MasterCard to boost credit card security with smartphones

With hacks, stolen credit card data, and identify fraud constantly on the rise, some credit card companies are looking into how to better beef up security.

MasterCard announced Tuesday that it has partnered with mobile technology company Syniverse to make it more difficult for unauthorized users to buy goods with nabbed credit cards. While working to heighten credit card security is nothing new, MasterCard's most recent plan is a bit different because it involves users' smartphone geolocation while they're traveling abroad.

The idea is that a users' credit card cannot be used unless it is within close range … Read more

FCC expands mobile-broadband speed test to include iOS users

With the launch of a new app Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission expanded the scope of its research on US mobile-broadband speeds to include iOS users.

The FCC Speed Test for iOS app, released to Apple's App Store today, is designed to collect information about the performance of participating smartphone users' mobile-broadband services nationwide. The agency's hope is that the data collected will help it generate an accurate comparison of wireless carriers' mobile broadband speeds.

"The iOS release is the latest step in the Commission's efforts to crowdsource mobile-broadband performance data for the mobile Measuring Broadband … 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

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

T-Mobile to shut off MetroPCS network in three cities in 2014

T-Mobile said it has made good progress in shifting customers from the older MetroPCS network to T-Mobile. And the company will start shutting down the older network later this year.

T-Mobile made the announcement on a conference call with analysts and press following its fourth quarter earnings on Tuesday. The company also provided an update on its 4G LTE network build-out, which is so far ahead of schedule. The company claims it has the fastest 4G LTE network in the US.

T-Mobile completed its merger with the prepaid regional operator MetroPCS in May of last year. The company had previously … Read more

Dolby to bring Atmos cinema sound to mobile

BARCELONA, Spain -- Want cinema-like audio when you play video games or watch a movie on your smartphone or tablet? You may be able to get it soon.

Here at Mobile World Congress, audio company Dolby gave me a demo of its Atmos technology running on a tablet. I listened to four different video clips via an ordinary passive headset (Sennheiser, if you must know), and came away impressed. I was particularly amazed at how audio came from below my chin and above my brow, enveloping me in a cocoon of sound.

Atmos is basically a surround-sound system with the … Read more

Here's why Lenovo bought Motorola (Hint: mobile growth is skyrocketing)

BARCELONA, Spain--Established just two years back, Lenovo's smartphone business is going places, according to numbers provided by the company. In Q1 this year, the company's combined tablet and smartphone volume (17.3 million) has exceeded its PC's (15.3 million), and this is thanks to the strong combined growth of 47 percent in the Asia Pacific region as well as in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

JD Howard, the company's vice president for mobile internet and digital home division, said at a media briefing that the company will soon be entering mature markets around the … Read more

Hands-on with the bare-bones ZTE Open II Firefox phone

BARCELONA, Spain -- At MWC this year, ZTE introduced two ultra-budget Firefox handsets: the 4-inch Open C and the more compact ZTE Open II (the sequel to the original Open). Though no pricing or availability information has been released, the Open II is aimed at emerging 3G markets outside the US.

Design The Open II is a compact device that has a smooth, almost pebble-like construction. Its wide bezels give it a notably deep chin, which is accented by a single, circular home button.

Its aesthetic actually reminds me of a more playful Grand S, ZTE's flagship handset last … Read more

What the tech business hasn't yet grasped about human nature

BARCELONA -- It's pretty clear from Facebook's ascent that businesses nowadays understand our need to connect with friends and family is a big deal.

But what about our need to be bored, to be surprised, and to get away from it all?

Those are among the parts of human nature that could be a big deal for businesses that figure out how to tap into those traits with today's technology, according to Genevieve Bell, Intel's in-house anthropologist.

"In this digital world, the story we're telling about the future is a story driven by what … Read more

HTC exec: We want to make a difference this year

BARCELONA, Spain--The last thing you would expect someone to do would be to jump ship from Apple to HTC, but that's what Jack Yang, the former head of the Apple's iPhone business in Southeast Asia, did. And when he did, he leapt straight into the action.

The new boss of the South Asia market, which includes Southeast Asia, India and Australia, was part of the high-level team who convinced CEO Peter Chou to make the switch back into the mid-tier and, in the near future, the low-end market segment as well.

"Peter asked me to show him … Read more