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Apple CEO visits China, likely to hash out China Mobile iPhone deal

BGR

With Apple’s market share in China under pressure, CEO Tim Cook seems to be taking a renewed focus on hammering out a deal with China Mobile to carry the iPhone. Chinese publication Tech.ifeng.com reports that Cook is in China this week and will likely meet with executives from China Mobile “in the coming days” to talk about bringing the iPhone to the world’s largest mobile carrier. Getting a deal with China Mobile done would more than double the potential number of iPhone users in China since the carrier’s 730 million subscribers are more than twice the combined subscribers held by rival carriers China Telecom and China Unicom.

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Nokia Lumia 1020 review

BGR

Reviewing Nokia phones hasn’t been easy over the past two years. It’s not that the company’s phones were bad or overly complex in some way, it’s just that we have been hoping for so much more than Nokia has been able to deliver. The Nokia Lumia 800 was a great start. The Lumia 900 was a solid follow-up and the Lumia 920 and Lumia 928 were better still. But the real problem with Nokia’s Lumia smartphone lineup has always been that while Nokia and Windows Phone in general offer plenty of nice features, they don’t really offer any compelling differentiation compared to Android and iOS, which rule the global smartphone market with an iron fist. With the Nokia Lumia 1020, that finally changes — but will it be enough?

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Video: Samsung smacks iPhone for skimping on features in latest ad

BGR

Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone might be a jack of all trades, master of just one, but we have to give Samsung credit for owning it. In its latest Galaxy S4 ad, Samsung highlights a number of its custom Android features that some call bells and whistles but other enjoy quite a bit. While using his Galaxy S4 on an airplane, a man draws attention thanks to features like Easy Mode, Smart Switch, the Galaxy S4’s big bright 5-inch display and its ability to pause video when the watcher looks away from the screen. And of course Samsung can’t resist the urge to jab Apple’s iPhone, so the annoying iPhone owner who loved his Apple smartphone at the beginning of the ad ends up coveting all of the great features in Samsung’s flagship phone by the end. The full video is embedded below.

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BlackBerry’s U.S. market share plummets to just 1% in Q2 despite Z10, Q10 push

BGR

The second calendar quarter marked the first in which BlackBerry’s debut BlackBerry 10 smartphone, the Z10, was on store shelves for the entire quarter. It was also the launch quarter of the vendor’s new BlackBerry Q10, its first next-generation handset with a full QWERTY keyboard. But during the second quarter, new data from market research firm Kantar Worldpanel suggests that BlackBerry’s U.S. market share tumbled to just 1.1% from 4% in the same quarter last year. Meanwhile, the firm says Apple’s share of U.S. smartphone sales grew to 42.5% from 39.2% in the same quarter last year despite the fact that no new iPhone has launched since last September, and Android’s share of smartphone sales fell to 51.5% from 52.6% in Q2 2012.

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iOS 7 beta 4: Full change log now available

BGR

Apple released iOS 7 beta 4 for the iPhone, iPad, iPad mini and iPod touch to developers on Monday and as is always the case, the updates were made available over the air before Apple’s troubled online developer site was updated with all of the new download files. The iOS developer portal has now been updated though, and BGR has been sent the full change log published alongside iOS 7 beta 4 by a friend of the site. Curious to see what changes Apple pushed out with its fourth iOS 7 beta? Apple’s full iOS 7 beta 4 change log follows below.

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Intel’s TV game-changer: DVR that records everything, all the time

BGR

What if TV aired on your schedule, all day, every day? This is the reality Intel will reportedly try to create with its upcoming pay TV service. Add-ons like on-demand content and local DVR services from current pay TV providers are a nice convenience, but Intel will reportedly look to take things to the next level by providing a cloud-based DVR service that records everything, all the time. According to The Wall Street Journal, the killer feature of Intel’s forthcoming pay TV service will “include a server farm to record every piece of programming aired—local, national and international—and store it for at least three days in the ‘cloud.’ ” The paper noted that by using Intel’s set-top box, TV subscribers will not have to manually schedule recordings or even own a DVR. According to an earlier report, Intel’s service will also utilize a video camera and other technology to…

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BlackBerry exec: ‘BlackBerry is not in trouble’

BGR

The first step on the road to recovery is admitting that one has a problem. While BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins hasn’t been shy in making clear that BlackBerry is in the midst of rebuilding as the company does its best to recover, some of Heins’s executives are apparently still experiencing some degree of denial. BlackBerry shares plummeted 17% late last month after the company posted a surprise loss. Several noted industry watchers have stated repeatedly that the company desperately needs low-end smartphones to compete in key emerging markets, but the mid-range BlackBerry Q5 is the closest it will come in 2013 — a recent BGR exclusive report revealed that the only additional BlackBerry 10 phone set to launch this year is the high-end BlackBerry A10. As dire as things might look to some right now, BlackBerry India’s managing director Sunil Lalvani said in a recent interview that the company…

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Instagram is very determined to keep Windows Phone users away [updated]

BGR

It seems that Facebook really doesn’t want Windows Phone users uploading photos onto Instagram. The Verge reports that Facebook seems to be deleting all Instagram photos uploaded through Instance, a third-party app that lets Windows Phone users put their pictures on the popular photo-sharing network. Although Instance users can upload their pictures to Instagram, The Verge says that “after just seconds, the photos disappear from an Instagram account and the URLs to access them no longer work.” Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom recently said that Instagram wouldn’t be coming to Windows Phone or BlackBerry “anytime soon” and the company appears very determined to keep unauthorized platforms from enjoying its services.

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Foxconn reportedly hiring 90,000 workers ahead of iPhone 5S launch

BGR

We’re getting close to Apple’s next-generation iPhone 5S launch this fall and that means manufacturer Foxconn is going on a major hiring binge to fill Apple’s orders. Unnamed sources tell Focus Taiwan that Foxconn is hiring 90,000 new workers at its Shenzhen production facility to help the company fill “massive orders from Apple” that will include the iPhone 5S and the new budget iPhone. The iPhone 5S will reportedly feature an upgraded version of the A6 processor, improved graphics, 2GB of RAM and a 12-megapixel camera with a dual-LED flash while the budget iPhone has been rumored to feature a 4-inch display, a less powerful processor, 1GB of RAM and a plastic case that comes in multiple colors.

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From kindling to inferno: Full specs for next-gen Amazon Kindle Fire HD tablets

BGR

Amazon’s first-generation Kindle Fire was absolutely not an iPad killer, and that’s exactly why it was so successful. The online retail giant sought not to compete with Apple’s juggernaut but rather to open a new door, one that would focus on a more compact design and far more affordable pricing. At $499, the iPad was a tremendous value. At $199, the Kindle Fire was a steal. But the Kindle Fire was just the beginning and affordability alone would only take Amazon so far. The company’s current Kindle Fire HD models were the result of that realization, though they were merely the tip of the iceberg. With its next-generation Kindle Fire HD tablets that are set to debut this fall, Amazon is taking things to a completely different level — and its rivals should be worried.

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Making readers a part of the story — the New York Times experiments with highlighting comments

Gigaom

Comments from readers are probably one of the thorniest problems for online publishers of all kinds, both traditional media and digital-only outlets, and the methods for dealing with them are all over the map — some have given their comments over to Facebook to manage, while others like Gawker are experimenting with levelling the playing field between commenters and staff writers. With new entrants like Branch and Medium trying to expand the way we look at online discussion, even the New York Times is experimenting with making comments from readers part of the stories they refer to.

As outlined in a piece at Journalism.co.uk, the NYT recently started highlighting specific comments from readers inside certain stories, such as a feature on the orange-growing industry and the clash over DNA-modification of food. According to an editor at the newspaper, the Times journalist who wrote the piece chose a dozen or so…

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How big data is taking on breast cancer — and big biotech

Gigaom

Radiation and chemotherapy aren’t the only tools the medical world is using in the fight against breast cancer. To better understand the genetic mutations associated with the cancer, researchers are increasingly turning to another field: data science.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that no one can patent human genes. The decision means that the company on the losing end, Myriad Genetics (s MYGN), is no longer allowed to patent the so-called BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which can indicate breast and ovarian cancer risk if mutations in either gene are found. But even though it lost, the company is not required to release the years of genetic data and interpretations it’s amassed that could help doctors in diagnosing and treating patients.

So a group of policy makers, advocacy organizations and academic institutions has launched a new initiative called Free the Data! Its goal is to develop a public database of…

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Android fragmentation is greater than ever, according to new report

Gigaom

It was starting to feel like Android (s GOOG) fragmentation was a thing of the past, especially when smartphone juggernaut Samsung began shipping its flagship Galaxy S 4 with the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system. But fragmentation is alive and well, and in fact more of a problem than ever, according to a new report from OpenSignal.

Compared with a similar report from last year, fragmentation has tripled. Out of 682,000 devices surveyed, 34.1 percent were running Android 2.3.3-2.3.7 (Gingerbread), a version of the operating system that is well over two years old. And the problem of fragmentation really comes to light when you compare these numbers with Apple (s AAPL), which has 95 percent of its devices updated to the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 6.

iPhoneAndroidFragmentationChart

The news isn’t all bad: 37.9 percent of the devices surveyed are running a version of Jelly…

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Best way to send your digital files to the cloud? The postal service.

Gigaom

Do we have too much digital junk cluttering up our hard drives, or are our average upload speeds of 5.29 Mbps in the U.S. just too slow? That’s the question the launch of iDrive’s Digital Express service raises.

For $60, iDrive sends you a terabyte drive to load up with your stuff and ship back to its cloud. They encrypt the data, as well, in case it gets lost in the mail.

The service is similar to one that Amazon Web Services launched in 2009 that allowed corporate customers to upload data, but you’d think that four years later we’d have better upload speeds. Or that consumers wouldn’t have a terabyte of stuff on their home servers. But iDrive says customers needed it. So they built it.

As my colleague Mathew Ingram experienced in 2011 when he was loading files to the cloud, we do have a bunch of stuff…

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Rackspace blogger-in-chief Robert Scoble pooh-poohs need for Amazon API compatibility

Gigaom

You were warned. We told you last week to gird yourself for another round of Amazon(s amzn) API sniping and here it is. Rackspace(s rax) blogger and tech gadfly Robert Scoble wrote an open letter of his own in response to Cloudscaling CTO Randy Bias’ diatribe on the need for OpenStack players — especially Rackspace — to embrace rather than ignore Amazon’s APIs.

Scoble reiterated Rackspace’s talking points that strict adherence to the existing Amazon APIs restricts, rather than promotes innovation and that contrary to what pro AWS API forces say, adherence to those APIs is a non-issue with most customers. Limited resources should be spent on building new features and functions, not complying with old APIs, seems to be the gist.

Scoble, who said he spends much of his time talking to prospective users, especially startups, sees no pent-up demand for AWS compatibility.  He wrote:

“Not a single startup…

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With Apple’s local fortunes in flux, Tim Cook back in China

Gigaom

For the second time this year, Apple’s CEO is reportedly visiting China. This time, however, things are a bit different: Apple(s AAPL) is coming off of a not-so-great quarter in the country. Sales momentum has slowed and the company itself has, for the second time since April, found itself dealing with negative press concerning its local business dealings.

Cook’s trip was first reported by the local news outlets early Tuesday morning.

The reports say he’s in town to meet with local carriers — which would be the second time since January — and his third such trip since he became CEO. Apple already has partners in China Unicom(s chu) and China Telecom(s cha). But the partner who Cook still needs to work on wooing is China Mobile(s chl), the world’s largest carrier and a potentially huge coup for the iPhone’s sales growth if the two were able to come to an…

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A crack in the EU wall: Dutch bank regulators OK Amazon cloud use

Gigaom

The question of whether European businesses can or will trust workloads and customer data to Amazon Web Services(s amzn) has dogged that company since well before news of U.S. data gathering practices went public. But now at least one country’s banking regulators appear to have given AWS the green light.

De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), the banking regulator in the Netherlands has approved the use of Amazon Web Services (AWS) in “all facets of Dutch financial operations,” according to a statement from Amazon’s European office and Computerweekly.  According to the statement, the regulatory blessing covers:

“all facets of Dutch financial operations, such as websites, mobile applications, retail banking platforms, high performance computing and credit risk analysis solutions.  Additionally, the storage and management of all levels of data on the AWS Cloud, as well as the use of technology that runs on top of AWS and is provided by third party vendors, are also…

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Got a laggy old Nexus 7? Here’s why Android 4.3 will restore its performance.

Gigaom

Don’t upgrade from an old Nexus 7(s goog) to a new one just yet; at least not if your reason for upgrading is because your current tablet has been getting slower over time. Try the Android 4.3 software update first, which is now in the process of rolling out to Nexus devices. It turns out there’s a simple reason why the performance of some of the 2012 Nexus 7 tablets degraded and it can be fixed through software.

Brian Klug of AnandTech confirmed the fix, which is the inclusion and regular scheduling of a specific software command in Android 4.3. The command helps manage and optimize the tablet’s flash memory.

“In our Nexus 7 (2013) review, I talked about how I had confirmed that Android 4.3 onboard the device had enabled support for fstrim, an application which TRIMs blocks not in used by the filesystem. TRIM is…

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NASA bungles data security in the cloud, but at least it reached the cloud

Gigaom

NASA gets the private cloud — remember, it helped get OpenStack off the ground — and it embraces the public cloud too, but perhaps it’s been a bit trigger happy. In jumping onto public clouds in the past few years, it has not met standards for ensuring the security of data, according to a report released Monday from the agency’s Office of Inspector General.

Multiple NASA facilities stuck data into public cloud environments but didn’t get the OK from NASA’s office of the chief information officer. That sounds like good old shadow IT on a large scale, similar in some ways to the act of putting documents on Box or Dropbox without company approval. But when NASA spins up cloud resources, the stakes could be higher if data were to get into the wrong hands — just as hackers’ access to data from defense contractor QinetiQ North America sent up…

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Sellbox lets users sell content directly from Dropbox or Google Drive

Gigaom

Businesses are fast getting on board with the cloud to save on infrastructure spending, while many consumers already save their documents on cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive to they can access them anywhere.

Now, one company is offering a way for people to sell things from the  cloud. Sellbox lets allows users take digital files in their Dropbox or Google Drive accounts and turn them into sellable products. A vendor — whether it’s an artist, or a musician or an app developer — selects a file from a registered cloud account, names a price, and gets a short link to market to fans on Facebook or Twitter.

This video shows how it works:

Sellbox is aimed at people that make media, whether it’s a single on SoundCloud or a DeviantArt desktop picture. The implementation is fairly simple. Users register the same log-ins for both Dropbox and Google Drive. There…

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