The US and EU have put in effect sanctions against the Crimea area of Ukraine following Russia's annexation of the peninsula, and now various tech companies are complying. Google has already started to block AdSense and AdWords in the region, reports TechCrunch, and it plans to cut off Google Play services starting on February 1st.
Google's actions follow the likes of Apple, PayPal, and Valve (which has opted to turn off Steam in Crimea altogether). When Google cuts off access to Google Play services, this will apply to both paid and free provisions, but the company will continue to provide access to web-based services such as search, Gmail, and Maps. Read More
The US isn't the only market where carrier consolidation is the name of the game. UK carrier O2 is being purchased by Hong Kong businessman Li Ka-shing, who already owns Three Mobile in the UK. The agreed upon price is reportedly a whopping £10.25 billion ($15.4 billion). If all goes as planned, the deal would reduce the number of major UK carriers to three.
There's a v2.0 update to the Spotify app today, and it brings a few new features. It's maybe not as significant as you might expect from a v2.0 revision, but you're still looking at solid improvements. No, Chromecast support is not one of them. Sorry.
Those of you with an Amazon Prime account also have a stockpile of music open to you through the company's half-a-year-old streaming service, and with version 4.3 of the Android app, the retailer is making those tracks easier to access.
Instead of browsing through the company's virtual store shelves and adding albums to your library as though you were buying them, you can just browse through a separate Prime Music section. When you click on a song there, it simply starts playing. Read More
Samsung's forays into Wearable technology for the consumer market haven't been very groundbreaking, and a few never even touched down. Perhaps the secret was to aim higher than heart rate trackers and smartwatches. A small team at Samsung has been working in the company's Creativity Lab (a.k.a. C-Lab) developing a headset capable of observing brainwave patterns for signs of a stroke. Not only could the system help millions of people each year to prevent a crippling or fatal stroke, but the technology may have applications for monitoring the heart and brain for many other conditions. Read More
OnePlus isn't letting the situation in India get it down—the OnePlus One is coming to Indonesia later this month, and that's a rather large market too. Sure, it's not India, but Indonesia is the 4th most populous country in the world with 250 million people. All of them will be able to pre-order the One on January 27th without an invite. Remember when you didn't need invites to buy a phone? Read More
Usually a UI overhaul that's just okay isn't newsworthy, but I want you to understand how fundamentally ugly the OnStar RemoteLink app looked before now. So first, look at the new app below—it's okay, maybe a little plain. Then click through to see the horror of the old version (NSFL).
Music streaming service Rdio is continuing its expansion efforts, and now it's available in 24 new markets spread across the Caribbean, Central America, and the Asia Pacific. This makes it available throughout virtually all of the Western Hemisphere.
Starting today, Rdio is available in the following places:
- Antigua & Barbuda
- The British Virgin Islands
- The Cayman Islands
- Papua New Guinea
- St Kitts & Nevis
Boost Mobile is one of the many ways you can get on the Sprint network without paying Sprint prices. The prepaid brand offers smartphone plans with unlimited talk and text going from $35 (1GB of data) to $55 (10GB). Starting on February 3rd, it will offer any customer that enrolls in Auto Re-Boost 2.5GB for the price of 1.
For comparison, T-Mobile provides 2GB of data for $45 with its Simple Starter Plan. Read More
Amazon's foray into the world of digital wallets started in July of last year. The company released the Amazon Wallet app on the Play Store and its own Appstore. If you go looking for it today, you'll come up empty handed. Amazon has pulled the apps and ended support for Amazon Wallet.