Phones

Simple $40 wiretap planted in iPhone of Russian activist

Simple $40 wiretap planted in iPhone of Russian activist

An interesting little device was discovered planted in the iPhone of Russian anti-corruption activist Lyubov Sobol's campaign manager over the new year. On December 21, 2020, Sobol's campaign manager Olga Klyuchnikova was taken into custody by the Russian FSB. She spent a week in jail on "administrative charges" and was released - but something was amiss.

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Galaxy S21 heralds Samsung Pay MST demise, S Pen expansion

Galaxy S21 heralds Samsung Pay MST demise, S Pen expansion

There's a lot to talk about the Galaxy S21 series, mostly because of how much Samsung packed into the phones. That includes price tags that are almost too good to be true if you know Samsung. That said, there are also things that Samsung removed, the most notorious of them being the charger in the box as well as the microSD card slot. That's not the end of the story, of course, and Samsung still had a lot to reveal off-stage.

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Xiaomi blacklisted by DoD as “Communist Chinese military company”

Xiaomi blacklisted by DoD as “Communist Chinese military company”

The United States Department of Defense expanded their list of companies with alleged connections to the Chinese military today with Xiaomi and 8 other groups. A June 12, 2020 version of the list added Huawei to the same list (alongside 19 other China-based or China-associated companies). Entities on the list are effectively blacklisted from business with companies in the United States as authorized by Section 1237 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999 (Public Law 105-261). The Department of Defense says the list names "Communist Chinese military companies."

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Vaccination card group includes Microsoft, Mayo, Epic, Oracle, and more

Vaccination card group includes Microsoft, Mayo, Epic, Oracle, and more

A Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI) was created for the near future in which COVID-19 vaccination checks are imperative. The VCI is a coalition of public and private partners that include Evernorth, Mitre, SAFE, SalesForce, Change Healthcare, CARIN, The Commons Project, Epic, Mayo Clinic, Oracle, and Microsoft. Cards will allow individuals to access and display their vaccination records "based on open, inoperable standards."

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Pokemon GO subscription and search features leaked in teardown

Pokemon GO subscription and search features leaked in teardown

This week the folks at Niantic released a new update for Pokemon GO. Beyond what we were able to see in the game's live code, a whole bunch of new and not-quite-active features appeared in the game's build. Items like a new Ditto Extensions Library (maybe for Shiny Ditto?) and Promise Library appeared in the mix before they're ready to roll in the game proper - let's take a peek!

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Samsung Galaxy SmartTag+ expands with UWB tracking

Samsung Galaxy SmartTag+ expands with UWB tracking

Today Samsung revealed their Galaxy SmartTag series, with Bluetooth for the standard version and UWB tracking with the Galaxy SmartTag+. Each Samsung Galaxy SmartTag will be able to be viewed in an app on your smartphone, tracked in real time, and pinged at a moment's notice with UWB (with the SmartTag+) or with the last known location using Bluetooth (with the standard SmartTag).

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T-Mobile confirms network update will disconnect these devices

T-Mobile confirms network update will disconnect these devices

It seems that carriers share a common theme this year of "out with the old and in with the new". In most cases, that refers to their desire to finally shut down 3G services, a move that has been met with resistance that forced some network operators to delay their plans. T-Mobile, however, has one network update coming that is both mysterious and also inescapable. By the end of the month, as many as 19 devices, will no longer be able to connect to its network, forcing users to upgrade their devices, presuming they haven't yet.

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Cricket Wireless announces 3G network shutdown schedule

Cricket Wireless announces 3G network shutdown schedule

As the world inches towards 5G adoption, network operators are unsurprisingly eager to drop older networks and equipment. Unfortunately, those networks are actually still in use, leading some carriers to reconsider their plans. Verizon, which would have been the earliest among its peers, has decided to forego shutting down its 3G network until further notice. AT&T, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have any plans on budging and its Cricket Wireless business will now be following its footsteps, announcing big changes to its BYOP program starting next week.

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HTC Desire 21 Pro 5G is HTC’s attempt to start 2021 right

HTC Desire 21 Pro 5G is HTC’s attempt to start 2021 right

HTC's smartphone business has already been in the red and the COVID-19 pandemic last year did it no favors. It hasn't launched a premium flagship yet, at least not one under its "U" brand, but it seems to still be pushing through with its Desire line of affordable mid-range phones. This year won't be different, at least not at the start, and HTC's first smartphone for 2021 is the Desire 21 Pro 5G which, admittedly, at least looks the part of a decent phone.

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Galaxy A32 5G launched to offer a more affordable option

Galaxy A32 5G launched to offer a more affordable option

It's literally just hours before Samsung unveils the Galaxy S21 series and although rumors suggest it won't be as overpriced as the Galaxy S20 before it, it will still be too expensive for some folks. As if already anticipating that kind of reaction, Samsung surprisingly launched the Galaxy A32 5G less than a day before its premium flagships, proving that it can actually offer extremely affordable phones that still have decent features after all.

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Google Guest Mode launched for smart home devices

Google Guest Mode launched for smart home devices

On the 13th of January, 2021, Google announced the launch of Guest Mode. They've revealed this feature as "another easy way to control your privacy on smart speakers and Smart Displays." That includes Google Nest and Google Home speakers as well as a number of Google-embedded Smart Displays. This system was launched in English, first, and will likely spread to other devices and languages in the near future.

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Shiny Pokemon GO Machop Community Day gives 3x stardust for all

Shiny Pokemon GO Machop Community Day gives 3x stardust for all

Today we're taking a peek at the next Pokemon GO Community Day - ready for Machop! The day includes an optional $1 ticket for Special Research called "Straight to the top, Machop!" It also includes a special Machop Community Day Bundle that'll only be available one time (one purchase, only) with an Elite Charged TM.

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