Google making friends at Sun Valley conference: Apple, Hollywood

Photo: salon.com

Photo: salon.com

The sometimes stormy relationship between Google and Apple appears to be growing friendlier, with Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt telling Reuters at the annual Allen & Co conference in Sun Valley that the two companies were having “lots and lots” of meetings.

Schmidt did not provide details about the nature of the meetings during comments to reporters at the annual Allen and Co media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho on Thursday. He noted that Google Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora, who joined him at the press briefing, was leading many of the discussions.

The two companies are in “constant business discussions on a long list of issues,” Schmidt said.

The two companies started out close. Schmidt joined Apple’s board in 2006, and the iPhone launched with both Google Maps and YouTube on board. That was to change after Google’s Android platform began growing in popularity, with Steve Jobs threatening “thermonuclear war” on Google over what he felt was a copycat product …  Read more

Sprint debuts new unlimited plans with lifetime guarantee, ‘My Way’ feature

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Following T-Mobile’s new “Jump” plan announcement, and preceding AT&T’s forthcoming network-related announcement, U.S. carrier Sprint has announced new versions of its unlimited plans. The new service goes into effect tomorrow.

The first element of the new offering is a lifetime guarantee (for the life of your service line) to receive unlimited calling, texting, and data. Sprint has also introduced a new My Way plan, that starts at as little as $80 for unlimited usage, that allows flexibility and additional savings when it comes to multiple lines begin attached to the plan:

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Moto X would be most heavily-promoted smartphone ever, if Google’s planned $500M spend is true

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The WSJ is reporting (via Techmeme) that Google is planning to allow Motorola to spend up to half a billion dollars to promote its forthcoming flagship smartphone, the Moto X. This would mean Motorola would spend more on promoting one handset than either Samsung or Apple spent in total last year across all their mobile devices.

Google is expected to allow its Motorola hardware unit to spend several hundred million dollars—and possibly upward of $500 million—to market the highly-anticipated device in the U.S. and some overseas markets, including in Europe, said people familiar with the matter.

All four major U.S. wireless carriers—AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp., and T-Mobile—are expected to make the device available to their customers this fall, in part because of Motorola’s marketing plans …  Read more

Xperia Z officially coming to T-Mobile July 17 for $100

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T-Mobile will begin to sell the Xperia Z on July 17th for $100 with a 24-month payment commitment of $20 per month. The carrier originally announced its plan to carry the device back in June, but without any specific pricing or release information.

Specs will be the same as the international model, which include a 5-inch 1080p display with Sony’s Mobile Bravia engine, a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, a 13MP rear-facing camera, and a water and dust resistant design. It will also carry support for T-Mobile’s LTE network.

Xperia® Z from Sony. T-Mobile will be the exclusive U.S. wireless company to offer Sony’s flagship water-resistant Android™-powered smartphone to customers this summer.2 The Xperia Z will be available for $99.99 down, with 24 equal monthly device payments of $20 for well-qualified buyers for 0 percent APR on approved credit3 through T-Mobile retail stores and select retailers, as well as online at http://www.T-Mobile.com starting July 17. On July 16, customers can also pre-order the device online from the same website and receive a free Sony Wireless Bluetooth Speaker gift with purchase (while supplies last). Customers may also purchase the device beginning today at any of the 38 U.S. Sony Store locations, including the flagship store in New York, or online at http://www.Sony.com/xperiaz/tmobile and will be eligible to receive the free Sony speaker as a gift with purchase (while supplies last).

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Another one bites the dust: Google to sunset Latitude on August 9th

google-latitude-logoAs part of the maps update announcement last night, Google noted that it would be retiring Latitude, just the latest in a string of high profile service closures including perhaps the most missed: Google Reader. Unlike Reader, Google seems to have some fallbacks in place:

One important change you should know about is that Latitude and check-ins are no longer part of the new Google Maps app, and will be retired from older versions on August 9. We understand some of you still want to see your friends and family on a map, which is why we’ve added location sharing and check-ins to Google+ for Android (coming soon to iOS). More details about Latitude and check-in changes can be found in our help center.

Google risks alienating early adopters and mainstream users alike with its now common closures of valued services.  Read more

Redesigned Google Maps for Android begins rolling out to Android 4.0.3+ users

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As previewed at Google I/O 2013 in May, Google has just begun rolling out the latest version of Google Maps for Android to Android 4.0.3+ users. The update, which is available now for download at Google Play, will provide users with a new design (both on tablets and smartphones), live traffic updates, improved navigation, incident reports, and a new Explore function. This Explore feature is a “new way to browse and discover popular local places to eat, drink, shop, play and sleep,” per Google’s release notes. While the update is out today, the new features will arrive gradually for end-users. Phandroid provides a link for side loading on the complete update today.

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