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Enforcing a policy that is stated in the terms of service for Android developers, Google has pulled advertising blocking apps AdAway, Ad Blocker, AdBlock Plus, and AdFree. All four were held in violation of a paragraph in the distribution agreement noting that developers are not allowed to interfere with "properties or services" of any third party, including, but not limited to Google or any other mobile network operator.
FreedomPop, a cellular internet service provider and maker of an iPod Touch case that can turn it into a full working smartphone, has just implemented a new "data rollover" feature for its plans, which let users keep unused data from month to month. The service, which offers 500MB of monthly WiMAX and LTE cellular data for free following the purchase of one of its custom sleeves for iPhones or iPod touch models, allows users to share data with friends and earn additional free data through referrals. It provides either mobile or home internet service.
Samsung has officially revealed the Galaxy S 4 at its press event at the New York Radio City Music Hall. Bearing a striking resemblance to its predecessor, the Galaxy S III, the S 4 has a five-inch, full HD, AMOLED touchscreen with a 441ppi pixel density. Weighing 130g (4.5 ounces) thanks to its polycarbonate shell, it measures 7.9mm (0.3 inches) thick, and appears to have all of the features shown in recent leaks.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Microsoft has sold about 1.5 million Surface tablets to date, in both the RT and Pro versions, since their respective debuts. The alleged sales numbers fall short of Microsoft estimates, said to be two million of the Surface RT in just the December quarter alone. By comparison, in the holiday quarter Apple sold 22.9 million iPads.
After beta testing for nearly four months, the combined Verizon and Redbox streaming media effort Redbox Instant is available to the general public. For $8 a month, or $9 a month for Blu-ray kiosk rentals, the service offers four rental days a month, in addition to computer and portable device viewing of the rotating selections on the online movie service.
China Mobile has announced plans to spend $6.7 billion in developing its 4G LTE network during 2013, Reuters says. The carrier adds that it expects to have licenses by the end of the year; Reuters indicates that the company is aiming explicitly at supporting the iPhone, which is incompatible with its 3G network. Mobile uses a proprietary 3G standard, TD-SCDMA, which has so far led Apple to favor Mobile's rivals, China Unicom and China Telecom.
According to BlackBerry, the company is planning on offering a solution to secure and divide work and personal data on both iOS-powered devices, as well as tablets and smartphones running Android. The offering could help BlackBerry recover from the last few years of plummeting sales, and supplement the income from its new BlackBerry 10 platform and pair of new smartphones. The product is expected to be available before the end of June, and will be governed by the BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 package.
TV network CBS has launched a new, self-named app for the iPhone and iPad. The software allows streaming of CBS shows within 24 hours of their original broadcast time, with the exception of new episodes of primetime programs, which are only available eight days after broadcast. Once the fall season starts the title will integrate with the CBS Connect app, letting people use an iOS device as a second screen, with things like synced content and integrated social network feeds.
Google is breaking apart its Maps and Commerce division, with the section head being moved to another team. The stepping down of Jeff Huber from his position along with splitting up the department appears to be a continuation of Google's shuffle of management and divisions from yesterday, which saw Andy Rubin step down and be replaced by Sundar Pichai.
The Article 29 working group -- composed data protection authorities from across the European Union -- has issued a new set of recommendations which may have a significant impact on app developers. Under the new guidelines, it's proposed that developers should ask for consent for each kind of data an app wants to access, including not only common items like location, contacts, payment info, and social network logins, but browsing history and other content. Even then though Article 29 argues that this "does not legitimize excessive or disproportionate data processing," and further recommends setting an inactivity window, after which data collection from a person's app account will stop.
Twitter has announced the release of its long-awaited official app for Windows 8 and Windows RT through the company blog. First mentioned in October, the app combines the Home, Connect, Discover, and Me tabs seen in other versions of the app with the new Windows UI. The minimized snap view bears more than a passing resemblance to the Windows Phone version, though the full screen view appears to mix between vertical and horizontal navigational flow, depending on the tab used. The Twitter app is free through the Windows Store.
Adobe is putting an end to its free BrowserLab service effective immediately, the company has announced. The service simplified testing websites across multiple desktop browsers. Adobe says, though, that the market has shifted towards smartphones and tablets, causing BrowserLab use to drop during the past year. The company adds that its engineers have been "focusing on solving this new challenge with new solutions."
Features of a phone said to be the Samsung Galaxy S 4 have been demonstrated in new videos, made by the same source as other recent leaks. The clips, uploaded to YouTube hours before Samsung takes to the stage in its New York-based launch event, seem to show off its floating touch controls and SmartPause, as well as a general look at its web browsing experience.
TSMC is expected to "tape out" an Apple A7 processor with a 20nm process this month, then move into risk production in May or June, claim industry sources for DigiTimes. The sources say that TSMC is expanding its production capacity at Tainan Science Park in Taiwan with a total investment of $16.87 billion, and plans to use some of the extra capacity to build A7s. The people add, however, that the company would only start shipping A7s commercially in the first quarter of 2014.
Apple has added new versions of the iMac, with built-in VESA mount adapters, to its online store. The systems are identical in specifications to their counterparts released last year, except that they can now be mounted to a wall or ceiling in the same style as an HDTV. Apple is charging an extra $40 for the option, which removes the desk stand most iMacs are equipped with.
Panasonic will be making a number of home theater systems available to order later this month. The SC-HTB770, SC-HTB370, SC-HTB70, and SC-HTB65, forming the company's 2013 range of systems, were initially revealed at CES in January alongside its 56-inch Ultra HD OLED TV, but are only now coming up for order through retail stores and through Panasonic itself.
V-Moda has revealed the Vamp Verza for iOS and Android mobile phone users. The Vamp Verza is a mobile combined DAC/headphone amplifier with built-in battery pack to allow mobile users to achieve a much higher quality on the go. Aimed at audiophiles, especially given its $598 asking price, the device allows users to connect their smartphone or tablet over a USB connection to either Apple's 30-pin adapter, Lightning adapter or an Android micro-USB port. As an added bonus, the built-in battery pack can also be used to charge mobile devices.
Motorola has announced a pair of new Android Jelly Bean smartphones reaching the Brazilian market in the near future. The Razr D1 and Razr D3 a value and mid-ranged handset respectively, appear to be taking a number of design aspects from the Droid Razr M, though with smaller 3.5-inch and 4-inch touchscreen displays.
LG has ambushed the high profile Samsung Galaxy S4 launch in Times Square with a cheeky billboard that parodies the Samsung teaser. The LG billboard, which is placed directly above the Samsung billboard, proclaims that the 'LG Optimus G is here 4 you now.' It recalls similar parodies that Samsung has visited upon Apple with its own advertising campaigns, although in this instance, Samsung finds itself on the receiving end.
Verizon has offered only a few choices for Windows Phone devices, recently adding Samsung's Ativ Odyssey as the fourth option. With a $50 subsidized price tag, the handset sits between HTC's Windows Phone 8X and Nokia's Lumia 822. In our full review, we try to determine if the Odyssey represents a viable competitor among its close peers and in the broader smartphone market.
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