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Tuesday, September 30

FTC head speaks out against proposed FCC Title II regulation of ISPs

Allegedly concerned about protecting the American consumer, US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) head Maureen Ohlhausen has come out as strongly against Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler's net neutrality provision, specifically, the possibility of Title II regulation of ISPs. The comment against the possibility of regulating Internet providers as a utility is the FTC's second in September....

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Alcatel bundles smaller Bluetooth phone with Pop Mega phablet

Alcatel is attempting to make the large-screen phablet useful to those wanting a smaller device, by bundling it with a secondary phone device. One of two new devices, the Pop Mega is a phablet with a six-inch display which Alcatel has paired with a small "Buddy" candybar-style accessory, capable of making and receiving calls without needing physical access to the main device. ...

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Quanta to begin Apple Watch production in January 2015, report says

Taiwan's Quanta Computer will only start mass production of the Apple Watch in January 2015, according to a supply chain rumor from Apple Daily. Apple has only officially stated that the Watch will ship in early 2015. If production does begin in January, that will likely place shipments in February....

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New York regulators seek concessions for Time Warner/Comcast merger

Several states are having regulatory discussions in governmental circles about the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger. Two New York state agencies, the Division of Consumer Protection Utility Intervention Unit (UIU) and the Department of Public Service are taking serious issue with the merger and are demanding concessions. As a result, the UIU's vote on its discussion has been postponed from October 2 until Novembe...

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Briefly: Mozilla's new streaming dongle, TiVo adds Android streaming

Creator of the open-source Firefox OS Mozilla has announced the launch of its own Internet and media streaming dongle device, named Matchstick. A competitor to Google's Chromecast, the dongle runs Firefox OS, and allows users to view content - via a WiFi connection - from their smartphone, tablet, or laptop to stream to a big screen TV. TV apps will be available for download through the Matchstick App Store, and both...

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Belkin revamps Express Dock; adds Thunderbolt 2, 4k support

Accessory manufacturer Belkin today introduced the Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock HD with cable, a cross-platform docking solution designed for both OS X and Windows-based computers. Equipped with two Thunderbolt 2 ports, the new dock allows users to take full advantage of Thunderbolt 2 technology's high-speed 20Gbps bandwidth, and provides reliable transfers between laptops and up to eight other devices connected throug...

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PayPal, eBay splitting into two separate public companies in 2015

Auction site eBay and payment service PayPal are splitting apart into two separate companies. A plan has been approved by the eBay board of directors to separate the two into independent publicly traded companies by next year, subject to regulatory approval, with each company set to be presided over by two new chief executives. ...

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Decade-old Apple versus Real will see trial, possibly in November

The new judge on the Apple versus Real anti-trust case has declared that there is enough evidence to go to trial, after nine years of litigation and a judge's retirement during the process. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has ordered a trial after an earlier pre-trial conference, finding that Real attorneys have presented enough evidence to show that Apple created a monopoly with its FairPlay DRM, which then allowed the...

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EU accuses Ireland of giving Apple illegal state aid

As expected, the European Commission has issued a preliminary finding in which it suggests that Apple is receiving illegal state aid from the Irish government. "In the light of the foregoing considerations, the Commission's preliminary view is that the tax ruling of 1990 (effectively agreed in 1991) and of 2007 in favour of the Apple group constitute State aid according to Article 107(1) TFEU [Treaty on the Function...

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HP shows Stream line of full Windows laptops, tablets

HP yesterday expanded the HP Stream line-up of thin and light Windows products with the addition of two new notebook PCs and two new tablets. Now released are two models of the entry-level HP Stream laptop, and two sizes of the new full Windows 8.1 HP Stream tablet with quad-core Atom processor....

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Basis Peak fitness tracker launches with touchscreen controls

Basis, producers of the B1 fitness tracker, has unveiled its first wearable device since its acquisition by Intel. The Peak is a fitness and sleep tracker which builds upon its predecessor by replacing the collection of buttons and display with a larger touch-enabled screen, as well as upgrading the rear-mounted heart rate tracker to the point where Basis suggests it could replace a chest-strap monitor completely....

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Project Ara head claims modular smartphone parts 'hot swappable'

Google's modular smartphone project will allow users to replace individual modules from the mobile device while it is still running. The majority of Project Ara modules will be hot swappable, with exception to the processor and display, so users will not be required to shut down the device before making any changes to the hardware. ...

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Briefly: Cortana adds musical notifications, Chromecast Hulu Plus

Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant for Windows Phone 8.1, has been updated with two event-related changes. WMPU reports the service will now show notifications for when a user's favorite music acts are performing nearby under "Concert Watch," while WP Central notes users in the US and UK can now benefit from public transport notifications, including delays, outages, and advising of the best time to head to an app...

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Update: iPhone 6, 6 Plus approved in China, debuts October 17 [u]

[Update: Apple official announcement reveals China debut of iPhone 6, 6 Plus on October 17] The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have now finally been cleared by the country's regulatory agency for sale in China, and will formally debut on October 17, Apple says. According to Bloomberg, the holdup was apparently over some privacy concerns brought up by Chinese authorities. The company agreed to make some changes, which may...

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Monday, September 29

Review: ActvContent Sync Smartband

Smartbands of all sorts are hitting the market. Some build on the buzz around fitness trackers, while others offer simpler features for specific needs. Once such band is the ActvContent Sync Smartband, a wrist-worn device that allows tracking through a smartphone or quick access to medical information in the case of an emergency. But does the ActvContent Sync offer enough to warrant a purchase, or would users be bett...

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Moto 360 users discover battery life gains following software update

Owners of the Moto 360 are reportedly seeing longer battery life for the smartwatch than at launch, thanks to an over-the-air update by Motorola late last week. The original suggestion by the company of an "all day" mixed-use battery life has apparently increased considerably, with users on Reddit surprised at the sudden battery gains....

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South Korean smartphone manufacturer Pantech put up for sale

Things have gone from bad to worse for South Korean smartphone manufacturer Pantech. After filing for a debt restructuring in February, it asked was forced to ask for a deadline extension in July to pay off its creditors. It turns out that the interest-free, two-year extension granted in August wasn't long enough, as the company is now searching for buyer after filing for court receivership....

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San Francisco, Los Angeles issue legal threat to ride-sharing services

District attorneys in San Francisco and Los Angeles drafted a letter to the three large ride-sharing operations, asking them to make changes to the way they do business, or face legal action. The letters state that the companies make misleading statements regarding the background checks into drivers, on top of the shared-ride fees running afoul of California law....

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Streaming version of Adobe Photoshop coming to Chrome OS, browser

Photographers and artists holding off on buying a Chromebook because of the lack of program options may have one more reason to reconsider in the future. A partnership between Adobe and Google was announced today, taking steps towards bringing the subscription-based Creative Cloud suite to Chrome OS. To start out, a streaming version of Photoshop will be brought to the inexpensive notebooks....

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Study finds Google Glass as dangerous as smartphones when driving

In a joint study between the University of Central Florida and Air Force Research Laboratories, researcher Ben Sawyer found that drivers wearing Google Glass are just as distracted as those using smartphones to text. The study attempted to discover the level of driver distraction using Google Glass, a hands-free device that many claimed offers no or a lesser degree of distraction than other in-car devices. ...

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Circle opens up insured Bitcoin banking service globally

Circle, a start-up offering Bitcoin banking facilities, has opened itself up for business after a brief invitation-only period. The service, acting as a simplified Bitcoin wallet, can now be used by anyone in the world rather than an invited few, allowing customers to buy the digital currency and transfer the funds to other online accounts. ...

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CloudFlare rolls out free SSL website encryption to all users

CloudFlare is pushing its users toward security in a good way, as it is adding secure socket layer (SSL) encryption to all of its customer accounts starting today. Where the company says that only around two million sites supported encrypted connections previously, CloudFlare believes it will double that number by the end of the day. The SSL encryption is being adding to all accounts, even free users....

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Samsung prepares curved 27-inch monitor for sale in United States

Samsung has unveiled a monitor with a similar curvature to some of the manufacturer's high-end televisions. The SD590C uses a 27-inch, 1920x1080 LCD panel with a 16:9 aspect ratio, with Samsung claiming the curve provides a wider field of view than similar-sized flat displays, with users able to see items on the edges of the screen without shifting focus, allowing for a "more comfortable viewing experience." ...

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GoPro introduces Hero4 Black, Silver, entry-level Hero cameras

GoPro has launched its first new additions to its action camera line after filing its IPO. The Hero4 range follows on from the Hero3+ collection, with the Black and Silver editions offering functionality better suited towards professional applications, while a new entry-level Hero is a budget-priced version for those wanting a cheap waterproof camera. ...

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Executive confirms Microsoft Store opening soon on Fifth Avenue

Microsoft will be launching its first flagship retail location in Manhattan, a few blocks away from Apple's iconic Fifth Avenue glass cube store. The software giant has confirmed its Microsoft Store will be taking the place of a Fendi shop located at 677 Fifth Avenue, with executives claiming the store has already been five years in the making. ...

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Next version of Windows could be free for Windows 8 owners

The next version of Windows may be a free upgrade for some Windows users, numerous reports claim. The software, potentially called Windows 9 and codenamed "Threshold," may end up being offered to owners of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, though users of earlier operating system iterations are likely to be required to pay for the upgrade....

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SoftBank allegedly offers to acquire DreamWorks Animation

Japanese carrier SoftBank is still on the hunt for acquisitions in the United States, following its earlier failed attempt to merge T-Mobile with Sprint, a report claims. The company is said to be in talks to buy DreamWorks Animation, a studio behind film franchises including Shrek and Kung-Fu Panda, with the deal claimed to be worth somewhere in the region of $3.4 billion. ...

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Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus review Part 2

This is the second part of our two part combined iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus review. In Part 1, we took a look at the design and construction of the new iPhones, along with the new larger and much improved displays as well as the all-new front and rear iSight cameras. In each of these areas, Apple has continued to raise the bar with at least one or more significant improvements over the previous generation. In this se...

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