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Benjamin Mayo

December 5, 2018

Google and Amazon to offer AirPods alternatives; Apple likely to add health sensors

There are already a number of AirPods alternatives on the market – but noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes we’re about to get more. He points to supply-chain reports suggesting that both Google and Amazon are working on direct competitor products.

But he also expects Apple to work on holding its market lead by adding new functionality …

August 2, 2017

The Google Earth app is incredibly popular on iOS, and the Mountain View company has finally updated it to support 64-bit iPhone and iPad CPUs. This means the app can now run on iOS 11, which does not launch any 32-bit-only apps.

As well as much-needed architectural compatibility, the update brings a redesign and several new flagship features, including Flyover-esque 3D views of major cities and ‘Voyager’ guided tours.

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May 9, 2017

Amazon has announced its latest addition to the Echo family, the $229 Amazon Echo Show. Adding to its popular range of home virtual assistant devices, the Show combines the usual Amazon Alexa voice commands with a 7-inch touchscreen, displaying information like weather reports and music lyrics in response to your voice queries.

It also features a camera to enable video calls between friends and family. The Echo Show is up for pre-order now, available in white or black models, and is shipping to customers from June 28.

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February 12, 2017


Verizon is bringing back its unlimited data plans. With the new Verizon Unlimited plan launching on Monday, customers can use as much 4G LTE data, send as many texts as they like and talk for as long as they please … for $80 per month. An equivalent uncapped family plan charges $45 per line for 4 people, or $180 monthly.

The ‘unlimited’ plans have a few strings attached, namely hotspot tethering is limited at 10 GB for 4G (will fallback to 3G after) and although data is uncapped, high data users will not be prioritized if the network is congested …

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February 6, 2017

Trump Holds Summit With Technology Industry Leaders

Google, Apple and 95 other Silicon Valley technology firms, filed an amicus brief over the weekend to oppose the immigration order introduced by Donald Trump (via Bloomberg). The filing contributes to the lawsuit being held in Washington and Minnesota.

In the brief, the companies say an open-ended ban does not aid America’s national security and instead undermines its interests. It notes that 40% of the companies in the Fortune 500 were founded by immigrants, or their children.

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Chinese phone sales continue to be dominated by local brands as shown by the latest analyst data via Bloombeerg. With the exception of Apple’s iPhone, all of the top manufacturers in the region are Chinese companies that make Android phones. Across 2016, Oppo, Huawei and Vivo grew in the double digits to take the top three slots and represent half of all smartphone sales.

Xiaomi slipped to fourth place with 35% fall in sales and Samsung Galaxy phones failed to hit the top five at all, being grouped into the ‘Others’ miscellaneous category by IDC.

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December 14, 2016


Twitter is rolling out a new feature into its native client app for Android. From today, users will be able to start video live stream broadcasts from within the Twitter app courtesy of a new integration with Periscope, which Twitter acquired in 2013.

To start a live video, open the tweet compose screen and tap the new “Live” button. You can frame your shot and then press Go Live to start broadcasting to the world. The feature is rolling out gradually over the next few days.

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August 19, 2016


AT&T chairman Randall Stephenson will soon announce that a consortium of 33 companies, including Google, AT&T, Apple and Comcast are joining the FCC in an effort to crack down on phone call spam made by robots, according to Reuters. In the inaugural “Robocall Strike Force” meeting, the companies will announce their initial plans on how to stop US phone owners from receiving advertorial spam run by automated machines …

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April 27, 2016


Having already released its first mobile game Miitomo, a bespoke social networking game, Nintendo is now teasing the next round of games headed to mobile devices. Notably, unlike Miitomo, these are going to be versions of existing successful Nintendo franchises: Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem.

Although Animal Crossing is not quite on the same podium as Super Mario, it is still major first-party intellectual property for Nintendo to release on non-Nintendo consoles for the first time. The new smartphone and tablet titles are expected to be released later this year, around October.

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April 5, 2016


Today, WhatsApp is announcing that all messages, photos, phone calls and videos sent over its messaging app will be encrypted end-to-end. This means that no one can access any communications apart from the people in the conversation. This means if WhatsApp is subpoenaed by government for information, WhatsApp will not be able to help them as it simply cannot help them.

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November 19, 2015

Adele won’t be streaming her upcoming album ’25’ on Google Play or Spotify

Adele’s newest album, 25, launches on Friday and is expected to widely beat music album sales records. However, it won’t be available on streaming services like Spotify or Google Play Music. According to the New York Times, Adele’s management has informed digital music distributors that 25 will not be offered for streaming, at least initially. You can of course buy the album in Google Play and the iTunes Store at full price; preorders are up now.

October 13, 2015


A report on Weibo suggests that Samsung will be adding pressure-sensitive screens next year following its biggest rival, Apple, with the launch of the iPhone 6s and 3D Touch. Samsung phones currently can respond to force through the use of the stylus but the ‘Galaxy S7’ would reportedly respond to pressure from standard touch input.

The Weibo post indicates that Samsung will be using Synaptic screen technology, which 9to5Google reported on last week. The manufacturer is licensing its ClearForce hardware to OEMs to increase adoption of pressure-sensitive displays in consumer phones and tablets. The Android Huawei Mate S already includes this feature.

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April 29, 2015


Strategy Analytics has a new report out claiming that Samsung has once again become the number one smartphone manufacturer by units shipped worldwide. Although Samsung doesn’t officially report unit numbers in its earnings call, the analytics firm is estimating 83 million smartphones sold worldwide for the company. IDC is also reporting similar numbers.

Apple, which does report the number of iPhones it shipped, sold 61 million iPhones in the last quarter. Whilst this is a new quarterly record for Apple, it is easily outstripped by Samsung’s estimated numbers by about 20 million units. Apple became the number one vendor last quarter due to the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and mild sales of Samsung’s Galaxy lineup. However, these numbers show Samsung’s latest flagship, the Galaxy S6, is off to a good start.

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February 18, 2015

Motorola president responds to Jony Ive criticism in New Yorker profile, says Apple charging ‘outrageous prices’

In an amusing retaliation to Jony Ive’s opinion of Motorola’s Moto Maker, Motorola president described their company as a ‘different philosophy’ as well as directly attacking Apple’s product lineup, describing iPhone prices as ‘outrageous’ in a conversation with the BBC.

December 9, 2014

Apple TV update revamps YouTube app, brings ads to the platform for the first time

The Apple TV today received a brand new YouTube app, bringing it up to speed and largely mirroring the experience available on other set-top boxes, with new predictive search and recommendations. The previous app felt like something built by the Apple developers internally, whereas this new app seems to be predominantly designed by Google … with rich YouTube branding throughout.

October 20, 2014

Microsoft’s pulse-tracking smartwatch rumored to land in time for holidays

According to Forbes, Microsoft will soon enter the wearable market with a competing smartwatch device. The report says the device will track heart rate for fitness, like other Android and Apple smartwatches.

October 7, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 13.20.47

Re/code has posted an interview with Google’s ‘new’ head of social at the company, David Besbris, after taking over from Vic Gundotra. The interview ranges in scope, but most notably it opens with a direct question about the future of Google+ with many rumors circulating that Google intends to kill off the ‘failure’.

Unsurprisingly, Besbris denies the claims and says that Google made a long-term bet. It has no intentions to drop Google+ from its offerings.

Is Google+ going away anytime soon?

We’re actually very happy with the progress of Google+, [CEO Larry Page] said this at the time that Vic transitioned that he’s going to continue working on building this stuff, that he’s very happy with it. The company is behind it. I have no idea where these rumors come from to be honest with you.

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Search Engine Land has received confirmation from Google that it is widening its sources for the news callout boxes in Google search results. Previously, this section of Google search pages only included select online publications and newspapers.

With this new change, though, Google says that almost any form of online article content can now be presented in this fashion. This includes Reddit posts. Google has officially commented on the change; the statement is included below.

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October 6, 2014

Campus Cafe

Google has announced that it is creating another one of its ‘campuses’ in Spain, following successful launches in London and Tel Aviv. These spaces are targeted at entrepreneurs looking for informal office spaces to kickstart new projects and careers. Campuses include working areas, testing devices as well as teaching from experienced mentors and business leaders.

Essentially, Google makes these areas to help startups get off the ground. It is an ethically driven venture for Google as there is no charge for participation. Google claims that the campus in London created more than 570 jobs last year. It is looking to recreate similar levels of success in Spain.

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PhoneArena has some new pics claiming to show off leaked renders of a new Samsung device, the Samsung Galaxy A5. This appears to be part of a new range of phones, based off the Galaxy Alpha. We have seen some prototype pics of the device before.

The ‘A’ lineup appears to symbolise Samsung’s phone with ‘premium’ materials (non plastic body, for instance). The A5 is supposedly made of aluminium, featuring a 5 inch AMOLED screen with a 720P resolution. The phone also appears to include a 13 megapixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel front camera. With Samsung’s recent focus on battery life, it’s unsurprising that the A5 will pack a 2,300 mAH battery — according to reports.

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