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A number of Chromebook Pixel owners were very angry when the free data that came with their Pixel notebooks was turned off only a year into the two free years promised. Google had nothing to do with the data being turned off; Verizon is the one that made that decision.
Google said earlier this week that it would hand out $150 gift cards in an effort to appease angry customers who were already talking about a suit in some cases. Verizon has now announced that it will be turning the free data back on.
Verizon was to provide two years of free data with Chromebook Pixel owners getting 100MB monthly at no cost. It's unclear if angry customers are the reason Verizon is turning the data back on or if the data plan ended early by accident. Verizon said in a statement over e-mail: "We understand that a very small number of Chromebook Pixel customers may have had a promo end prematurely. We apologize for this, and will work with these customers to address the situation".
Google Glass isn't exactly widespread in adoption just yet, mostly due to the high price of the wearable device. That doesn't mean that other electronics firms aren't looking to challenge Google in that market. Lenovo has filed a patent app for a Glass competitor called Electronic Device and Sound Capturing Method.
Art with the patent makes it clear that Lenovo is looking at a wearable device looking very much like Glass, even if the name of the patent doesn't hint at a wearable device. Lenovo's patent shows an audio and video recorder and VOD displays.
The patent also lists bone conduction microphones in the earpieces and wireless communications. Descriptions in the patent app call the product out as a recording device, which is apparently a way for Lenovo to try to avoid suits from Google. There is no indication of if this product will come to market.
Twitter users have had the ability to quote another tweet for a while that gives you the option to add some of your own comment to a tweet. When you only have 140 characters to work with, having to quote a tweet in your tweet leaves little room for your thoughts. Twitter is now testing a new feature called retweet with comment.
The new feature allows the user to retweet the original tweet and add their own comments without using any of their 140 characters for the quote. Random twitter users are now seeing the retweet with comment feature right now after the feature was tested with some twitter workers internally.
While this new feature sounds like a really good idea, there is no guarantee that it will be permanently implemented into the twitter app and website.
One of the big selling points for the Google Chromebook Pixel notebook was the fact that the machine had free data from Verizon Wireless. The free data pool was small from the get go with only 100MB of free data each month for two years.
I'm sure that Verizon had hoped some of the Chromebook users would see the need for more data and buy upgrades. Verizon made many owners of that Pixel notebook very angry when it cut the free data off early. Verizon began to turn off the free data only a year into the two-year agreement. Some users began threatening Google with a lawsuit over the cut off.
Google has now stepped in and is looking to sooth some of the ruffled feathers of users with a gift card with $150 of free money to spend. The money can be used to pay for additional data to cover the second year of ownership or other items. Verizon sells 3GB of data that can be used over 90 days for $20 meaning that $150 will more than pay for an extra year.
The fortunes of Foxconn, the maker of most of the Apple gadgets on the market, are directly tied to the fortunes of the companies it manufactures goods for. That means as sales slow for the companies it builds products for, its sales slow as well. Foxconn chairman Terry Gou is urging shareholders to be patient and allow the company time to invest in new businesses as sales slow.
The new businesses that Gou and Foxconn are hoping to invest in include car electronics and cloud computing among others. Gou said during an annual meeting, "Please be patient, don't be in a hurry. I'm also the biggest shareholder, so if it's bad for Hon Hai it's also bad for me."
Foxconn also plans to increase its investments in robotics and add additional skilled jobs as the company seeks to meet its 10% growth projections. Gou has met with other companies seeking expansion and those companies include Tesla and SoftBank Corp among others.
Carbon Design Group, the company that helped make the Xbox 360 controller (and its transforming d-pad) and the Kinect for Microsoft, has been acquired by Oculus VR. Better yet, Oculus VR has said that it has been working with Carbon "for nearly a year on multiple unannounced projects".
Oculus VR said on its website: "We're thrilled to announce that we've agreed to acquire the Carbon Design team, one of the premier industrial design and product engineering teams in the country, with over 50 awards to their name. As part of the deal, the team will officially become a key component of the product engineering group at Oculus, operating from the Carbon studio in the Seattle area. They'll also be working closely with the Oculus R&D team based out of Redmond".
Carbon Design Group has been in business for over 20 years, and in that time has been a product design and development consultancy firm that has developed consumer, industrial and medical products for companies all across the world. Carbon hasn't just been working on video game consumer electronics, it has helped design computer mice, air purifiers, medical imaging equipment and much more.
AT&T and DirecTV executives appeared to discuss the blockbuster acquisition, but lawmakers seem frustrated that AT&T couldn't say if the deal will lead to reduced prices for customers. House and Senate antitrust panels are currently discussing the AT&T-DirecTV merger - and whether or not it should be allowed.
Although AT&T and DirecTV are involved in programs to help promote the communities they serve, not everyone is happy about what could happen. Public Knowledge senior staff lawyer John Bergmayer said the deal "fails the antitrust test" and "fails the public interest test," with consumers losing out.
"No sir, I can't," said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, when asked if the acquisition will lead AT&T to commit to lower prices for customers. "one would have to believe in the market and the market pressures, and that market pressures will compete margins away and cost savings will find their way into prices."
A campaign group is seeking to turn the island of Jersey, just off the coast of Normandy, into the most welcoming location for Bitcoin in the world.
Although it's already possible to use the cryptocurrency in a smattering of places around the web and in the physical realm, it's not quite widespread yet. Now bit.coin.je, a new industry body, is hoping to turn Jersey into a "Bitcoin Isle". Jersey is famous as a hotspot for offshore banking, and in a blog post, the group said it is now working with the Channel Islands Information Security Forum to explore how the cryptocurrency can augment this.
In a statement, the CIISF's chairman Matt Palmer said: "Cryptocurrencies are much misunderstood but have the potential to revolutionize the financial system," before adding that currencies such as Bitcoin "could well underpin the future of offshore finance centers."
Google is currently testing a new domain registration service called Google Domains. Google is very early in the testing process for the new service and Google Domains is reportedly an invite only beta service for now. People familiar with the product say that Google has no plans to provide web hosting.
Once Google Domains launches to all users it will support the buying and selling of domain names. Each domain sold by Google will support up to 100 email addresses and up to 100 customized sub-domains.
Sprint has been rolling out HD Voice in markets around the US for months now and has recently announced that HD Voice is now nationwide. Sprint's HD Voice service is currently supported on 28 smartphones on the postpaid side of the network and on 33 devices on the pre-paid side. About 16 million Sprint customers have access to HD Voice enabled devices at this time.
HD Voice uses tech to minimize background noise allowing calls to be clearer. Along with nationwide HD Voice service, Sprint has also announced that it has activated new LTE networks in 28 markets Sprint now covers 471 cities with LTE.
Right now 225 million people are covered by Sprint LTE service with the carrier expecting to cover 250 million people in the US with LTE by the middle of 2014. Sprint Spark service is turned on in three new markets including St. Louis, Winston-Salem and Greensboro, N.C.