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Visa just made it easier for the next iPhone to become a payment platform

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Visa today announced a consolidation of its disparate payments solutions into Visa Digital Solutions, a suite of products, services and developer tools aimed at bringing payments to smartphones and wearables.

Last week, the company launched Checkout, a multi-screen solution for online payments. But omitted from that announcement was an explanation of how Visa plans to tackle the next generation of physical payments, which is made more complicated by the tenuous relationship between merchants, acquirers, financial institutions, government bodies and Visa itself.

As detailed in a release today, Visa Digital Solution tackles the problem of future payments into categories: support for new payment methods; and next-generation consumer protection measures. (more…)

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Xbox One SmartGlass Beta for Android and Windows Phone adds game purchases

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Microsoft’s latest console, Xbox One, is set to receive its August update in the coming days, and beta versions of the SmartGlass companion apps have been updated for Android and Windows Phone.

The new version of SmartGlass offers a number of new features, including low battery notifications and detailed activity feeds for each user account. But the crowning achievement, and what was most highly-requested among feedback givers, is the ability to purchase games, apps and add-ons from a smartphone or tablet. Once purchased, the software will begin downloading automatically on the console itself, ready to go when the user gets home.

The functionality has only been added to the beta versions of the app, and will be rolled out to the mainline branch, including on iOS, when the console update goes live in early August.

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Virgin Mobile will also release the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2S, starts taking Tester Team applications

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The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2S is heading to Bell on July 28th and it seems that its sub-brand Virgin Mobile will also carry the mid-range Android device. While not yet officially announced, Virgin has started accepting applications to its Tester Team for “an army of super-savvy Member phone lovers” to test out the Idol 2S.

Those interested in possibly scoring a free phone will have to submit the reasons why they’d be “an awesome addition to the VMC mobile phone tester team.” Virgin notes in the fine print that there are five spots up for grabs, and the “retail value of each prize is approximately $299.99.” This price is right in line with the no-term pricing that Bell will reportedly ask when it launches the device.

Source: Virgin
Image: CNET

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Chrome 37 Beta brings Material Design to Chrome for Android

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Google today announced the beta release of Chrome 37 for Android. The app will hit the Google Play store sometime today and brings a couple of key changes.

The most important is probably the Material Design makeover. Google has brought the Material Design aesthetic to Chrome beta in preparation for Android L, the next version of Android. Announced at Google I/O, Android L will feature Material Design elements throughout the OS.  (more…)

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LG sees 20 percent boost in smartphones sales for Q2

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As earnings season rolls forward, LG has joined the slew of companies reporting quarterly results. Though the company is celebrating its strongest quarter profit in three years, it was the success of its own smartphone business that LG chose to highlight.

According to LG, the LG Mobile Communications Company has shipped a record-high of 14.5 million smartphones in the second quarter alone. This represents a 20 percent increase compared to the same period last year, and a 16 percent increase over Q1, when LG shipped “just” 12.3 million phones. The mobile division’s Q2 operating profit of $83.4 million US marks the end of three consecutive quarters of losses. LG credited the upcoming LG G3, which is already available in Korea, for contributing to such a successful quarter. The company predicted higher revenues due to the G3 when it reported Q1 earnings back in April. (more…)

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Google announces new Explore feature for Google Maps

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Google is really spoiling Maps users this month. Just last week, an update to Google Maps added the ability to view elevation when planning cycling routes and the ability to ask questions during Navigation. Now, Google is introducing (via server-side switch) a new feature for iOS and Android users that will help you discover new and exciting things to do wherever you are.

Explore is a button that pops up on the bottom right of your map and will help you find nearby points of interest, places to eat, and things to do based on your location, the weather, how far you’re willing to go, and the time of day. You can toggle these settings if you’re looking for a recommendation for another time or for restaurants in another place entirely. (more…)

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FiftyThree launches SDK for its iOS-based Pencil stylus

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FiftyThree, the creators of the popular Paper app for iOS, has released its first SDK for developers to integrate its Pencil stylus into third-party apps.

The FiftyThree SDK is timed just before the public release of iOS 8 (and during the beta period) to offer developers the option of adding surface pressure, palm rejection, simple pairing and touch classifiers in apps other than Paper.

Pencil was developed as a way to easily sketch and draw on an iPad, and like a real pencil has an “eraser” on the opposite end of the stylus to easily remove marks on the page. Pencil costs between $60 and $75 depending on the finish (either graphite or walnut) and works with all iPads after the iPad 3. Surface pressure is a feature coming in iOS 8, which mimics the idea of surface tension without a pressure-sensitive digitizer.

The FiftyThree SDK has already been integrated into several apps, including Procreate, Noteshelf and Squiggle, with more to come.

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SyrupCast Episode 5: Culture Club Sandwich

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This week on the SyrupCast, we’re joined by new MobileSyrup member, Jane McEntagart, whose seven years of industry experience makes us look like a bunch of newbs.

We dive into important mobile payment news from Visa, some unfortunate layoffs from Microsoft and Rogers, an important regulation that will affect both Google and Apple’s app stores, and we’ll delve into the Nvidia Shield Tablet, a brand new gaming-oriented Android tablet. (more…)

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LG to bring G Watch to TELUS and Videotron retail stores in early August

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Right now, the only place to purchase an LG G Watch, the company’s first Android Wear smartphone, is on Google Play.

The Korean company, however, is working to bring the device to Canadian retailers, beginning with TELUS and Videotron in early August. The price will remain $249.99, and it appears that, for now, the only choice of colour will be black, but it’s a start. LG says it is working with big box stores like Future Shop and Best Buy, in addition to carriers like Rogers and Bell, to stock the colourful wrist piece, too.

Read our full LG G Watch / Android Wear review for more.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 Alpha leaks online, shows its metal frame

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This is the Samsung Galaxy S5 Alpha. Previous reports indicated that this new Android smartphone would officially be announced next month, and a new set of images has arrived to confirm both the name and design.

As expected, the Galaxy S5 Alpha will target customers pining for Samsung’s hardware in a premium metal body. The Galaxy S5 Alpha looks similar to the Galaxy Note 3 in design with= curved edges and a faux leather back, but the bezels appear to be significantly smaller. (more…)

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