, offers free two-hour delivery in Manhattan to compete with Google Express

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Amazon has launched a new service called Prime Now which, as its title suggests, hopes to bring products from Amazon to your door faster than ever. The service currently offers “tens of thousands” of items spanning a wide variety of categories, is available now in parts of Manhattan for Amazon Prime members, and users have the option of going with either one or two hour delivery.

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‘Samsung couldn’t build a good OS if they tried’ says Cyanogen CEO at Yureka smartphone launch

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A new company being birthed from Micromax (similar to how OnePlus came from OPPO) called YU Digital has launched a new middle-tier smartphone today for the Indian market, and it runs Cyanogen OS 11—much like the OnePlus One. In fact, this entire launch seems pretty familiar, as it appears YU Digital is attempting to do with the Yureka exactly what OnePlus did with the One: launch a phone out of nowhere at a killer price and hope viral marketing does its thing.

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Amazon pushes a big update to its Fire Phone, but no one really cares

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Amazon’s Fire Phone, announced in June, was a flop to say the least. Offering hardly anything that wasn’t already on the market, the device launched at a price of $199 on contract (and AT&T-only, to boot), but very soon became basically free (and $199 unlocked) after sales figures turned out to be absolutely depressing. But even with the device’s failures, Amazon is today pushing a relatively substantial software update to its flopped attempt at entering the smartphone market…

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Inbox for Android updated w/ enhanced support for tablets and Android Wear

Inbox for GmailGoogle, as part of its Update Wednesday regiment, has started rolling out a new version of its Inbox app on Android. Inbox is Google’s latest attempt at making it easier to manage email. The app initially launched back in October and is still accessible by invite-only. Today’s update to Inbox adds a handful of notable features:

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Android One making strides in India as Karbonn commits to long-term partnership

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Earlier this year, Google announced a new initiative called Android One that aims to bring high quality, affordable smartphones to emerging markets like India and China. Not long after, it confirmed that it would be aggressively marketing Android One smartphones in India, a largely untapped user base of nearly 1.3 billion people, and followed through by launching the program in the country last September. Now Karbonn, an Indian smartphone maker, is further committing to a long term partnership to the Android One initiative… Read more

Report: Chinese smartphone maker Coolpad hides malicious backdoor on millions of Android devices

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While most malware is the result of third-party attackers trying to gain access to your device or information, security research firm Palo Alto Networks has discovered that Chinese handset maker Coolpad has deliberately installed a backdoor on two dozen of its Android handset models. The so-called “CoolReaper” backdoor presents several security risks and is believed to impact over 10 million users. Read more