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BBM gets Timed Messages and Message Retraction across platforms

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BlackBerry’s Messenger app has received an update today, which brings with it two new features. Timed Messages allows you to set a timer when sending a message. When that expires, the message you sent will disappear from the BBM chat.

With Message Retraction, you can ‘take back’ something you sent – after the fact. The message disappears from the chat for the person you sent it to as soon as you retract it. Read more »

Google Play Movies & TV app for Android gets Material Design and info cards

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Today Google has announced a new update for its Play Movies & TV app for Android. The new version of the app will roll out over the next week, and will bring with it a couple of important new features.

First off, like all of the recently updated apps made by Google, Play Movies & TV will get a do-over inspired by the company’s own Material Design guidelines. Read more »

Baton cloud sync and backup service by Nextbit for Android goes official

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The young and ambitious startup Nextbit launched a forward-thinking cloud sync and backup service for Android called Baton. The new service aims to integrate deeply into the OS and allow users to easily switch devices by seamlessly syncing their apps and data.

In addition to syncing data into the cloud, Baton users will be able to push the current state of any open application to another Android device. Read more »

Google launches Inbox by Gmail, a brand new take on email

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Google has just unveiled a new service. It’s called Inbox, and it uses the data in your Gmail account. But it presents this to you in some pretty interesting new ways.

It’s designed to “focus on what really matters”, the company says. It does this by surfacing important information from emails, and by letting you add reminders to your new inbox. Read more »

Google Play Music gets contextual music stations, Material Design

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Google has announced a big update for its Play Music service. First off, the Android and iOS apps have received a new, Material Design-infused coat of paint. Second, the service now brings you contextual music stations.

These have apparently been “hand crafted” by a team of music experts, including DJs, musicians, music critics, and ethnomusicologists, to give you exactly the songs you need for a particular moment. Read more »

HERE maps beta officially released for all Android devices

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Nokia’s HERE Maps launched on Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones recently to offer “true” offline navigation and an alternative to Google’s preloaded Maps.

But the app was in testing only on Samsung’s smartphones even despite the leaked apk file that allowed us all to sideload the HERE navigation on non-Galaxy smartphones. Now that’s about to change – Nokia is releasing the apk for all Android smartphones so you can try HERE maps for yourself. Read more »

Apple Pay rolls out on Monday

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Apple’s NFC-based new mobile payment initiative will start rolling out on Monday, October 20. The information was made official at the company’s event today, during which it’s expected to also announce the new iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. Interestingly, that’s the exact date that has been rumored at the beginning of the month.

Apple Pay was unveiled during the big iPhone 6 announcement in September. Since then, Apple has managed to bring in 500 more banks to support its service. Read more »

Cortana can now lookup song lyrics for you

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Microsoft has added a new ability to Windows Phone’s virtual assistant skill set. Cortana is now capable of looking for song lyrics for you so you can sing along with your favorite artists.

It’s very easy – just ask “lyrics for song name by artist name“. You’ll get the lyrics momentarily. Read more »

Facebook has finally completed its acquisition of WhatsApp

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This sure took a while, but Facebook is now officially the owner of WhatsApp. The social network agreed to buy the mobile messaging service on February 20, shocking the tech world by offering $19 billion for that privilege.

All the regulatory hurdles have now been cleared, so WhatsApp is finally part of Facebook. Read more »

European Commission allows Facebook to acquire Whatsapp

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Last week we heard Facebook will get the approval of the European Commission for the Whatsapp deal and today this has been officially confirmed. The Commission gave the green light for the $19 billion dollar acquisition of the Whatsapp messaging service after US regulators gave it a thumbs up, too.

The European Commission reasoned that Facebook’s Messenger platform and Whatsapp are not close competitors and that competition is sufficient even after the merger. Read more »

Nokia HERE Maps APK for Android leaks

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Nokia had previously announced its plans to release a version of HERE Maps for Android, but only for Samsung devices for now. Although the app is yet to officially release, somebody managed to get their hands on the APK and unsurprisingly, it works on any Android device running 4.0 and above.

Nokia HERE Maps is a fully featured navigation utility, and has all the features, including turn by turn voice navigation. It also has something unique, where you can download maps for entire cities, which can then be used offline or in areas with no network. Read more »

Facebook will get unconditional approval from EU on WhatsApp purchase, sources say

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Many months ago in February, Facebook made some big news when it announced plans to acquire successful messaging company WhatsApp for a mind-melting $19 billion. But the deal still has to be approved by regulatory agencies across the world, including the EU’s competition authority. That apparently shouldn’t concern Facebook, as the EU is rumored to give it the go-ahead “unconditionally”.

That means the company won’t have to make any concessions and the deal will simply be approved as is, since Facebook reportedly managed to convince the European Commission that it would have no anticompetitive effect. The information allegedly comes from “two people familiar with the matter”. Read more »

Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited subscription reaches the UK

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Kindle Unlimited was unveiled back in July, but only now it’s become available in the UK as well. In the meantime, it looks like Amazon added around 50,000 more books to the Unlimited roster.

If you choose this subscription service, you pay £7.99 per month and get unlimited access to over 650,000 books and “thousands of audiobooks” on any device. Read more »

Tim Cook writes open letter regarding Apple user security

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The fallout of the massive iCloud hacking scandal that leaked numerous private photos of female celebrities is is surely yet to play out.

And although Apple has taken the matter very seriously and is still investigating how their iCloud servers were compromised – if that is what, in fact, happened – Apple CEO Tim Cook has issued an open letter assuring the company’s commitment to user privacy. Read more »

Apple Pay is a new take on mobile payments, hoping to finally make NFC relevant

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Today during its big event, Apple didn’t only introduce new hardware. There was another big thing announced, and that is Apple Pay.

This is the company’s own interpretation of a mobile-based payments system. It works with the NFC capability built into the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, alongside the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. It will even support the Apple Watch when that will be out. Read more »