Amazon introduces Prime Music – more value for your $99

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 13th, 2014, 08:49
Category: Amazon, Announcement, iOS, Mac, music, Opinion, Review, Services

AmazonPrime_music-title

Amazon just announced the latest service in its Prime family, Prime Music, which together with Prime Instant Video and Prime Shipping will cost $99 a year. Earlier this year, Amazon increased the the price of a Prime subscription from $79 to $99, but at the time there was no indication that there would be any new features to offset the higher price-tag (unless you count the promise of a sky full of drones).

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PayPal is eager to integrate Touch ID

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 6th, 2014, 08:07
Category: Apple, Finance, Hardware, iOS, iPhone, retail, security, Services, Software

touch-id_PaypalLittle was said about Touch ID in the WWDC keynote except that the API would be opened to third-party developers for use in iOS 8. Craig Federighi did show a nice pie chart claiming that since the introduction of Touch ID on the iPhone 5s, 83% of users now use passcodes, up from the 49% that used their iPhone’s security previously. Just days after this announcement, PayPal is reportedly dipping their toes into the Touch ID API with hopes of incorporating fingerprint recognition into their iOS app’s authentication system. This isn’t really surprising as it has already done this on Android with the Samsung Galaxy S5. Hopefully the process will be more hacker-proof on iOS.

PayPal may just be the first of several companies including other mobile payment services, banks, and even large retail chains, to take advantage of access to Apple’s fingerprint scanner. Getting users familiar with using Touch ID for purchases may be just the first step in Apple’s own long rumored plans to get into the mobile payments game, using it in tandem with their Passbook software. Apple is expected to start building Touch ID sensors into all of its mobile hardware soon. Here’s hoping the technology becomes more reliable than many users’ past experiences or people may get frustrated with the process and just not use it.

 

 

Does Clinkle have a shot at competing in the mobile payments game?

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 6th, 2014, 08:37
Category: Business, Finance, Mobile, retail, Services

clinkle_iconSo, you may be asking, “What is Clinkle?”. It would be a good question too since there hasn’t been a lot said about it given Clinkle’s “cloak of secrecy” about its development. In fact, during its beta period (still ongoing), employees were allowed to offer the service to friends and family with the specification that none of them could be journalists. Clinkle purports to be the next big thing in mobile payments, but frankly there is not much known about it other than some of the drama surrounding it. More on that in a moment.

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And the Beats go on, but now at Apple

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 29th, 2014, 08:04
Category: Announcement, Apple, Hardware, iTunes Radio, Retail Store, Services

Pardon the Sonny & Cher pun, but it had to be done. Yesterday, Apple confirmed that it has, amidst much rumor, hints, and speculation, acquired both Beats Electronics and Beats Music. The cost of getting the maker of the popular headphones, speakers, and audio software, as well as the streaming subscription music service, turns out to be about $3 billion total. That amount consists of a purchase price of approximately $2.6 billion and approximately $400 million that will vest over time according to the Apple press release. The deal is expected to close in fiscal Q4, subject to regulatory approval.

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A good view of the Amazon smartphone

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 2nd, 2014, 08:13
Category: Amazon, Features, Hardware, Mobile, News, photos

amazon-logo-150x60What’s the one thing missing from today’s tech lifestyle? That’s right, another smartphone! At least that is what Amazon is betting on when it launches its own phone later this year. There have been a few photos of phone’s hardware in the last month, but it appeared that there was some type of case obscuring details of the device’s appearance. The folks over at BGR have managed to snag a nice, clear image of Amazon’s yet unnamed smartphone.

 

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Students hack Siri to do more using Googolplex

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 18th, 2014, 08:33
Category: Apple, Google, Hacks, iOS, iPhone, Services, Siri

Screenshot 2014-04-18 02.38.02

Do you ever feel like Siri is just not living up to its potential? Do you wish there was more that Siri could do? Well, you aren’t alone. Some students at the University of Pennsylvania felt the same way and decided to do something about it, and the result was Googolplex. The four students, Alex Sands, Ajay Patel, Ben Hsu and Gagan Gupta, entered their creation into a hackathon and won third place. So, how does this work? Keep reading and we’ll tell you.

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Death knell is coming for Google Voice

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 25th, 2014, 08:42
Category: Android, Apps, Google, iOS, iPhone, News, Services, Software, Telephony

GoogleHangVoiceAfter five years, it looks like Google Voice is going away…at least as an independent service and app. In 2007 Google acquired GrandCentral (started in 2005) and eventually rebranded it and launched it as Google Voice in 2009. Very little was done for the switchover, from a user standpoint, other than to incorporate the service into Google’s infrastructure. I had a GrandCentral account and it was nearly identical to how Google Voice works and looks today. According to 9to5Google, sometime in the coming months, Google plans to depreciate and eventually phase out the service with its features to be rolled into the Google Hangouts app.

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Uber introduces Surge Drop to iPhone users

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Date: Tuesday, March 4th, 2014, 08:53
Category: Announcement, Apps, Features, iOS, iPhone, Mobile, Services, Software

Uber appUber is a great service and can be vital in a big city, even if the public transportation is good. I frequently use it to shave time off my travel between clients, and occasionally when I’ve been out having a good time all night and want a quick trip home so I can get to bed and try to function the next morning. Naturally, these kinds of services get really busy on holidays and during special events, and Uber takes advantage of the high demand with “surge” pricing. That means that during those busy times, Uber will raise the rate of a ride and later drop them back down again. This can end up being a real hit to the wallet, as I found out one New Years, if you aren’t aware that the surge pricing is in effect, or if you take a car because you have no idea when the surge pricing ends. With the latest update, Uber has taken care off that with a new feature they announced on their blog called “Surge Drop“.

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If you thought Google+ was a joke, maybe the joke was on us

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Date: Monday, February 24th, 2014, 08:25
Category: Google, privacy, security, Services, Social

google_plus_04Are you an avid Google+ user? Yeah, me neither, but there are still a few people who seem to actively use it, if for no other reason than to advertise their blog posts. I think for me personally, it was just one social network too many, too late. I was already on Twitter, Facebook, Path, and occasionally Instagram and Tumblr. There was no room for Google+ and I think it dropped off most people’s radar for similar reasons. There was also that nasty business shortly after the launch of Google Buzz (now buried under a rock somewhere) where ALL your contact data on Google was automatically shared with everybody. That probably didn’t exactly encourage people to use a new, similar service.

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WhatsApp finally gets its buyout netting a cool $19 billion

Posted by:
Date: Friday, February 21st, 2014, 14:26
Category: Announcement, Apps, Business, Mobile, Services, Social, Software

facebook-whatsappLast Spring, rumors were in the air that Google might be buying up the messaging app WhatsApp, the iMessage-like online texting service, but the sale never happened. Honestly, I had forgotten that the Google acquisition didn’t happen, so I was really surprised when Facebook announced it was snapping it up. Yes, that number is correct, $19 billion. Who knew they had that much lying around? Ok, it wasn’t a straight up $19 bil, it was $4 billion in cash, $12 billion in shares, and $3 billion in restricted stock for the founders and employees that’ll divest over the next 4 years. Pretty good take overall.

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