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Jawbone’s UP and UP24 app adds contextual health data, food tracking

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Jawbone has announced an update for its iOS companion app that allows users to track their diet as well as their exercise and sleep. Launched in 2011, Jawbone’s Up hit the market ahead of the wearables craze. The issue is now that we have Android Wear, the Galaxy Gear, and Pebble, devices like the UP and the UP24 start to look a little one dimensional in terms of functionality. (more…)

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Visa launches Visa Checkout, a device-agnostic payment service with iOS and Android SDKs, Canadian availability

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On a still-unfinished floor of its expansive new One Market headquarters in downtown San Francisco today, Visa unveiled Visa Checkout, its attempt to simplify and expedite online and mobile payments. The move is meant to make it easier for both consumers and merchants to plug into the robust Visa network, which processes 43% of all Canadian e-commerce transactions today.

Replacing the confusing and under-utilized V.me, Visa Checkout “is not a wallet,” according to CEO Charlie Scharf, but a representation of where the company is moving in facilitating all kinds of payments. “Payments are no longer done with just a plastic card; financial institutions are no longer the only endpoints.”

The idea behind Checkout is take the friction away from digital payments, either in a browser or a mobile app. The announcement coincides with a new button that will appear on the pages of select Canadian retailers: ClearlyContacts.ca, Cineplex Entertainment, Beyond the Rack, World Vision, and Cymax Canada are launch partners, with lululemon, Staples Canada, Ticketmaster, Newegg.ca and Tigerdirect coming in next few months.

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Tab brings its mobile restaurant payment solution to Android

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Take a good, hard look for Tab in the Google Play Store, and instead you’ll come across myriad ways to play “Stairway to Heaven” on a guitar.

But once you’ve overcome the SEO calamity of this mobile restaurant payment app from the Toronto development team previously behind Huddlers and Chime, you’ll find a great new way to split, share and pay for meals in some of the city’s best restaurants.

Launching on Android this week, co-founder Adam Epstein told me that the number of restaurants supported by the check in-based solution has doubled in the three months since the iPhone release, from 12 to 24, with more coming soon. The company has transacted close to $100,000 in bills, denoting a slow but steady climb from obscurity. (more…)

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OtterBox partners with Nina Garcia for fashionable Symmetry Series case

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When OtterBox announced its new Symmetry Series of cases earlier this year, the company really pushed the whole ‘fashion and function’ thing. OtterBox cases don’t have the best reputation for being very stylish, but the Symmetry Series sought to change that with a moulded plastic and rubber design in a range of fun colours. Now, the company is taking things one step further with a collaboration with Colombian fashion journalist and critic Nina Garcia. (more…)

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Poll: Half of GTHA transit users would ‘likely’ use smartphone to pay

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As Metrolinx’ PRESTO Card system continues its slow and steady roll out across the GTA, it seems a significant portion of transit passengers are actually ready to use their phones to pay for their journeys. Or at least they think they are.

According to a poll carried out  by Forum Research Inc., 50 percent of regular transit passengers said they were likely to pay with their smartphone and 32 percent of those people said they were either extremely likely or very likely to use their mobile device to pay for their trip. Those numbers sound pretty encouraging, but ‘likely’ to pay by smartphone and actually paying by smartphone are two very different things. Forum Research’s poll goes on to report that only 14 percent of those surveyed are currently using their smartphones to pay for anything.

(more…)

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BlackBerry announces Siri-like Assistant for upcoming 10.3 release

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BlackBerry continues to sing the praises of its as-yet-unreleased Passport smartphone. The device has been getting a lot of press for its unique design and BlackBerry doesn’t want you to miss the fact that people are talking about its brave attempt to produce a game-changing phone. The latest bout of chest-thumping switches things up a bit, focusing not on the hardware but the software. This comes via the official Inside BlackBerry blog, which today introduced us to the BlackBerry Assistant app, BlackBerry’s answer to Google Now and Apple’s Siri. (more…)

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Study: Annual Internet of Things spending to increase 375% by 2018

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A recent IDC survey commissioned by TELUS has revealed that only a small portion of Canadian businesses have an Internet of Things solutions in place. This is despite the fact that IoT spending is expected to grow by 375 percent in the next four years.

Right now, only six percent of Canadian businesses have an IoT solution in place. A further seven percent will deploy solutions this year. According to IDC, annual IoT spending in Canada sat at $5.6 million in 2013. That number will apparently jump to $21 billion in 2018. (more…)

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Bootloader unlock process for the Xperias just got easier

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Smartphone manufacturers generally believe that the custom UI they slap on top of their phones’ Android install is perfect. It’s the best possible experience you could have on a phone and you would never, ever want to change it, right? Well, not quite. Many companies  recognise that devs and enthusiasts like to tweak the software, root their devices and flash custom ROMs. Though unlocking the boot loader actually voids the warranty in a lot of cases, a lot of manufacturers are happy to tell you how to do it, and Sony today announced that it would be  making its Unlock Boot Loader service even easier to use. (more…)

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RBC Express Mobile app now available for Android, iOS and BlackBerry

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RBC already has its every day banking app available on Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone, and now Canada’s largest bank has targeted its mobile business customers. The RBC Express Mobile app for business owners offers the ability “to stay on top of important business banking tasks.”

Business owners can view balances and transactions, transfer funds between accounts, approve payments and find branches and ATMs.

RBC notes they are the “first financial institution in Canada to offer a mobile business banking app on all major platforms.” However, the RBC Express Mobile app is currently only available on Android, iOS and BlackBerry, with Windows Phone 8 not even scoring a mention (latest comScore stats showed WP8 at 2% market share in Canada). We asked RBC about a pending Windows Phone 8 app and representatives noted “we want to make sure our mobile offerings are available to a sizeable portion of our business clients and also offer the great user experience and security that RBC is known for. We will continue to monitor client usage on the prevalent mobile devices and will prioritize accordingly. ”

Source: App Store, Google PlayBlackBerry World
Via: CNW

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Samsung reportedly in talks to acquire SmartThings for $200 million

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The connected home is gaining traction this year as we’ve recently seen several major acquisitions in the category. In January, Google acquired Nest for $3 billion, known for its the popular Learning Thermostat and Protect Smoke Detector. More recently, Apple announced its first Internet of Things-based projects with HomeKit.

Now, according to a report on TechCrunch, Samsung has purchased Washington-based SmartThings for $200 million “to get out ahead of Google’s Nest efforts.” Samsung has previously delved into home automation through its Samsung SDS subsidiary, providing the building blocks for a smart home in the form of smartphone-enabled door locks and custom lighting solutions, among others. (more…)

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