Senators propose smartphone antitheft 'kill switch' bill

Lawmakers' bids to require a smartphone "kill switch" seem to be gaining momentum.

Following the proposal of a California bill, a handful of senators have now proposed federal legislation to require carriers to provide a security feature on all cell phones that would render the devices inoperable if stolen.

The Smartphone Theft Prevention Act is being led by Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), along with three other senators, Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii). The idea is for users to be able to de-activate and remotely wipe their personal information from their phones if lost or … Read more

Which apps chow down on your data plan?

You can now find out how much data is used by certain mobile apps before you download them.

Served up by CTIA - The Wireless Association, a Web site dubbed KnowMyApp.org tells you how many megabytes -- or gigabytes, even -- are chewed up by key mobile apps during a typical month of use. The site calculates its figures by measuring someone using the app three times a day under certain scenarios.

For example, a person using Facebook would post five comments, like five posts, view one embedded video, view three embedded photos, scroll through the Timeline, check-in once, … Read more

FCC, wireless carriers reach cell phone unlocking deal

It appears the i's have been dotted and the t's have been crossed for a new policy that will now let consumers unlock their cell phones more easily.

The Federal Communications Commission has reached an agreement with the five major US wireless carriers that requires the carriers to disclose how and when cell phones on their networks can be unlocked, according to Reuters.

"CTIA and these companies share the goal of ensuring that America's wireless consumers continue to benefit from the world-leading range of competitive devices and offerings they currently enjoy, and believe that these voluntary … Read more

New York AG to cellular carriers: Why was antitheft switch killed?

Way back when, street smarts meant keeping an eye out, being aware of your surroundings, and not walking on sketchy looking streets at night. While these safeguards still work, there's now a new precaution to add to the list: don't take out your cell phone in public, even during the day.

Smartphone robberies have sharply risen in the US over the last couple of years and crime reports show the statistics look to get even worse. That's why several lawmakers around the country have come together in the Secure Our Smartphone initiative to urge phone makers to … Read more

Take iPhone photos to the next level with Olloclip 4-in-1 lens (hands-on)

Olloclip introduced the newest generation of its popular iPhone camera accessory today, the 4-in-1 iPhone Lens.

Similar to its previous iteration, which was only a 3-in-1 lens, this new Olloclip clips over your phone's built-in lens to imbue the iPhone camera with four physical lenses: a fish-eye lens, a wide-angle lens, and your choice of two macros.

One macro has a 10x magnification with a focus distance of 18 millimeters, and the second has a 15x magnification with a focus distance of 13 millimeters.

The device is easy enough to use: simply slide it onto the corner of your … Read more

Six eye-catching things from CTIA 2013

LAS VEGAS -- When it comes to emerging tech, crazy accessories, and carrier news, you can always count on a mobile conference to deliver.

CTIA 2013 was a much quieter show than in years past, with the biggest carriers and manufacturers largely opting out to focus on their own launch events.

While this confab felt the brunt of companies' shifting strategies, the absence of the brightest stars meant that we had time to scope out other finds that would usually be drowned out in the din.

Future shows are expected to regain CTIA's breakneck pace and vigor. A move … Read more

Ashton Kutcher on why Twitter is messed up and more

LAS VEGAS -- Ashton Kutcher is angry at the state of Twitter.

"Media kind of f*cked it up," Kutcher said during his fireside chat at the CTIA Wireless show here Thursday. "Companies and people constantly pitching crap."

During a lengthy Q&A session, Kutcher touched upon many facets of technology, including Twitter, but also on Facebook, the state of digital media, and mobile apps. And unlike his "That 70s Show" character, Kelso, he was smart and passionate about his comments.

Here are some of the highlights:

On Twitter: There's too much … Read more

Angry Birds creator Rovio: We're an 'entertainment' company

LAS VEGAS -- Rovio, the company that developed the popular Angry Birds games, is not just a mobile gaming company anymore. It's an "entertainment" company, says Chief Operating Officer Harri Koponen.

Speaking at the CTIA 2013 trade show here Wednesday, Koponen described the company's evolution from casual game-maker to media mogul. The company, which launched its first Angry Birds game in December 2009 on the iOS platform, has built an empire around the lovable, wingless Angry Birds, which players hurl at structures to protect their eggs from "bad piggies."

"Entertainment is a big … Read more

Google talks back in new voice search

CNET Update wants answers:

In this episode of Update:

- Get chatty with Google's new voice search on the Chrome browser. But Google's still working out the kinks, so don't expect it to be flawless at first search.

- Give your home the right touch with a Kwikset Kevo door lock that opens with a finger tap.

- Hear what a Walmart executive has to say about the future of shopping with apps.

- Plan to give your future GM car some apps to call its own.

- Share your e-mail to advertisers with the click of a tweet. … Read more

Verizon partners with JLo's Viva Movil to target Latinos

LAS VEGAS -- Verizon Wireless is teaming up with actress and singer Jennifer Lopez to better address the growing Hispanic market.

On Wednesday the company announced a partnership with Viva Movil, a new brand created by Lopez to capitalize on the fastest growing demographic in the U.S.

"This new company is here to revolutionize the entire mobile experience for Latinos," said Lopez. "There's no specific place for Latinos to be specifically catered to. We will continuously evolve the wireless shopping experience with Verizon Wireless's guidance and support."

Lopez, who will serve as chief … Read more