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Verizon and Sprint will pay $158 million to settle customer complaints


The mobile carriers always seem to be in a little bit of hot water don’t they? Maybe it’s because they are always playing games with billing, throttling, and anything else shady they can think of.

This time around it’s a practice called “cramming” which is when customers are billed for third-party services they didn’t request. In most cases, it resulted in a $10 monthly charge in which Verizon and Sprint declined to offer refunds. According to the Federal Communications Commission, both carriers received roughly 30% of the charges.

After an investigation, Verizon will pay $90 million and Sprint will pony up $68 million. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said, “For too long, consumers have been charged on their phone bills for things they did not buy. “We call these fraudulent charges ‘cramming,’ and with today’s agreements we are calling them history for Verizon and Sprint customers.”

Sprint is back pedaling a little bit in that they say they already “took proactive steps to monitor the third-party ecosystem.” and that they “returned tens of millions of dollars long before the government initiated its investigation of our industry.” Verizon is singing the same tune as a spokes person said “Well before any government action, Verizon Wireless stopped allowing companies to place charges for premium text message services on customers’ bills. Today’s settlement reflects Verizon’s continued focus on putting customers first.”

If you’re a customer of either Sprint or Verizon, you are encouraged to check your bills for any unauthorized charges. Are you a victim of this tactic? Let us know in the comments.

source: Huffington Post

Come comment on this article: Verizon and Sprint will pay $158 million to settle customer complaints


Distracted Driving Laws Yet to Catch Up With Apple Watch

While several states and countries have laws in place that make operating a handheld device such as a smartphone or portable media player illegal, the release of the Apple Watch has created a gray area in terms of distracted driving legislation. Given that the Apple Watch is technically not a handheld device, the laws in many jurisdictions are left open to interpretation at this point.

Apple Watch Driving
Regardless of the laws in your local area, it is highly recommended that you keep your eyes on the road and remain focused on driving at all times. Using your Apple Watch while driving is dangerous for both you and the drivers sharing the road with you, no matter how skilled of a driver you may be, and distracted driving in general is still a punishable offence in many jurisdictions.

United States

In the United States, many states have similar distracted driving laws with different conditions that must be followed. All states except Arizona, Missouri and Montana have a text messaging ban that could extend to the Apple Watch, or confirmed plans to enact one within the next six months, and Arizona is the only state without a text messaging ban for novice drivers entirely.

None of the U.S. states have updated their distracted driving laws to specifically address the Apple Watch or other wearable devices¹, and National Safety Council CEO Deborah Hersman confirmed in April that no states currently have plans to do so. Essentially, this means that the Apple Watch is not illegal to use or operate while driving in the country, but it is still highly unrecommended.

Last month, a Coalition Against Distracted Driving led by Stephen L. Joseph filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles court against Apple, Samsung, Google and Microsoft, seeking an injunction that would require the companies to fund an “effective and ongoing” national public education campaign in the United States that explain the risks of using smartwatches and smartphones while driving.

To check distracted driving laws on a state-by-state basis, the U.S. government has setup a useful website called that displays an interactive map outlining primary and secondary laws for text messaging and cell phone use behind the wheel. Currently, 45 states, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers.


In Ontario, for example, it is illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial or email using hand-held cell phones and other hand-held communications and entertainment devices², such as smartphones, portable media players, GPS systems and laptops. The province has not currently designated the Apple Watch or other smartwatches as being illegal to use while operating a motor vehicle.

Nevertheless, endangering others because of any distraction in Ontario can result in being charged with careless driving, which carries penalties of six demerit points, fines up to $2,000 and/or a jail term of six months and up to a two-year license suspension. Ontario Provincial Police officers are free to interpret the Ontario Highway Traffic Act as they wish as it relates to distracted driving.

Québec’s Highway Safety Code outlaws holding or operating handheld electronic devices with a telephone function while driving, but does not make any references to the Apple Watch or other wearable devices. The Canadian Press reported in September 2014 that Québec was reviewing its distracted driving law³, but the province has yet to make any changes to date.

British Columbia has a similar ban on holding or operating handheld electronic devices while driving, but has not specifically outlawed using the Apple Watch behind the wheel. The province’s Motor Vehicle Act further stipulates that drivers must not send or receive text messages or emails on any type of electronic device, and new and learning drivers are prohibited from using any electronic devices while driving.

Ultimately, this information should be followed for reference only and does not serve as legal advice. We encourage drivers in various countries to check their local laws for the most accurate and up-to-date information. More importantly, remember that you are sharing the road with others and drive safely.


AT&T Buyer’s Guide (May 2015)

The post AT&T Buyer’s Guide (May 2015) appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Third-gen Moto X could boast 16-megapixel camera with OIS

The next-gen Motorola X could pack a 16-megapixel rear camera that offers optical image stabilization and slow-motion video capture. That is, of course, provided the recent rumors prove to be accurate.

Reportedly, the 2015 version of the Motorola flagship line will record video at 1080p at 120 frames per second; at 720p you’ll have 240 fps as an option. Additionally, Motorola will allegedly return to using the Clear Pixel technology.

Other specifications being tossed about for the Moto X 2015 include the following:

  • Android 5.1.1
  • 5.2-inch AMOLED QHD display
  • 16-megapixel rear Clear Pixel camera with OIS
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB/64GB storage
  • 3280mAh battery

via PocketNow

The post Third-gen Moto X could boast 16-megapixel camera with OIS appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Madfinger Games offering $0.99 title sale for 5th anniversary and much more

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This week is officially the 5th anniversary week for game developing studio Madfinger Games. Many of you have been around with the company for titles like Shadowgun, Samurai II: Vengeance and the Dead Trigger series. I know I still kick back with some Shadowgun: Deadzone, the online multi-player  version of the 3rd person shooter title, from time to time. In celebration of 5 years of gaming, the company is offering up all the paid titles from their portfolio for just $0.99.

As for the titles that are already free to play, like Dead Trigger 2, you will find yourself able to pick up select in-game content for 50% off the normal retail price tag with models and additional content in Monzo for 70% off.

On May 15th – 17th gamer’s are invited to play in a tournament on Dead Trigger 2 and you will find yourself picking up some free gold.

Finally, they say they are officially launching the Unkilled website on May 14th. I did a quick Google search and the page seems to be up already. Unkilled is the next big game from the company and keeps with the zombie theme a bit with some killer looking graphics and monstrous zombies. Take a look at the trailer for it below.

Direct yourself over to the Madfinger developer page and take a look.

Source: Madfinger

The post Madfinger Games offering $0.99 title sale for 5th anniversary and much more appeared first on AndroidSPIN.


Washington state police now need warrants to spy on cellphones

Seattle police

The US government might have only started taking a serious look at the civil liberty implications for stingrays and other cellphone surveillance devices, but Washington state isn’t willing to wait. Governor Jay Inslee has just signed a bill into law requiring that police obtain warrants before using stingrays to simulate cell sites and intercept communications. They have to explicitly state their intention to use these gadgets (the FBI sometimes encourages departments to keep stingray use a secret), and they must toss out any information from people who aren’t targets in a given investigation.

This isn’t the first state to toughen up its cellphone tracking laws; Minnesota, Utah and Virginia already have comparable legislation. The Washington measure is going to affect a larger slice of the American population, however, and it suggests that the standards for cellphone surveillance are getting tougher overall. Police in states without these laws not only don’t need to disclose that they’re using a stingray, but merely need to prove that they’re collecting “relevant” data — they can violate someone’s privacy without telling others what’s going on, and might just scoop up conversations from innocent people. Theoretically, Washington and like-minded states are forcing cops to be accountable for their actions and think twice before they resort to intrusive technology to catch criminals.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson]

Filed under: Cellphones, Wireless, Mobile


Via: Ars Technica

Source: The News Tribune


Samsung reveals a few facts about its round Gear smartwatch

Samsung hasn’t exactly been coy about its new Gear watch having a round screen — it confirmed as much in an SDK announcement the day the Apple Watch launched — but we’re finally getting a better sense of what it brings to the table. The company released development tools for its new Gear watches to a small pool of early adopters today, and with it came a few details about the so-called “Project Orbis” (or Gear A, if you prefer) watch. Before we go any further, though, it’s worth pointing out again that this particular Gear watch isn’t going to run Android Wear. It’s a Tizen device through and through, and what’s been unearthed today corroborates plenty of stuff we’ve heard before.

A rotating bezel for selecting apps and options? That’s a thing. Right off the cuff it seems like one of the more inspired interface decisions we’ve seen grace a smartwatch. Endless wrist-tapping gets old pretty quick, and even Android Wear’s new scrolling gestures (which basically involve jerking your wrist around) seem more cumbersome than they really ought to. Meanwhile, a comparison chart included in the mix also seems to confirm the existence of two different round Gear models, one with built-in 3G for data use and phone calls, and another that has to stay tethered to a smartphone. So what’s new here? Well, both the chassis and the crown (a.k.a. the nub button on the side) will be hewn of metal, and the circular screen sitting front-and-center should be 1.65 inches across. For those of you keeping score, that’s about the largest round smartwatch screen you’ll find out there, but since it runs at a resolution of 360×360, it’s certainly not the most pixel dense.

The more we learn about Samsung’s new Gear, the more it looks like it’s been groomed to take on Apple and a generation of even more impressive Android Wear rivals. It might lose a little love because Tizen isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it at least it won’t be alone in that respect — LG’s prepping a webOS-powered wrist-monstrosity of its own, after all.


Via: MobileSyrup

Source: SamMobile


BBC shuts down iPlayer service for subscribers outside the UK

The BBC has offered subscriptions to an international version of its iPlayer streaming service since 2011, but in the next month or so it will close its doors. In case you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of the iPlayer Global service, that’s because despite being offered in 16 countries (including Canada), the service never came to the US and stopped expanding back in 2013. Our best (legit) option for the pubcli broadcaster’s shows is still its cousin BBC America, which has closed the gap on airing new episodes of shows like Doctor Who from days to hours, and even has the occasional simulcast.

Now, with Top Gear up in the air and Luther in development for a US remake on Fox (plus companies like Hulu and Netflix snapping up the streaming rights to many UK series), a worldwide iPlayer product may not be as necessary as it seemed back then. Inside the UK, iPlayer will continue rolling — with more unique content than ever — and the BBC tells former Global subscribers it has plans for “new digital services across multiple devices.” All auto renewing subscriptions will end between May 26th and June 26th, and downloaded episodes will stop working at the same time, so get that EastEnders binge done soon.

Filed under: Home Entertainment, Internet, HD


Source: BBC Global iPlayer


Sprint and Verizon to pay $158 million over bogus texting charges

Verizon Wireless store

No, Sprint and Verizon* aren’t going to escape the FCC’s bid to punish carriers for letting shady text message services bill their customers. The two providers are respectively paying $68 million and $90 million to settle FCC claims that they not only turned a blind eye to this bill cramming, but frequently denied refunds when subscribers complained. About $120 million of this total payout will compensate victims, while the rest will go to both state governments and the US Treasury.

As with the AT&T and T-Mobile settlements, the networks also have to make some promises. They’re no longer allowed to offer third-party premium text messaging charges, and they have to get explicit permission when they allow any kind of third-party charges. They’ll have to give you a way to block all third-party charges, too. Sprint and Verizon both insist that they were diligent about helping people well before the FCC took action, but this move holds their feet to the fire — they have to assist everyone who was affected, not just those who already made the cut.

*Verizon is currently in the process of acquiring AOL, Engadget’s parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.

[Image credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo]

Filed under: Cellphones, Wireless, Mobile, Verizon, Sprint


Source: FCC


Swype gets easier number entry and two-word phrase prediction in version 1.9 update

swype keyboard

Swype users will be happy to hear that their favorite third party keyboard app is receiving quite the update. Now live in the Google Play Store, the update to version 1.9 brings a few notable improvements that will help make your typing experience much smoother. For starters, you’ll now have an easier time entering in numbers. After you receive the update, you’ll be able to simply tap on the keys that have numbers as secondary characters to get suggestions for those numbers. For example, if you type in “tyqu”, Swype will suggest the number “5617”. This works for symbol entry, as well.

Swype also now has the ability to predict two-word phrases, allowing you to type out short phrases much quicker. Also in this update is support for Chinese cloud prediction and various bug fixes and performance improvements. If you’re interested, check out the full version 1.9 changelog below:

  • Easy number entry – tapping on keys that have numbers as secondary characters will provide a number / symbol suggestion (ex: tapping “ejqp” suggests “3:10″, “swpp” suggests “$200″)
  • Phrase prediction – Swype can now predict two-word phrases (ex: entering “How” could predict “are you” )
  • Chinese Cloud Prediction
  • Various crash and bug fixes (thanks for reporting!)

If you have yet to try Swype, you can check out the 30-day free trial or hit up the download link below to buy the premium version for $0.99. The update is now live in the Google Play Store, so be sure to grab it if Swype is your keyboard of choice.

Get it on Google Play

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