Phones

House passes bill that would allow cell phone unlocking

The US House of Representatives approved a bill Tuesday that would allow cell phone customers to unlock their devices for use on competitors' networks.

Passed by a 295-114 vote, the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act would repeal a 2012 decision by the Library of Congress that made cell phone unlocking a violation of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA, which prohibits Americans from "circumventing" technologies that protect copyrighted works, gives the Library of Congress the authority to grant exemptions.

Unlocking cell phones allows handsets to be used on a wireless network other than that … Read more

Get a one-of-a kind iPhone case 3D-printed just for you

Companies like Shutterfly, VistaPrint, and Zazzle have been able to print your photos on a variety of mobile phone cases for a while now, making them distinctively yours. But a new company seeking Kickstarter funding will actually be able to 3D-print an entire iPhone case for you, making it a one-of-a-kind creation -- if you have the design chops to dream one up.

The company, called Fraemes, uses Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printers to create plastic panels in a variety of colors and pretty much any design imaginable. SLS is a technology originally developed by DARPA that uses high-powered lasers to fuse plastic powders together, building plastic objects literally from the ground up.… Read more

Unique smartphones boast encryption, e-ink

CNET Update explores the quirky side of smartphones:

These are not your typical smartphones. In this episode of Update, learn about new smartphones that stand out with unique features, including:

- The Blackphone, made by Geeksphone in Switzerland, which encrypts calls, texts and data. It's arriving in June for $630.

- Panasonic's rugged Toughpad, designed for tough jobs that may involve barcode scanning.

- BlackBerry's upcoming Q20, which goes back to basics with a trackpad. It's also selling the Z3, a sub-$200 all-touchscreen phone that will be sold in emerging markets.

- The dual-screen YotaPhoneRead more

Women prefer Apple, gentlemen prefer Samsung

When commenters lurch to these pages, their lightsabers raised even higher than their voices, they categorize phones in simple terms.

The Samsung Galaxy, is, in an Apple lover's eyes, a big, bad copy of an iPhone.

The iPhone, to everyone but an Apple lover, is merely a girlie gadget with all the technological sophistication of a 1980s Barbie.

How odd, then, that a piece of research has just appeared before my exclusive eyes to suggest that women prefer an iPhone.

The research, sponsored by cache-cleaning specialists KS Mobile, examined, among many aspects, whether there was a gender bias in … Read more

Kayaker's iPhone survives 82 days under the waves

Dave McGregor is attached to his iPhone 4, but it wasn't attached to his kayak well enough to prevent it from falling into the sea while he was out recording his paddling adventures in Australia. The smartphone spent 82 days under water before washing up on the beach.

A lot of phones won't survive a dunk in the toilet, much less a three-month soak in the sea. McGregor's phone, however, was covered by a waterproof Optrix case. He held out hope for weeks that he might be reunited with his phone, but eventually gave up and threw away the accessories.… Read more

'The map comes alive': Nokia Here boss dreams of drones, self-driving cars

BARCELONA, Spain -- "Mapping 1.0 is done," says the head of Nokia Here. He envisions a world of constantly-updating, infinitesimally precise maps guiding us on through the world on our smartwatches and smartphones, as self-driving cars zoom past and delivery drones soar overhead.

"First we had paper maps with lots of colourful lines," says Christof Hellmis, head of map platforms at Nokia Here, "but now the world is moving to the next generation of maps, which will be 3D, and will include Augmented Reality, like our CityLens app."

I met with Hellmis at … Read more

iOS security hole reportedly exposes your screen input

Every tap, touch, and press you make on your iPhone and iPad could be monitored and captured remotely due to an iOS security flaw. At least, that's the claim from security firm FireEye.

In a blog posted Monday, FireEye researchers said they conducted a test on non-jailbroken iOS 7.0.x devices in which they installed a "monitoring" app. This app was able to record all touch and press events in the background, including screen touches, home button presses, volume button presses, and TouchID presses. Based on its findings, the team concluded that an attacker could use … Read more

SermonAudio iPhone + iPad Edition review

SermonAudio gives you the tools to find the sermons that you're looking for, either from your own church or from many miles away. You can search to find churches by zip code or by state, and you can access lists of recent sermons to find what you're looking for.

From the app's home screen, you can search using keywords or locations to bring up a list of all relevant sermons. Or you can select the My Church tab from the navigation bar on the bottom of the screen to set your home church and view the latest … Read more

Go off-grid with the GeeksPhone Blackphone for $629

BARCELONA, Spain -- In a world of leakers, hackers, spooks, and crooks, absolute privacy seems like a pipe dream, but that's what the intriguing Geeksphone Blackphone promises: a smart phone in your pocket without putting you in the pocket of Google, the NSA, or Big Brothers of any stripe.

The Blackphone comes from Switzerland, where privacy is enshrined in the constitution. The first network to offer the phone is KPN, a carrier from the Netherlands. But you can buy it anywhere, for a flat price of $629.

The Blackphone is a 4.7-inch quad-core, 4G smart phone with an … Read more

BBM to land on Windows Phone this summer

BlackBerry Messenger will expand its reach in the coming months.

In a blog posted Monday, BBM product and marketing chief Jeff Gadway revealed that the Messenger app will debut for Windows Phone users sometime this summer. The app will also travel to the newly-announced Android-powered Nokia X platform, though Gadway didn't reveal an ETA for that rollout.

BBM already supports BlackBerry OS, iOS, and Android. Users had been asking BlackBerry to extend BBM to other mobile systems, such as Windows Phone, Gadway added.

"BBM continues to grow in popularity as millions of people use our mobile platform for … Read more