PayPal Can Now Be Used for Purchases in Google Play Store

Late last week, Google added new payment options to the Google Play Store, including the ability to use PayPal for the purchase of apps, music and movies. Paypal can now be used as a payment method for Google’s virtual storefront in 12 countries including the U.S. While this is the first time Google has offered the PayPal option (Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store has featured the option since its inception), the payment method can only be used for digital content, which excludes devices or accessories. Continue reading PayPal Can Now Be Used for Purchases in Google Play Store

Screenvision, SoundHound Connect Mobile Users to Cinema Ads

Cinema ad network Screenvision announced this week that it is launching a new mobile engagement platform created in partnership with audio recognition leader SoundHound. Levi’s and Warner Bros. Records will be among the first brands to participate as advertisers. The partnership will help marketers target moviegoers with mobile ads tied to Screenvision’s pre-show programming on cinema screens. SoundHound’s audio recognition tech will be used for mobile devices to unlock related content from the Web. Continue reading Screenvision, SoundHound Connect Mobile Users to Cinema Ads

Should Hollywood Be Worried About Popcorn Time for Android?

Popcorn Time and its pirating tools have gone mobile with a new Android app. Time4Popcorn’s Popcorn Time app is available on the developer’s website. According to TechCrunch, it is similar to the original desktop program in design, provides the same access to pirated movies and TV shows, and streams torrents. The app comes from the Time4Popcorn development group, which promises a Windows XP version soon. A number of developers have been launching spin-offs of the original and now-defunct Popcorn Time. Continue reading Should Hollywood Be Worried About Popcorn Time for Android?

GTA V is Fastest in Game History to Reach $1 Billion in Sales

Take-Two Interactive Software announced that it has sold more than 33 million copies of “Grand Theft Auto V” since the game’s launch in September, generating an estimated $1.98 billion in retail sales. The New York-based company claims “GTA V” was the best-selling console game last year in North America, Latin America and Europe — and the fastest title in video game history to reach $1 billion in sales. For additional perspective, it’s worth noting that Take-Two generated $2.4 billion in total revenue for its fiscal year. Continue reading GTA V is Fastest in Game History to Reach $1 Billion in Sales

New Software Lets Chat Apps Connect Phones Without Internet

The recently released FireChat mobile app stands out from competitors as the only messaging app that can be used without cell phone reception. FireChat makes use of Apple’s multipeer connectivity introduced in iOS 7, which enables phones to connect with each other directly via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. FireChat users within 100 feet of one another can exchange messages without sending data through a cellular provider. A future of similar apps not reliant upon the Internet could open new possibilities and address privacy concerns. Continue reading New Software Lets Chat Apps Connect Phones Without Internet

Pandora Points to Royalty Costs for Jump in Subscription Rate

Pandora announced that it plans to increase the monthly subscription rate to its premium, ad-free Pandora One service by 25 percent for new subscribers starting in May (an increase from $3.99-a-month to $4.99-a-month). “The costs of delivering this service have grown considerably,” explains the Pandora Blog. “For example, the royalty rates Pandora pays to performers via SoundExchange for subscription listening have increased 53 percent in the last five years and will increase another 9 percent in 2015.” Continue reading Pandora Points to Royalty Costs for Jump in Subscription Rate

Threat Report Indicates Mobile Malware Increase for Android

Security firm F-Secure released a 40-page Threat Report this week for the second half of 2013, which shows that Android receives the most malware attacks. Mobile malware on the Android platform increased 18 percent from 2012 to 2013, from 79 percent to 97 percent. Three fourths of the malware detections came from Saudi Arabia (42 percent) and India (33 percent). The United States and Finland are next on the list at 5 percent each, followed by Germany, Great Britain and Hong Kong. Continue reading Threat Report Indicates Mobile Malware Increase for Android

Microsoft Working on Free Version of Windows 8.1 with Bing

Microsoft is said to be experimenting with a free version of its Windows 8.1 operating system in hopes of increasing the number of users. Sources familiar with the plans say “Windows 8.1 with Bing” will bundle key Microsoft apps and services. The company aims to introduce Windows 8.1 with Bing as a free or low-cost upgrade for Windows 7 users. The new Bing-powered software may also be offered to computer manufacturers as part of recent license cuts for sub-$250 devices.

Continue reading Microsoft Working on Free Version of Windows 8.1 with Bing

Cortana: Microsoft’s New Siri-Like Personal Digital Assistant

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1 update will include its new personal digital assistant “Cortana,” named after the AI character in the “Halo” game series. Designed to rival Apple’s Siri and Google Now, Cortana’s circular animated icon will replace the built-in Bing search functionality on Windows Phone, and will animate while speaking or thinking, creating a personality similar to the Siri approach. Cortana will save data in a Notebook system that will enable it to track data and generate notifications much like Google Now. Continue reading Cortana: Microsoft’s New Siri-Like Personal Digital Assistant

WhatsApp Announces New Voice Service After Facebook Deal

During a keynote at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum announced that the mobile messaging service would start to offer voice calls. The move could help justify the massive $19 billion price tag of the recent Facebook deal. While the marketplace for Internet phone services is already crowded, WhatsApp could become competitive since it is now backed by social giant Facebook. The voice service is planned to launch in April. Continue reading WhatsApp Announces New Voice Service After Facebook Deal

Phablets Poised to Become Multibillion Dollar Market by 2018

Phablets — smartphones with screens larger than 5.5 inches — could grow to become a multibillion dollar market in the coming years. Initially ridiculed by some analysts, the ‘phone-tablets’ are experiencing unexpected success with consumers in global regions such as East Asia. Juniper Research forecasts phablet shipments will increase by 100 million units over the next four years (20 million shipped last year). By 2018, Juniper expects manufacturers to ship 120 million units per year. Continue reading Phablets Poised to Become Multibillion Dollar Market by 2018

Engadget Announces the Best of CES 2014 Awards Winners

As official partner to the Consumer Electronics Association, senior editors from Engadget selected finalists for this year’s Best of CES awards. At the end of the week, they had selected winners across 13 categories, in addition to a ‘Best of the Best’ winner — the Oculus Rift ‘Crystal Cove’ prototype. Engadget also announced that the People’s Choice Award went to Razer for its first wearable device, the Nabu, which registered nearly 50 percent of the more than 54,000 reader votes. Continue reading Engadget Announces the Best of CES 2014 Awards Winners

Intel Brings Immersive Tech to Wearables, Tablets and More

Intel is embracing the Internet of Things, making a big push into the smart products space, including wearables, tablets and cameras, showcasing at CES a host of new devices that will be branded Intel RealSense, many of which will leverage its new RealSense 3D camera tech. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich wowed the crowd when he sent a giant whale swimming over the head of the audience at his keynote address at the Venetian Hotel Monday night, a glasses-free 3D effect that looked amazingly lifelike. Continue reading Intel Brings Immersive Tech to Wearables, Tablets and More

Tobii Sets Sights on Gamers and Consumers with EyeX Tech

Their last appearance at CES sported a “gaze-controlled” version of the arcade game “Asteroids.” This time around Tobii is dreaming bigger and announced a new partnership with SteelSeries to prove it. The eye-tracking experts are working with the gaming peripheral manufacturer to deliver a unique controller capable of navigating the virtual world in a more natural way. As these devices won’t be available until the middle of this year, however, Tobii is whetting appetites with its new Windows-ready EyeX controllers. Continue reading Tobii Sets Sights on Gamers and Consumers with EyeX Tech

PC Plus Running Windows and Android To Be Revealed at CES

New Windows personal computers will be introduced at CES next week. One called “PC Plus” will run both Windows 8.1 and Android mobile apps according to Creative Strategies’ Tim Bajarin, who says the initiative would be backed by Intel. PC Plus will be revealed by multiple original equipment manufacturers in a move many say should “scare” Microsoft. The PC market has seen a decline in the past two years, inspiring risks like this by OEMs. Continue reading PC Plus Running Windows and Android To Be Revealed at CES

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