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U.S. Cellular drops its unlimited data prepaid plan to $55/month

U.S. Cellular has never been one of the country's major carriers, but for many areas (especially rural regions), it's one of the top choices. The company's previous $70/month unlimited plan was in line with unlimited plans from the big four carriers, but now U.S. Cellular is undercutting the competition.

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Newly published UFS 3.0 spec brings faster storage speeds to smartphones

The standards organization JEDEC has released version 3.0 of the Universal Flash Storage (UFS) specification. The new specification more than doubles the bandwidth from the previous version, providing up to two lanes at 1450 MB/s, for a maximum of 2.9 GB/s, compared to a maximum of 1.2 GB/s. The standard also includes temperature reporting mechanisms on the storage controller intended specifically for the automotive market, where electronics are subject to more adverse conditions.

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Google and five other companies join Universal Stylus Initiative, bringing total number of partners to over 30

There are so many styluses available on the market for different devices, yet those with active features are rarely compatible with devices from other companies. That's why the Universal Stylus Initiative, or USI for short, was created: to "develop and promote an industry specification for a cross-system active stylus." Google, 3M, MyScript, and three other companies have just joined the USI, bringing the total number of partners to over 30.

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Nintendo announces Mario Kart Tour coming to smartphones in fiscal year 2018

Nintendo has announced (as part of an investor call) plans for the release of Mario Kart Tour, the first Mario Kart game on smartphones, by the end of the next fiscal year. As is standard for Japanese companies, the fiscal year runs from April 1st to March 31st of the following year, meaning that Mario Kart Tour will grace the Play Store and Apple App Store by March 31st, 2019. Other than the logo, no information about the game was disclosed.

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Google's Calculator app hits 100 million downloads on the Play Store

Virtually every device with a mobile OS comes preloaded with a calculator app, and Google's products are no different. The aptly-named 'Calculator,' which comes on Google's phones and tablets but is available for download to any device, has just hit 100 million downloads on the Play Store.

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T-Mobile customers are now seeing voicemail transcripts in Google Phone app

The Google Phone app already has a dedicated visual voicemail tab that allows users to listen to and delete voicemails quickly. It's a huge improvement over the clunky voicemail dialing we used to have to endure. However, some T-Mobile users, myself included, are now seeing transcriptions by Google there as well, making the process even easier. This capability was added to the Phone app back in November.

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IFTTT now plays nice with TiVo and Wiser heating systems

A few weeks back we reported that TiVo support for automation service IFTTT was inbound, and enthusiasts would be able to integrate a whole new set of applets into their workflow. Well, that day has arrived, and the new applets even include limited Alexa and Google Home integration. Wiser heating systems have also received IFTTT integration. 

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Google Play services 11.9.75, which fixes Cast device Wi-Fi issues, has hit stable

Last month it was revealed that Google Cast-supported devices were causing networking issues for many. After the story garnered widespread attention, Google quickly pushed out a fix in the form of the Play services 11.9.74 beta. Affected parties were able to manually install this version or jump into the testing program to get it, and it was supposed to fix the issue. But, that was a beta release that not everyone received (since betas are opt-in). The beta seems to have gone well, though, as Google has now pushed these fixes to everyone else via the latest stable release, v11.9.75. 

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InBrief
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Google Calendar's desktop site can now show week numbers

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Nokia's hilarious new commercial will teach you the art of 'Phone Shui'

These days, many advertisements try to be truly different to stand out from the crowd and get people talking. Nokia seems to be attempting this approach with its new ad, which features a guru teaching an apartment renter about the arts of minimalism and 'Phone Shui.' In other words, Nokia is pushing its pure Android angle.

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