Apple faces battery pledge complaints

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Apple has been accused of finding unnecessary faults with iPhones and thereby profiting from a battery replacement initiative. When the US firm announced it had been slowing down iPhones in order to “preserve battery life” in December last year, it apologised for not telling people sooner. Facing a consumer backlash, it promised owners of the iPhone 6 and more modern models a discounted or free battery replacement. It said: “We are able to do the work we love only because of your faith and support – and we will never…

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Mobile Commerce enabler DOCOMO Partners with Safaricom to Launch first App Store Integration with M-PESA.

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Global mobile commerce enabler, DOCOMO Digital has partnered with Safaricom to give customers the option to pay for content on the Google Play Store using M-PESA. The integration, which is powered by DOCOMO Digital’s mobile commerce enabling platform using Google Play’s payment API, allows M-PESA customers to use the mobile money service to pay for goods and services from the app store. The service is available to more than 27 million M-PESA customers in Kenya with an Android smartphone or tablet. From today, customers matching this criteria can purchase content…

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Mobile phone and broadband services need ‘radical improvement’

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The head of the UK National Infrastructure Commission has called for urgent action to tackle poor mobile phone coverage. Lord Adonis has written to the telecoms regulator Ofcom urging it to take action to deal with the issue. It follows a report that one million homes have poor broadband and large parts of the UK have no 4G coverage. On Friday Ofcom said calls and text messages could not be sent on all four mobile phone networks in 30% of the entire UK landmass. It is not the first time…

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Researchers can determine what smartphone a photo was taken on by analyzing it

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Researchers at the University at Buffalo have discovered a way to identify smartphones by analyzing just a single photo taken by the device. The researchers centered on a flaw in digital imaging called photo-response non-uniformity (PRNU) to do so. PRNU happens when the imperfections in the manufacturing process of each camera’s sensors create tiny variations. Those variations can cause the millions of pixels in the camera’s sensor to project colors that are slightly brighter or darker than normal, which creates a systemic distortion in the photo called pattern noise. This…

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China’s phone market is now dominated by five companies, none of which is Samsung

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China is the most unique smartphone market in the world: a phone maker can be a global sales leader without ever treading beyond Chinese borders, and small upstart challengers can suddenly explode in popularity from out of nowhere. The latter aspect is becoming harder now, however, as the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel shows that China’s top five phone vendors are becoming a more solid and dominant group. Kantar reports that, for the calendar quarter ending in October, the top five of Huawei, Xiaomi, Apple, Vivo, and Oppo accounted for…

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Parking Insider is a mobile wallet dedicated to helping you avoid parking tickets

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Parking Insider is a smart app with a mobile wallet expressly dedicated to enabling its users to quickly and seamlessly pay for parking spots by the minute. The app also invites users to earn free minutes of parking by snapping pictures of free parking spaces, photos that it will use to create a heat map that enables others users to find open parking spots. It’s the second go at this idea by two of Parking Insider’s three creators. Shruti Kuber  and Advait Kumar are both getting their master’s degrees in…

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Schillinger’s substitute phone helps overcome smartphone addiction

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We’ve all been there: fiddling with your smartphone because it’s there, or reaching for it when you hear a text message notification. Austrian designer Klemens Schillinger created the Substitute Phone as a way to help smartphone addicts cope in its absence. Schillinger says that more and more, phones are becoming an addicting object in our lives. Users constantly play with them, even if they’re not looking for a message or expecting a call, and he was inspired to design “a tool that would help stop this ‘checking’ behaviour.” Schillinger designed…

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People Playing Pokemon Go caused Millions in damages in 148 days in an Indiana County

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For a brief, shining period last summer, Pokémon Go reigned supreme. It brought obsession, joy, and, according to a new paper, injuries and death. This working paper, appropriately and evocatively titled “Death by Pokemon Go,” shows the darker side of the massively popular augmented reality game. Purdue University economists Mara Faccio and John McConnell combed through accident reports from Tippecanoe County, Indiana, in the first 148 days after the game was released in July 2016. In that county alone, the total value from injuries, damage, and the two lives lost…

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Reinvention of the alarm clock in the age of smartphones

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The alarm clock has existed in a weird place since the advent of the smartphone — after all, why have a separate device on your nightstand for telling the time or waking you up in the morning when your phone already does that? That hasn’t stopped companies from trying to reinvent the alarm clock for the connected era, and Circa, a new Kickstarter project from Circa Labs, seems like one of the nicer attempts at the idea. Unlike some of the other smart alarm clocks out there, Circa doesn’t include…

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NHS offers Smartphone GP appointments

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A 24-hour service has been launched for NHS patients, offering GP consultations via videolink on smartphones. The pilot scheme will initially cover 3.5 million patients in greater London. Patients will be able to check their symptoms through the mobile app and then have video consultations within two hours of booking. The Royal College of GPs has warned the service may not help patients with complex needs. The new free service has been launched by a group of London GPs and the online healthcare provider Babylon. Patients joining will leave their…

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