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Verizon

Verizon Offering $650 To Switch To Their Network (pcmag.com) 83

An anonymous reader writes: Verizon is offering up to $650 to customers who switch to their network. PC Mag reports: "To get the discount, you'll need to port your number to Verizon, trade in your current device, and buy a new 4G LTE smartphone. Verizon will give you up to $650 on a prepaid card to cover the installment plan balance, minus the device trade-in value, or up to a $350 via a prepaid card to cover your old carrier's early termination fees (minus the device trade-in value). Your existing phone needs to be in 'good working condition,' and you have to keep your new Verizon line active for at least six months."
Microsoft

The Reason a Surface Phone Won't Fix Microsoft's Mobile Problem (windows10update.com) 154

Ammalgam writes: Microsoft's CMO recently admitted that Microsoft was behind in the mobile arena and needed time to build a competitive phone. In the Windows community however, some feel that the Windows Phone platform is out of time. On Windows10Update.com, the author discusses some of the reasons why a "Surface Phone" might not be enough to fundamentally change public perception about Microsoft mobile phones.
Programming

Can Web Standards Make Mobile Apps Obsolete? (arstechnica.com) 225

nerdyalien writes: There's a litany of problems with apps. There is the platform lock-in and the space the apps take up on the device. Updating apps is a pain that users often ignore, leaving broken or vulnerable versions in use long after they've been allegedly patched. Apps are also a lot of work for developers—it's not easy to write native apps to run on both Android and iOS, never mind considering Windows Phone and BlackBerry. What's the alternative? Well, perhaps the best answer is to go back to the future and do what we do on desktop computers: use the Web and the Web browser.
Businesses

Reluctance To Go Mobile Inhibiting Innovation In Financial Services (enterprisersproject.com) 104

Lemeowski writes: Compliance concerns have long prevented financial services businesses from adopting mobile capabilities as quickly as other industries. But Yvette Jackson of Thomson Reuters argues that technology advancements have made compliance worries of the past now obsolete, and financial services companies are running out of excuses for not going mobile. She stresses that holding onto this reluctance will cause businesses to miss opportunities, limit innovation, and turn away talent by restraining their workflow. She says, "Any millennial joining the financial services industry, who expects a flawless user experience both at home and at work, is – I'm sure – surprised on their first day in the office when they get to their desk and are transported back in time by the technology they're expected to use."
Advertising

ASUS To Include AdBlock Plus On All Phones and Tablets In 2016 (betanews.com) 189

JoeyRox writes: Starting in 2016 Asus will ship all phones and tablets with AdBlock Plus integrated into their mobile browser. The ad-blocking software will not only be pre-installed but enabled by default as well. The move to include ad-blocking software on mobile devices is significant because unlike desktop users the percentage of mobile users presently employing ad-blocking software is very low at approximately 2%.
Microsoft

Microsoft Fails Windows Phone Fans Again By Delaying Windows 10 Mobile (venturebeat.com) 189

An anonymous reader writes that Microsoft says the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade will begin early next year. The company had previously promised a roll out this month. Venturebeat reports: "Windows Phone fans and fanboys have a tough job. They have to stand by an operating system with a new name every few years, significantly fewer apps than the competition, and a distant third place spot in the market. The latest news out of Microsoft isn't making their lives any easier. This week, Microsoft failed to deliver on its promise of rolling out Windows 10 Mobile devices to existing Windows Phone devices in December. The new target? 2016."
Businesses

Mobile Gaming Giant Calls For Longer Product Life Cycles 30

An anonymous reader writes: South Korean gaming firm Nexon has vowed to release mobile games with longer life cycles, focusing on attracting users for at least 10 years rather than relying on fad sales. The company argued that developing a sustainable ecosystem in the mobile gaming industry was more important than generating immediate sales. While Nexon is the region's largest PC gaming business, it has been comparatively laggard in its attempt to break into the mobile world. Following its announcement last year that it would initiate a strategic push into the mobile sector, Nexon has built a dedicated mobile business unit, as well as global teams looking at international markets.
Microsoft

Ballmer: Microsoft Mobile Should Focus On Android Apps Not Universal Apps (theverge.com) 121

UnknowingFool writes: Former CEO Steve Ballmer had some strong opinions about the direction of Microsoft's mobile strategy. As reported last month, Microsoft's Project Astoria has not been received well and is not going well. The strategy is to help build Windows 10 apps by making universal apps via easy porting from Android. Ballmer questions its effectiveness. "That won't work," he said. Instead he suggested that Windows phones should "run Android apps." This is a dramatic departure from the Microsoft-only focus that Ballmer championed during his tenure as CEO.
The Almighty Buck

AT&T Will Raise Cost of Old Unlimited Data Plans By $5 In February (theverge.com) 56

An anonymous reader writes: AT&T customers trying to hold on to their old unlimited-data plans will have to pay a little more starting in February. AT&T's legacy plans for unlimited data will soon be $35 a month, instead of the current $30, on top of normal monthly bill costs. The Verge reports: "This is the first price hike AT&T has levied on grandfathered unlimited customers in seven years; the plan in question was discontinued in 2010 and as such is no longer offered to new customers. The $35 unlimited data feature is in addition to the costs associated with your voice and texting plan(s)."
United Kingdom

UK Prisons To Crack Down On Inmate Internet and Mobile Phone Use (thestack.com) 70

An anonymous reader writes: UK prisons will roll out enhanced internet and mobile phone blocking technologies, according to new measures announced yesterday by Chancellor George Osborne in the Autumn Statement. The step, which seeks to stop inmate access to the internet and calls made from mobile devices, will involve part of a £1.3bn investment from the Ministry of Justice to improve the country's Prison Service. Through this strategy, the government hopes to drive "safety improvements" by denying calls and data used on illicit mobile devices. The latest development in blocking technologies promises to be better (paywalled) than earlier systems, which inmates have been able to get around.
Handhelds

How Hollywood's Hedy Helped Heighten Handhelds (hackaday.com) 67

szczys writes: Hedy Lamarr is a household name for the wrong reason. Her name is known as a Hollywood actress, but her legacy is in your pocket and reaches far more people than her movies. She was a brilliant thinker who plied her skills during World War II, developing technology that could help to win the war. Her patent wasn't used at the time, but is a foundation of spread-spectrum which is used in the radio modules of your cellphone: WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and others. This frequency hopping concept sat unused for decades before being added to the most ubiquitous of wireless connectivity methods.
The Almighty Buck

Apple Apparently Planning Mobile Peer-To-Peer Payment Service (thestack.com) 69

An anonymous reader writes: According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is planning peer-to-peer services (paywalled) as an adjunct to its Apple Pay system. The company is said to be in talks with major banks including JP Morgan and Wells Fargo to develop a new framework that could be in place as early as 2016, and which would facilitate payment transfers directly between Apple devices such as the iPhone and the Apple Watch.
Google

Google Targets Low-Cost Android One Phone At African Markets 43

jfruh writes: In order to meet its goal of bringing Android to five billion users, Google needs to get smartphones into the hands of people in the developing world. The company's Android One program aims to do just that. Already active in India, the program is now bringing an $88 smartphone to West Africa. “The software on Android One devices automatically updates to the latest version of Android and will get the Android M release after release. The goal is to provide a consistent and uncompromising smartphone experience, for everyone,” Google VP of product management, Caesar Sengupta, said.
Handhelds

Hands On Samsung's New Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 At Unpacked New York 77

MojoKid writes: Samsung held their Unpacked 2015 event in New York City today and the company unveiled its latest flagship, big-screen smartphones, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note5. Immediately following the on-stage presentations and reveals, Samsung opened up a demo area featuring the new devices for direct hands-on time. Both of these phones feature a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a QHD screen resolution (2560x1440), though the sides of the S6 Edge+'s display are curved. Powering the both devices is the the same octal-core Samsung Exynos 7420 processor that's at the heart of the previously-released Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. These new phones, however, are packing 4GB of RAM—not just 3GB, like the older models and also have LTE Cat9 support and high-speed wireless charging built-in. Samsung has also beefed up the cameras; these new devices pack the same 16MP sensor from the Galaxy S6 with OIS, but an additional digital image stabilization algo which complements the optical solution to further smooth out video is included as well. Built-in software on the new devices also allows for live-streaming to YouTube.
Android

Samsung To Push Monthly Over-the-Air Security Updates For Android 126

wiredmikey writes: Smartphone maker Samsung said on Wednesday that it soon will implement a new Android security update process that fast tracks mobile security patches over the air when security vulnerabilities are uncovered. The South Korea-based maker of popular Android smartphones said that it recently fast tracked security updates to its Galaxy devices in response to the recent Android "Stagefright" vulnerabilities uncovered late last month by security firm Zimperium. News of the initiative is great for Android users. For years, wireless carriers and phone manufacturers have been accused of putting profits over protection and dragging their feet on regular operating system updates, making Android users vulnerable to malware and other attacks. Nexus is also joining the monthly OTA update club.

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