Around the World in a Flash
Oh good, another opportunity for Eric Schmidt to wax poetic about the liberating powers of technology: Bloomberg News reports that after more than 20 years, the U.S. has lifted its ban on sales of electronics like computers and smartphones to regular Iranians.
You still can’t sell to the Iranian government, though, so don’t get Read More
Okay, we’ll admit it: a smartphone is almost as good as a boyfriend. Texting is a perfectly fine substitute for talking, a Snapchat of a penis is not that much less exciting than the real thing, and who needs to fall asleep to the comforting sound of your loved one’s snoring when you can drift off to dreamland guided by your favorite chillwave band?
An anonymous person who definitely has no vested interest whatsoever in the success of BlackBerry has purchased 1 million BlackBerries just because he’s really super into the device, okay?
Cell your Soul
Once upon a time, status-seekers relied on signifiers like nice watches, swanky automobiles and handbags that cost as much as a car. But according to Quartz, times have changed: Now men and women worldwide think it’s their cell phones everyone notices first.
BRB, running to the Apple store.
Italy’s Supreme Court has issued a ruling that could have a ripple effect for cellphone manufacturers all over the world by declaring a “causal link” between an Italian businessman’s non-cancerous tumor and his daily cellphone usage.
The businessman, Innocente Marcolini, said he used his cellphone as much as six hours a day for work. Now his face his paralyzed on one side.
Testimony from oncologists and researchers on Mr. Marcolini’s behalf might spook even the most hardcore cellphone user:
Where Did I Put My Data?
If you’re not Beyonce and you’re still carrying around a Blackberry, chances are you are over 55, wear a three piece suit to work or–like a family itself–you are desperately beholden to a family plan from which there is no escape.
Where once we touted Blackberry Curves like prized possessions, obsessively BBMing friends and humblebragging about the jitters induced by that phantom blinking red light, we now cluck our tongues in derision at the behind-the-times fogies who dare to wield a device that isn’t an iPhone or Android.
What’s a girl got to do to get some affordable data service around here? Americans are putting more money than ever towards their smartphone bills, and carriers don’t seem inclined to cut their rates any time soon. But the Wall Street Journal says one company wants to break the stalemate, with dramatically less expensive 4G offerings. The question is whether they can pull it off.
FreedomPop, which launched today, will offer users five gigabytes of data for $35, and one gig for $10. Compare that to the $80 or so six gigs will run you at Verizon, and suddenly you’ve got a lot more money for steak dinners.
There are, however, a couple of bumps in the road to adoption.
Bills Bills Bills
According to reports, Airbnb is raising a new round. The Valuation? Try “‘north of a billion’ between $2 billion and $3 billion.” It’s amazing what you can do with srs bsns revenues. [TechCrunch]
If this list ranking top 50 venture-backed startups is any indication, it’s enterprise companies’ time to shine. [Wall Street Journal]
Don’t look now, but the maps app in iOS 6 isn’t the only thing looking a little half-baked: “Burning question I have to ask: what is up with Apple’s Passbook app?” [GigaOm]
Sure, they might give you text neck, but mental health pros are increasingly using smartphones apps as a way to supplement treatment for conditions like OCD. [CNN]
It was reportedly conflict over turn-by-turn directions that prompted Apple to strike out on its own and create a new map app. [AllThingsD]
Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart
Americans’ smartphone bills are looking pretty onerous these days. How bad has it gotten? According to the Wall Street Journal, people are cutting back on dinners out and other such vices in order to sustain their ravenous Netflixing of Homeland episodes while waiting at the dentist’s office. And with carriers pushing back on unlimited data plans, matters are only getting worse.
During a recent security conference in South America, a Berlin-based researcher revealed that Samsung has a major problem with its iPhone challengers, the Galaxy 3 and Galaxy S2 smartphones.
Both can easily be remotely wiped by code embedded in a web page.
Ravi Borgaonkar found that the Galaxy’s “service loading” feature, its method of communicating with application servers, can be exploited with just one line of code tucked away in a web page’s HTML. If the attack is successful, the malicious code reverts the phones to their factory settings. Worse still, once the attack begins, the phone’s user can’t do a thing about it.
That’s bad enough. There’s also this: