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Siva Cycle Atom bike-powered battery charger eyes-on (video)

Siva Cycle bikepowered battery charger eyeson video

It was just about a week ago that we first told you about Siva Cycle’s Atom, a pedal-powered battery charger that’s currently taking Kickstarter by storm, healthily surpassing its $85,000 goal, with 21 days to spare. Lo and behold, the kinetic peripheral popped up on the Hardware Alley floor at TechCrunch Disrupt, here in NYC. Actually trying the thing out is a bit much to ask in the crowded Manhattan Center, but the company was nice enough to demo the device with a little good old-fashioned hand power.

The system is pretty minimally invasive, from the looks of it. The removable battery pack sits next to the rear wheel axle, and there’s also a USB port just below the seat for charging devices more directly. Get in early, and you’ll be able to pick the system up for $85. Not convinced? Check out the company’s plea in a video just after the break.

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Source: Kickstarter

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Siva Cycle Atom bike-powered battery charger eyes-on (video)

LINE messenger has more than 150 million users, because we all love stickers

LINE messenger has more than 150 million users, we all love stickers

Four months since the Korean-Japanese messaging app broke through the 100 million user mark, LINE has added another 50 million — not bad for an app that only launched in June 2011. In another testament to people’s unabated love for stickers (or giant emoticons), LINE has launched in 11 languages and about 230 countries. New growth has apparently centered around the Middle East and Asia, with Taiwan, Japan and Thailand currently its most popular locales. The company is still looking to compete with incumbents like Whatsapp and Facebook in the US and Europe, however, with a little help from all those LINE-hosted games and apps.

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Via: Yonhap news (Korean)

Source: Line (Japanese)

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LINE messenger has more than 150 million users, because we all love stickers

Isis still quiet about expansion plans: will happen ‘when we’re ready’

Isis trial expansion

Over six months ago, a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon called Isis launched a trial of its nascent mobile payment service in Austin and Salt Lake City. Not only was its debut already delayed, we also haven’t heard more than a peep from the company since. CEO Michael Abbott, who is the keynote speaker at ETA 2013 in New Orleans, has opened the discourse but still isn’t giving many specific details on the future. When we asked him about his company’s expansion plans, Abbott simply told us that “when [we’re] ready, we’ll start putting it out in different places and see where to go from there.” In essence, he views progress in the mobile payments field as a constant evolution, which often involves taking smaller steps to accomplish a greater purpose. You can find the full quote below the break.

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Isis still quiet about expansion plans: will happen ‘when we’re ready’

Virgin Media launches VIP unlimited mobile plans, starting at £15 SIM-only

Virgin Media VIP plan gives UK allunlimited mobile access for 26

Virgin Media doles out many minutes and data to mobile users with its Premiere plan, but it hasn’t had a truly unlimited option for those who don’t want to even think about their calling habits. It’s assuaging those minds today with new VIP tiers that offer unlimited domestic voice, data and text messaging. The exact perks depend on the level of commitment, however. Traditional customers can pay £26 per month (£31 if they’re not already Virgin customers) with promises of unlimited calls to frequently costly 08 numbers. For SIM-only customers, it’s all about the price — while they don’t get the 08 number exception, the £15 they pay per month for otherwise unlimited access is comparatively cheap. The new rates may not always make sense depending on local coverage and a desire for LTE, but we’d at least keep them in mind.

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Source: Virgin Media (1), (2)

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Virgin Media launches VIP unlimited mobile plans, starting at £15 SIM-only

HTC M4 leaked, suggests flagship style with middleweight specs (updated with comparison images)

HTC M4 leaks, brings flagship style with middleweight specs

Remember the M4? We’ve seen glances of a spec sheet, but now we get to see how it’s going to look. Courtesy of @evleaks, we can now tell it’s looking good. After the critically-acclaimed One, the company looks to be sharing its style tips around — at a glance the M4 appears almost identical to the HTC flagship, although the camera flash has been relocated to the center of the device and there’s a few less micro-drilled speaker holes. Running over the leaked specs, you can expect a smaller 4.3-inch screen at 720p resolution and possibly a cheaper build to the unibody beauty that leads HTC’s smartphone family.

There’s likely to be a dual-core processor, LTE-capable radio and 16GB of storage too. There’s better news, with the UltraPixel-packing 4-megapixel camera sensor rumored to make its way into the middleweight phone, although initial leaks pointed to a 13-megapixel sensor. The phone is mooted to appear later this quarter, but we’re still waiting on official word (and that all-important price) before we get too excited. But hey, it worked for Samsung.

Update: We’ve made a couple of comparison images of this rumored M4 with the 4.7-inch One. Check them out after the break.

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Source: Phone Arena

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HTC M4 leaked, suggests flagship style with middleweight specs (updated with comparison images)

It’s official: T-Mobile closes deal to acquire MetroPCS

T-Mobile has been slowly inching closer to closing its acquisition deal with MetroPCS, and the day for inking that contract is finally here. Less than a week after MetroPCS shareholders approved the merger, which would give them a total cash payment of $1.5 billion, the deal is done. In addition to giving Deutsche Telekom a 74 percent stake in the new company, the deal will bring nine million new prepaid customers to T-Mobile. According to the Uncarrier‘s President and CEO, the network would “continue our legacy of marketplace innovation by tearing up the old playbook and rewriting the rules of wireless to benefit consumers.” T-Mobile plans to keep the MetroPCS brand, holding on to its retail outlets too, pitching to different demographics with the two carriers, according to AllThingsD. MetroPCS broke the news to its customers first through Facebook, although Big Magenta followed swiftly with the official press release — you’ll find that right after the break.

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Source: MetroPCS (Facebook), T-Mobile

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It’s official: T-Mobile closes deal to acquire MetroPCS

Bloomberg: Jony Ive said to be considering ‘more dramatic’ changes to email and calendar amid iOS 7 overhaul

It’s hardly been a secret that Apple’s Jony Ive is exploring some more radical changes to iOS since taking the design reins for software in addition to hardware, but Bloomberg is now reporting some new details that paint a better picture of just what’s going on in the lead-up to iOS 7. As previously reported, that includes what’s sure to be iOS’ biggest visual overhaul to date, with a decidedly more flat and minimalist design replacing Apple’s current skeuomorphic tendencies. What’s more, Bloomberg is also reporting that Ive is exploring “more dramatic changes” to the e-mail and calendar apps, and that he’s “methodically” reviewing all the new designs himself to avoid a repeat of the Maps fiasco.

Also as previously rumoured, Bloomberg reports that Apple is pulling people from the Mac team to work on iOS in order to get it done in time, and that Ive has been encouraging collaboration between the software and hardware teams — which, as Bloomberg notes, have previously been operating in separate silos. That all comes as Apple is apparently pushing things closer to the deadline than usual; while Bloomberg reports that iOS 7 is still on track for a release “as soon as September,” internal testing dates are reportedly being set later than they have in the past, and the sweeping changes Ive has embarked on are said to have put Apple “at risk of falling behind.” Of course, Apple does have one upcoming date that’s now set in stone: WWDC on June 10th, when it has already promised to show off new versions of both iOS and OS X.

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Source: Bloomberg

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Bloomberg: Jony Ive said to be considering ‘more dramatic’ changes to email and calendar amid iOS 7 overhaul

AT&T gets official with LG Optimus G Pro, available May 10th for $200 on-contract

We’ve already seen this one leaked and detailed — and reviewed the non-AT&T variant — but the carrier’s now finally gotten official with its latest high-end smartphone: the LG Optimus G Pro. If this is the first you’re seeing of it, though, you’re looking at a phone with a 5.5-inch, 1920 x 1080 IPS display (which translates to 400ppi), along with a 13-megapixel camera (2.1 megapixel front-facing), LTE connectivity, a 3,140 mAh battery, 32MB of storage and Android 4.1.2 with some of LG’s customizations. Look for this one to be available starting May 10th for $199.99 on the usual two-year contract.

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AT&T gets official with LG Optimus G Pro, available May 10th for $200 on-contract

UberTAXI returns to NYC in a limited capacity

image

Just a few days after receiving the nod from New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), UberTAXI has officially returned to the Big Apple — with some limitations. For starters, automatic fare billing is not yet available, so passengers will have to pay drivers directly via cash or credit card. Uber warns that ride availability will be limited as the company is working on adding more cabbies to its system. Also, while New Yorkers can use a mobile app to call for a ride, drivers cannot be requested by SMS. Finally, the TLC’s e-hail pilot program prohibits UberTAXIs from making trips to both JFK and LaGuardia airports along with accepting fares going outside of New York’s five boroughs. Restrictive? Yes, but at least it’s a start.

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Via: The Next Web

Source: Uber

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UberTAXI returns to NYC in a limited capacity

HTC One wants to tell its design story too (video)

HTC wants to tell its design story, too

Samsung isn’t the only one with tales to weave about its latest smartphone. HTC’s released a video detailing the manufacturing process behind its metallic beauty, the One. It’s a quick tale under two minutes long and was actually part of HTC’s big reveal in London and New York a few months back, although it’s just been given a re-edit and uploaded. The company keeps the focus on hardware construction and it’s taken diamond cutters, “zero-gap construction”, electro-chemical etching and, well, plenty more engineering to get the job done. Industrial manufacturing and chamfered edge fans should make the leap beyond the break for the full video.

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Via: Gizmodo

Source: HTC America (YouTube)

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HTC One wants to tell its design story too (video)

Qualcomm aims to solve the coming mobile data crunch with small cell base stations

Qualcomm aims to solve the mobile data problem with small cell base stations

Qualcomm’s been doing very well lately, and most of those chips it builds are for mobile devices that demand a lot of data to serve their owners’ needs — and as more and more folks jump on the smartphone bandwagon, the demand for data will continue to grow exponentially. Today at Qualcomm’s What’s Next in Mobile event in Santa Clara, California, the company told us more about its plan to help build a network that’ll be able to serve up the data all its SoC’s need. The goal is to give us 1000 times the capacity of what we currently have. One of the key parts, as Qualcomm sees it, is small cell base stations in homes, offices and retail spaces working in tandem with the large cell towers that currently adorn so many roofs and mountain tops — the same thing ex-FCC head honcho Julian Genachowski talked about last year.

You see, macrocells (read: towers) can blanket wide areas in signal, but they struggle to penetrate the innards of buildings, which is where small cells come in handy. For those who aren’t familiar, small cell base stations like femtocells and picocells have been around for years, helping to boost cell signal in small areas by hooking into a local wired network. Until now, these small cells have served as a small-scale supplement to macro networks, but Qualcomm CTO Matt Grob sees them comprising a much bigger chunk of the network of the future. According to him, there are a few issues with using them in an expanded role, however.

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Qualcomm aims to solve the coming mobile data crunch with small cell base stations

Microsoft’s Switch to Windows Phone app for Android attempts to prove you’re not missing out

STUB Microsoft's Switch to Windows Phone app for Android attempts to prove your not missing out

Ever since its launch, Windows Phone has faced criticism for lacking a broad app selection compared with its main mobile OS competitors. Microsoft is out to convince users otherwise, and in a rather cheeky move, has launched the Switch to Windows Phone app for Android. Available now on the Google Play store, the app takes note of all the software currently on your Android handset and sends those details to SkyDrive. Add that SkyDrive account on a WP8 device, and you’ll be offered official WP8 apps which correspond to the ones found on your Android phone, or apps that match up best if official versions aren’t available. Microsoft has also taken this opportunity to launch a new ad campaign (embedded after the break) pumping itself up as a sensible alternative to the Android / iOS battles, timed perfectly to arrive with this app. Assuming you have the requisite devices handy, hit the source links to install the software and let us know how good it is at finding a match.

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Via: AVForums, WinBeta

Source: Google Play, Windows Phone Store

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Microsoft’s Switch to Windows Phone app for Android attempts to prove you’re not missing out

Sony Xperia Z for T-Mobile approved by the FCC with compatible LTE

Sony Xperia Z for TMobile approved by the FCC

The FCC’s approval process can be incredibly secretive, since most companies prefer not to leak out any information that could give away the identity of their star products. Sony, on the other hand, is typically the most liberal when it comes to letting us in on the scoop, and its latest device is no exception. In this case, the T-Mobile version of the Xperia Z was spotted with a full spread of external and internal photos along with a detailed user manual (which also gives away the model, carrier association and features such as WiFi calling). If you’re still in denial for any odd reason, the docs confirm the inclusion of AWS LTE (band 4) and pentaband HSPA+. T-Mobile still hasn’t confirmed that Sony’s flagship is coming to its smartphone lineup, but we likely won’t have to wait very long before we get an official announcement from the Uncarrier. Head below to check out the docs for yourself; or, for the Cliff Notes version, we have a small gallery of images and screenshots below to get the point across.

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Source: FCC

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Sony Xperia Z for T-Mobile approved by the FCC with compatible LTE

HTC shutting down Watch movies in six countries by May 31st

HTC shutting down Watch in six countries by May 31st

While there are signs HTC’s fortunes might turn a corner through the launch of the One, few would doubt that its finances could use some streamlining. The company has just outlined one of the ways it will be pinching pennies: it’s closing its Watch movie stores in Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden by May 31st, with some Italians reporting a shutdown on the 15th. As the company explains to us in a statement (after the break), it’s concentrating on supporting Watch in those regions with the “highest engagement” while dropping those with “less application traffic” — in short, markets with poor performance get the boot. HTC stresses that Watch isn’t going away, however, and it’s delivering a steady stream of content. We’re glad to hear that the company is sharpening its focus rather than cutting the cord. Still, that won’t be much consolation to movie-loving Europeans and Scandinavians.

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Source: Telefonino.net (translated)

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HTC shutting down Watch movies in six countries by May 31st

Microsoft’s next revision of Facebook for Windows Phone 8 hits beta

Microsoft's next revision of Facebook for Windows Phone 8 hits beta

Last year’s revision to Facebook for Windows Phone may have gotten fans closer to the Facebook grail, but it was still lagging behind its iOS and Android siblings. Microsoft is finally catching up though, with the latest beta of the app. This build supports the new Facebook Timeline, higher-quality photos and post sharing. It’s currently listed as being compatible with Windows Phone 8 — which might leave some 7.5 and 7.8 users feeling a bit salty. You’ll have to download it straight from the link below if you’re up for giving it a whirl, since it can’t be directly from your device.

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Source: Microsoft

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Microsoft’s next revision of Facebook for Windows Phone 8 hits beta

President Obama to nominate Tom Wheeler as FCC Chairman tomorrow

As Julius Genachowski winds down his five-year term as Chairman of the FCC, rumors of his successor are in full swing. Now, Engadget has confirmed with a White House official that President Obama will nominate industry veteran, Tom Wheeler, for the position, in an announcement that will come tomorrow. According to Wheeler’s profile on his personal blog, he currently identifies himself as a venture capitalist and sits on the boards of Roundbox, UpdateLogic, Twisted Pair Solutions, EarthLink and TNS. Wheeler’s history in the cable and wireless industry spans decades. He served as president of the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) from 1979 to 1984, and later took the helm of the CTIA as its president and CEO from 1992 until 2003. According to Politico, Wheeler shares close ties with the Obama administration, and is said to have raised hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars for the President’s two bids at the White House. Pending confirmation, Mignon Clyburn, will serve as interim chairman until a new leader is appointed.

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Via: WSJ, Politico

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President Obama to nominate Tom Wheeler as FCC Chairman tomorrow

Path app spamming users’ contacts with texts, robocalls

The social messaging app Path recently announced that it’s gaining a million users each week, but it may be using some spam-like methods to achieve that growth. Several users — and several Engadget staffers — have reported that the app has been sending smartphone contacts unwanted text messages, a problem that was first pinpointed several months ago. Contacts on the receiving end have seen messages stating that a friend wants to share photos with them, with a prompt to sign up for Path’s service. According to (former) user Stephen Kenwright, Path has also triggered robocalls to contact lists — even after uninstalling the app. Last year, the company came under fire for collecting contact info sans users’ consent– leading to an $800,000 settlement with the FTC — and we imagine this new privacy snafu won’t be without consequences, either.

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Via: The Verge

Source: Branded3

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Path app spamming users’ contacts with texts, robocalls

Mophie Juice Pack for the HTC One now available

DNP Mophie Juice Pack for the HTC One claims to

If you picked up an HTC One and found that its battery isn’t quite cutting it, Mophie may have a solution for your dilemma. The accessory maker is now offering its popular extended battery line for HTC’s crown jewel. In addition to its slim protective casing, the freshly minted Juice Pack keeps the party going with an embedded 2,500mAh backup cell. Mophie claims that its added pick me up can increase the One’s battery life by two-fold, placing its performance on a par with the marathon-ready RAZR MAXX HD. Available in two colors to match whichever hue you’re sporting, the $100 Juice Pack is a surprisingly attractive backup plan for HTC’s aluminum marvel.

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Source: Mophie

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Mophie Juice Pack for the HTC One now available

Yahoo’s Android app catches up with iOS version, gets Summly news boost

Yahoo's Android app gets Summly news search boost, catches up with iOS

Yahoo‘s new app has arrived on Android, packing a similar features selection to the iOS iteration that launched last week. Alongside better search language algorithms, there’s the same Summly magic attempting to whittle longer news articles down to 400 characters or less. The news app will make better use of your smartphone screen too, with more attention being paid to both images and video content. Feast your eyes on Yahoo’s refresh by grabbing the app at the Play store — the link’s just below.

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Via: The Verge

Source: Google Play

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Yahoo’s Android app catches up with iOS version, gets Summly news boost