Google to announce ‘Nexus’ smartwatch in March, to be released in June at Google I/O

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CNET is reporting that Google is set to announce a smartwatch next month, manufactured by LG (who also manufactured the two most recent Nexus phones). The device is described as the Nexus of smartwatches, with Google controlling the design of software and hardware.

Although Google will announce the product in March, the watch will not be released until June at Google I/O. As 9to5Google reported last year, Google’s smartwatch will revolve around Google Now’s assistant features with voice playing a major role in how users interact with the product.

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Verizon no longer the gold standard for mobile data?

Photo: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Photo: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Verizon Wireless, once the gold standard for LTE, has admitted that it is struggling to keep up with demand in the big cities – with some users being dropped down to slower 3G speeds. The carrier’s Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said yesterday:

There are certain pockets where we’re absolutely going to experience that down tick from the LTE network down to 3G because of capacity constraints …  Read more

Facebook First and Home review round-up: beauty is only skin deep

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Last week, Facebook announced two new products to expand their reach in the mobile market: Facebook Home, a downloadable Facebook-intergrated skin for Android phones and the HTC Facebook First, the first official hardware by the company. The First is scheduled to be released April 12th for $99 exclusively through AT&T. Naturally, the First comes pre-loaded with Facebook Home.

Facebook Home is a downloadable launcher for Android phones only, and a few of its key features such as Chat Heads are getting much praise by reviewers. On the other hand, the First is being criticized for its lack-luster hardware such as the mediocre 5MP camera and lack of a dedicated shutter button.

If you want to read all about Facebook’s new duo of software and hardware, below is a round-up of some of the reviews from around the web…

Engadget:

The HTC First is compelling for two reasons. For Facebook fans, it’s now easier to maintain social connections with friends and family. For the tech-savvy crowd who has little interest in the service, the phone is a stock Android 4.1 device that comes with AT&T LTE, which is still something of a rarity. Including this opt-out was a smart move on Facebook’s part, because it’s difficult to recommend that consumers sign two-year contracts on an unproven product that depends so heavily on their engagement with Facebook. Worst case, it’s a decent mid-range phone for $99 on contract (or $450 without any commitment).
Facebook Home isn’t perfect, nor will it convince many non-Facebookers to start Liking and commenting with reckless abandon. But it’s aesthetically pleasing, and surprisingly polished for a 1.0 product.

CNET: Read more

Samsung and Visa announce deal to preload Visa payWave on future Samsung devices

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Samsung and Visa today announced a deal that would see future Samsung devices preloaded with the Visa payWave applet, allowing consumers to “wave and pay” through Visa’s contactless payment terminals. The Visa payWave service will of course only come preloaded on select Samsung devices, but rumor has it that the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4 will be the first to receive the functionality. While Samsung and Visa were showing off the technology with existing NFC-enabled devices at MWC this week, CNET and others have apparently confirmed through sources that the S4 will indeed be the first device to get the applet preloaded.

  • Global Strategic Alliance
    Visa and Samsung have agreed to work together to enable the next generation of Samsung mobile devices with Visa payment technology, and to partner with financial institutions to accelerate the availability of mobile payment solutions globally.
  • Samsung to Connect to Visa’s Mobile Provisioning Service
    In order to enable financial institutions to launch large scale mobile (NFC) payment programs, Samsung will offer banks the ability to load payment account information over-the-air to a secure chip embedded inSamsung devices, using Visa’s Mobile Provisioning Service3 which is linked to Samsung KMS (Key Management System) – a service that creates secure data storage domains for issuers.
  • Samsung Awarded Global Visa payWave License
    The Visa payWave mobile applet will be preloaded onto selected next-generation Samsung mobile devices featuring NFC technology and an embedded secure element. Off the shelf, these devices are ready to be personalized with Visa payment account information – a simple step that consumers will be able to initiate using a mobile payment application provided by their financial institution.

Visa also noted that the partnership, which isn’t exclusive with Samsung, will allow financial institutions with mobile payment programs to “use the Visa Mobile Provisioning Service to securely download payment account information to NFC-enabled Samsung devices.”
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