BURG 12 Smartwatch Makes Standalone Phone Calls, Also Pairs with iPhone

9:56 PM, Nov. 13th, 2014 · · News

Burg 12

A company called BURG has launched what it calls the "Dick Tracy-like" BURG 12 smartwatch. This device can function as a standalone phone, but the company has also designed it to be paired with both iPhones and Android devices. It's being launched at Walmart for US$199.

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My short take is that this device looks surprisingly good. I'm curious about its actual functionality, but I'm definitely intrigued the BURG 12 makes standalone calls, isn't an Android device, but pairs with both iPhone and Android.

Hachette Sort of Won The War Against Amazon

9:33 PM, Nov. 13th, 2014 · · News

Hachette vs. Amazon

The Hachette Book Group won its public battle with Amazon on book prices. Sort of, at least. The two companies announced on Thursday that they had reached an agreement that left pricing control in Hachette's hands, but allows Amazon to treat Hachette titles differently according to how low that pricing is.

FTC Talks to Apple about HealthKit, Seems Serious about Privacy

7:20 PM, Nov. 13th, 2014 · · News

HeakthKit

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been in talks with Apple about privacy when it comes to HealthKit, the company's system level health data platform in iOS. According to Reuters, the FTC was seeking assurances that Apple would not sell that data to third parties or allow developers to do so. There are little or no regulations on how health data in apps can be used, something the FTC appears to be concerned about.

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The takeaway is this: Some of the health apps you're getting on even Apple's App Store are selling your personal health information. Apple's HealthKit is designed to protect your privacy and give you control over who you share your data with. Buy devices and apps that work with HealthKit.

Samsung Innovates Again, Copies Apple’s Continuity

11:45 AM, Nov. 13th, 2014 · · News

Samsung announced a new feature on Wednesday for its Android-toting customers called Flow that shows its innovation skills haven't changed. Flow looks a lot like Apple's Continuity feature in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite because lets users jump from smartphone to tablet to computer, and continue to work on the same documents, view photos, handle email messages, and more.

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Even if Samsung came up with the idea and implementation for Flow without taking any cues from Apple, the company has a reputation for copying the efforts of its competitors. That's exactly how Flow comes across, too.

YouTube Joins the Streaming Music Market with Music Key

9:31 AM, Nov. 13th, 2014 · · News

Google owned YouTube is throwing its hat into the streaming music market with a new service called YouTube Music Key. The subscription-based service, which launches as a beta on November 17, promises ad-free music and videos through the YouTube website and in the company's iOS and Android apps.

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YouTube has brand recognition, and it's music and videos will be ad-free for Music Key subscribers. Considering Spotify, Pandora, iTunes Radio and other streaming music services have already drawn in so many subscribers, YouTube may have a hard time finding a place to fit into the market.

AT&T Stops Fiber Upgrade Over Net Neutrality Fight

11:22 AM, Nov. 12th, 2014 · · News

AT&T's plans for bringing fiber connections to 100 cities is on hold because the company doesn't feel comfortable moving forward while the future of Net Neutrality regulations are up in the air. The FCC is considering its oversight options for the companies providing Internet connections, Verizon is threatening legal action depending on what decision the Commission makes, and the White House is pushing for strict controls.

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On one hand, delaying the fiber rollout makes sense because AT&T doesn't know exactly how it will be able to use the infrastructure once it's in place. On the other hand, this sure feels like ham fisted posturing to show that preserving Net Neutrality is bad for consumers.

Apple Could Turn to Alibaba for Apple Pay in China

8:49 PM, Nov. 11th, 2014 · · News

Apple in China

An Alibaba executive claimed on Tuesday that his company was in discussions with Apple about cooperating on a mobile payment solution for the Chinese market. Alibaba Executive Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai said in an interview that the two companies were talking without claiming they were close to a deal.

Apple Faces Class Action Lawsuit over Lost Text Messages

4:34 PM, Nov. 11th, 2014 · · News

Judge Lucy Koh, the same Judge overseeing Apple and Samsung's ongoing patent infringement legal fight, gave the green light to a lawsuit over text messages that never made it to smartphone owners who switched away from the iPhone. The lawsuit alleges Apple should have told customers text messages wouldn't be delivered if they dumped their iPhone for an Android-based smartphone.

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People are willing to file lawsuits over most anything, including lost text messages. Maybe lawsuits over OS X Yosemite being too flat will be next. That said, if the bug that blocked texts from current iPhone owners to former iPhone owners does cross California's unfair competition laws, then Apple needs to be held accountable, regardless of how ridiculous the case seems.

Obama Calls for Net Neutrality, GOP Attacks Plan as ‘Obamacare for Internet’

5:20 PM, Nov. 10th, 2014 · · News

Net Neutrality?

President Barack Obama issued a call on Monday for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to "implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality." In a multipart plan, President Obama proposed that the FCC reclassify broadband providers as public utilities, and laid out four specific provisions to protect the Internet from deep-pocketed interests. The radical wing of the GOP, including Tea Party darling Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), immediately launched a counter offensive calling the president's proposal "Obamacare for the Internet."