Microsoft, Amazon, others reportedly eyeing Cyanogen for future smartphone software

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CyanogenMod—which is probably the most well-known fork of Android—lets users customize their phone beyond what Google intends, and touts having as many as 12 million active installs across a variety of devices. But the company behind the famed alternative operating system is reportedly getting a lot of attention, notably from companies that would consider themselves some of Google’s biggest rivals.

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In-Depth profile of Motorola tracks its rise and fall (and future)

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If you want to learn what happened behind the scenes in the tumultuous world of Motorola in the past decade, Chicago Mag does an excellent in-depth feature of the company that is awaiting approval of its sale from Google to Lenovo. Some excellent bits:

Meanwhile, in arguably one of the worst decisions ever made by a major corporate CEO, Zander struck a deal with his Silicon Valley friend Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple. Together their companies created a Motorola iTunes phone, the first phone connected to Apple’s music store. “We can’t think of a more natural partnership than this one with Apple,” Zander said at the time. Named the Rokr, the phone launched in the fall of 2005. Jobs, who introduced it, called it “an iPod Shuffle right on your phone.”

Ouch, a Shuffle… Read more

Dropbox dramatically cuts pricing to compete, 1TB now just $9.99/month

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Dropbox has today slashed its pricing and doubled the maximum storage space from 500GB to 1TB. Up until yesterday, you’d have been paying $500/year for 500GB; today you can pay just $120/year (or $99/year when paying annually) for a terabyte.

The new deal finally brings Dropbox into line with Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, with Apple’s new iCloud pricing – which includes iCloud Drive – also looking to be broadly similar …  Read more

Microsoft is ready to challenge Chromebooks with a $200 Windows 8.1-powered alternative

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Microsoft appears to be gearing up to challenge Google’s Chrome OS by partnering with companies to release affordable Windows-based alternative notebooks. Pictured above is the HP Stream 14, a $200 laptop that feels a lot like Redmond’s answer to the Chromebook. From its 14-inch 1,366 x 768 display, to its modest AMD processor, all the way down to its 2GB of RAM, 32GB of flash memory (optional 32GB) and two years of cloud storage from Microsoft’s OneDrive — sound familiar?

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Future Xbox One update will let you stream live TV to your Android smartphone or tablet

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Microsoft announced today that a new system update for its Xbox One game console will soon let users stream live TV to their smartphone or tablets. Set to arrive in the next few months, the Xbox One’s SmartGlass companion app will be equipped with the option to watch television via a local network connection without interrupting a gameplay session.

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Microsoft’s Snap Attack word-building game will stretch your vocabulary

Snap Attack Microsoft recently released Snap Attack, a word-building game for Android that places players against each other in a beat the clock tournament challenge. Games consist of two and a half minute rounds, where players from across the globe compete with each other using colored movable word tiles to “snap” together words on fixed black letter tiles across the game board. Read more

Skype says free group video calling coming in the future to more platforms

Earlier this month, Microsoft-owned Skype rolled out a group video calling feature to Windows tablets. The free video calling allows for calls with up to ten people, and integrates with Skype on the desktop, which has supported group video calling since April.

Today, Skype tells us that the group video calling feature will be coming to all of its mobile platforms in the future:

We’re excited about Skype group video calling and are working to bring it to more of our platforms. In the future, we’ll be enabling group video calling for all our users across more platforms – at no cost

Unfortunately, the company could not yet provide a more specific rollout timeframe. Skype has been rapidly releasing new products over the past several months, with a major redesign of the Skype iPhone app arriving a couple of months ago.

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Skype for Android updated with contact syncing

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Skype for Android received an update today that makes it easier to import your phone’s contact list. Although this new software is currently available to download, Microsoft says that its contact tracking feature will be available in the “coming months.” When ready, the app will prompt you to verify your phone number and after that Skype will start matching its contacts with people saved to your device’s address book.

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Lenovo to stop producing smaller Windows tablets, Android support keeps on truckin’

Lenovo IdeaPad K1 (two-up)

Lenovo’s $2.91 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility from Google is still pending regulatory approval, however it looks like the company is already mapping out a new strategy. Despite being one of the world’s largest PC makers, Lenovo is halting the development of Windows tablets under 10 inches in size and migrating its remaining inventory to markets like Brazil, China and Japan where there’s more of a need for low-cost slates.

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