Another HTC One M8 leaked video posted online ahead of tomorrow’s launch

We’re getting set for tomorrow’s big launch event by watching previews of what we’re going to see. A lengthy claimed video of the long-awaited successor to the HTC One has been posted, and while it’s unverified, it certainly looks convincing.

The M8 is simply the codename for the handset, just as the One was codenamed the M7. It’s not known whether HTC will brand the replacement as the new HTC One or give it a new name. Separate rumors have suggested the HTC One 2, and the HTC All New One, both of which sound pretty silly.

We’re expecting to see a Snapdragon 801 or 805 processor, 2GB RAM, a choice of 16 or 32GB storage, support for microSD cards of up to 128GB and a full-HD (1920×1080) display, running Android 4.4. The casing appears to be all-aluminum, with a brushed finish. Rumors have suggested that it will be available in a choice of silver, gold and grey colors …  Read more

Tony Fadell talks to the Sunday Times about Nest, the Google acquisition, and more

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Photo via the Sunday Times

Last week it was Apple Design VP Jonathan Ive. This week, the Sunday Times is talking to Google’s Tony Fadell (paywall) about his work at Nest, which was acquired by Google earlier this year, the future of his career, and more.

A few choice quotes have been highlighted by Rob Richman. In one, Fadell refutes the idea that money ($3.2 billion to be exact) was the driving force behind the Google buyout, saying that both companies working together can produce much bigger results than they could alone:

This was not a financially driven transaction. When you marry for money, it almost never works. We both believe we have something special and we know what it takes to make it happen around the world.

Regarding privacy and whether Nest would turn over its user data to Google, Fadell said:

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New tax law could see UK Google Play customers paying up to 20% more next year

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Members of the UK government are seeking to close a tax loophole that currently allows online music, app, and book downloads to avoid the country’s 20% “value added tax” in favor of much lower international tax rates, reports The Guardian. If the push is successful, Google Play customers in the UK will instead be taxed at the appropriate rate for their own country.

However, the new law won’t go into effect until January 1, 2015, so there’s still time for things to change. Supporters of the change say that it will lead to more fair competition among foreign and domestic companies, since UK-based companies are currently at a major disadvantage due to the higher tax rate.

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Turkey asks YouTube to remove videos accusing government of corruption, Google declines

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The Turkish government sent requests to YouTube for the removal of specific videos that it deemed critical of government officials, according to the Wall Street Journal. Google refused to comply with the request, saying that there was no legal basis for the removal of the videos.

The move by the government comes after a nationwide blackout of Twitter, which officials say is due to what they deem false allegations of corruption being circulated on the network. That block can be worked around by using Google’s DNS server to access the web, though it seems that won’t be necessary to keep accessing YouTube videos critical of the nation’s leadership—unless the entire website is blocked, that is.

Google Now adds ability to launch ‘I’m feeling lucky’ radio station by saying ‘Play some music’

Earlier this week, Google made a backend tweak to the Google Search app for Android that added the ability to take a picture or video with Google Now by saying “Ok Google, take a photo.” This afternoon, the company has added another new voice command, this time relating to Google Music. Starting today, you can now say “Ok Google, play some music” and an “I’m feeling lucky” radio station will start to play via Google Music. The I’m feeling lucky station provides a constant stream of music based on your listening history.

Lots of driving ahead this weekend and already bored of listening to the radio? To get a surprise mix of music, just tap the mic (or say “Ok Google”) in your Google Search app and say “Play some music.” You’ll get an “I’m feeling lucky” radio station assembled based on your recent listening.
This feature will certainly be useful for those long car rides or workouts when you want to change up your music. Google notes that you must have Google Music installed for this feature to work. You can try it out today in the Google Search app with Google Now.
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Google chairman Eric Schmidt, other tech CEOs meet with Obama, NSA

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Google chariman Eric Schmidt joined a group of tech CEOs who met with the president and members of the administration today to discuss the implementation of recently-announced changes in the National Security Administration’s spying practices. Other CEOs in the group represented Facebook, Dropbox, Netflix, and more. Along with the president were several advisors and councilors, including the Deputy Director of the NSA.

The executives were updated on the status of changes to the NSA’s spying policies that were first detailed last year and continued to be further expanded upon in recent months. These CEOs were among those who signed an open letter to the federal government comdemning the unwarranted sue of spying tactics to intercept and store communications sent via various online platforms.

Earlier this week Google’s Larry Page also discussed the NSA and issues of privacy during the TED conference.

Verizon promo image suggests 1PM ET availability for new HTC One on Tuesday

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HTC is expected to finally unveil its All New HTC One at an event next Tuesday, and it looks like we won’t have to wait long at all for it to go on sale. According to an image obtained by Android Central, the device could go on sale March 25th, at 1PM ET on Verizon, which is the same day as HTC’s event.

The promo image shows an HTC One M8 decked out in the cases leaked last week and invites shoppers to “get ready to hit refresh” on March 25th at 1PM ET. HTC’s event will take place at 11AM ET the same day.

It’s unclear whether the All New HTC One will go on sale from all U.S. carriers on the 25th, or if it is just Verizon. There’s also a possibility that Verizon will only be putting the device up for pre-order that day, and that a release is scheduled for later on.

Nevertheless, it looks like we won’t have to wait long at all to get our hands on the new HTC One next week. We’ll have coverage of the event, as well, so be sure to stay tuned.

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Report: Apple considering iTunes Store for Android & on-demand streaming service

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According to a new report from Billboard, Apple is considering launching an iTunes Store app on the Android platform to combat declining music sales on the digital platform. The report also says that Apple execs are in talks with high level label executives to discuss debuting an on-demand streaming service.

Apple has opened exploratory talks with senior label executives about the possibility of launching an on-demand streaming service that would rival Spotify and Beats Music, according to three people familiar with the talks. Apple is also thinking about adding an iTunes App for Android phones, the Google rival that has been growing faster than the iPhone, these sources said.

The move to an on-demand streaming service could transform iTunes Radio from the Pandora-like radio model to the more robust on-demand model used by Spotify, Rdio, Beats Music, and others. Read more

Video: Larry Page discusses NSA, privacy, healthcare at TED conference

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Google CEO Larry Page made a somewhat rare public appearance this week speaking with CBS’s Charlie Rose at the TED ideas conference in Vancouver. During the conversation, Page expressed his ‘tremendous’ disappointment in the government using the NSA to conduct surveillance in secret and how that affects democracy. He noted the importance of having a conversation about privacy and democracy as Google tries to protect its users’ privacy as we share more and more information. (Video below) Read more

Sprint starts Galaxy S5 pre-orders for $199 ahead of April 11th launch

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This week both AT&T and T-Mobile have shared their launch plans for Samsung’s new flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone, and this morning Sprint has released details for its customers as well.

Starting this morning, Sprint is taking reservations in its stores to be notified of Galaxy S5 availability on April 11th. Sprint will offer the Galaxy S5 in black or white for $0/down and 24 payments of $27 through its Sprint Easy Pay plan. This offer, in conjunction with signing up with a Sprint Framily plan, includes a 7″ Galaxy Tab 3 tablet with a 2-year contract and data plan for a limited time.

Sprint is also offering pre-orders for customers purchasing the Galaxy S5 through the traditional methods for $199 after a $50 reward card redeemed via a mail-in rebate… so $249 up front. Read more

Google DNS provides workaround as Turkish government blocks access to twitter

Photo: @FindikKahve

Photo: @FindikKahve

Turkish citizens, who found access to Twitter blocked yesterday in an apparent attempt by prime minister Recep Erdoğan to stem the spread of corruption allegations against him, have been able to work around the block by switching to Google’s public DNS service.

The Turkish government blocked access to Twitter by requiring local ISPs to change the DNS entries so that twitter.com could no longer be reached. As soon as the method of blocking access was discovered, a campaign started to spread the word that it could be circumvented by changing network settings to use Google’s DNS servers at 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 (update: a comment suggests the Turkish government is blocking these addresses too) …  Read more