What mattered at Mobile World Congress, day 3: S5 apps, tough tablets, and BlackBerry's return

Like at any technology show, the biggest product releases of Mobile World Congress dropped in the first couple of days. But the latter days of an event remain just as interesting. You actually have time (well, a few minutes anyway) to roam the show floor to find hidden gems and underdog products, and you can dig up a few juicy scoops. All of that is just what happened on day 3 of the world's biggest wireless show.

The return of BlackBerry? By now you may have forgotten about BlackBerry, but the former smartphone powerhouse showed up in Barcelona with … Read more

If Google Barge is coming to Stockton, that's news to Stockton

If the Google Barge is coming to Stockton, the port director there would love to know about it.

Yesterday, CNET reported that Google's famous barge project may well be moving from its current home in San Francisco Bay to Stockton, a city at the far end of the San Francisco Bay Delta.

Google has been told by state regulators that it has to either move the barge project -- which has been sitting idle and unfinished alongside Treasure Island in the middle of the bay for months -- or acquire a permit to finish construction work. Last week, CNET reportedRead more

Appeals court orders YouTube to take down anti-Islamic film

Google must remove a controversial anti-Islamic film from YouTube, after a US Appeals court on Wednesday ordered it to do so.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 that taking down the film did not constitute a prior restraint on speech -- Google's argument for initially refusing to remove it.

The video, "Innocence of Muslims," has incited international outrage and sparked protests around the world. Its surfacing online also coincided with attacks in Bengazi, Libya, in 2012, during which a US ambassador was killed.

The suit was originally brought on by Cindy Lee Garcia, who starred … Read more

Google denies bidding on WhatsApp

Google's Sundar Pichai has denied at Mobile World Congress that his company bid on WhatsApp, the popular mobile instant messaging and SMS app.

Pichai, senior vice president in charge of Chrome, Android, and apps, said in Barcelona this week that it was "simply untrue" that Google had offered to buy WhatsApp, reported the Telegraph.

An earlier report indicated that Google was outbid by Facebook for WhatsApp, which Mark Zuckerberg permanently friended for $19 billion. Google had reportedly offered $10 billion, according to Fortune.

Though there may not have been a formal bid from Google for WhatsApp to … Read more

Why bother to text your girl when BroApp can do it for you?

You know how you often tell your one true love that she's your one true love?

Does she know that the "one" isn't true, making the "true" not true either?

I only ask because your, um, bros in tech have your back. They understand. Indeed, not only do they understand, but they want to help.

Some tech bros in Australia, you see, have gotten together in solidarity to create BroApp. … Read more

Blippar shows real-time object recognition AR for Google Glass

BARCELONA, Spain -- Blippar, a visual discovery/augmented reality company that has worked with brands like Coca-Cola, Disney, Sony and Nike, has delivered a live demo at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that shows Google Glass delivering real-time object recognition augmented reality (AR) for the first time.

Ambarish Mitra, founder and CEO of Blippar, signaled his desire to see AR move beyond a gimmick and become a real point of engagement for consumers. Mitra also feels that wearable displays will achieve high levels of acceptance over the long-term.

So Blippar has developed a cloud-based recognition engine to do the heavy … Read more

Google Barge on the move: Next stop, Stockton?

Could the Google Barge be moving to ground zero of the recent national housing crisis?

Last week, CNET found out that Google planned to move its famous barge, which now sits unfinished alongside Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay, to a still-unidentified location.

But Richmond, Calif., city council member Tom Butt told CNET on Tuesday that he's heard the technology giant has decided to move the Google Barge to Stockton, Calif., a city of about 300,000, that's located on the San Francisco Bay Delta. Stockton also was one of the hardest-hit cities in the country during … Read more

Google Glass blamed for melee in SF bar

It's likely this story is one of the first of many similar incidents to come: a person walks into a bar wearing Google Glass and gets booted by annoyed patrons.

Such is the case of tech writer Sarah Slocum, who also alleges she was robbed and assaulted.

Slocum was hanging out at the gritty rock bar Molotov's in San Francisco's Lower Haight neighborhood last Friday night showing her friends the $1,500 Google Glass she had been loaned, according to CBS San Francisco. When she demonstrated the video function, two women apparently accosted her and a man … Read more

Isis CEO: Foundation is here for mobile payments

BARCELONA, Spain -- When Michael Abbott took the job as chief executive of mobile payments venture Isis, his mother demanded that he make the service easy enough for her to use.

After giving it a go during last year's trials, she put her stamp of approval on the service, Abbott said during his keynote address during the Mobile World Congress trade show on Tuesday.

Indeed, Abbott believes the pieces are set for the broader adoption of mobile payments, or the ability to pay for goods and services with your phone.

"I believe a foundation is in place," … Read more

Motorola wants in on the smartwatch game, too -- and soon

BARCELONA, Spain -- Motorola Mobility may be a lame duck waiting for Lenovo to take the reins, but that doesn't mean it can't make a little noise.

Motorola, for now still a unit of Google, said Tuesday that it will build a smartwatch for later this year. The product will "solve real user problems," will be treated more like an item of jewelry, and will be announced in a few months, according to Rick Osterloh, vice president of product at Motorola.

"Right now, there are no wearable products you actually want to wear, and it'… Read more