White House on unlocking smartphones, iWatch details and more

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WhitehouseHere are the top mobile news and stories of the day.

  • The White House responds: phones and tablets should be unlockable – After the Library of Congress stated that (carrier) unlocking your smartphone would be illegal, a petition to the White House was heard, and the FCC will be investigating the legality of cellphone unlocking. The petition needed 100,000 signatures, and received the requisite number with days to spare. As I have (personally) committed to only buying Nexus devices, direct from Google, this does not effect me much, but it is more than a little illogical that users cannot unlock a device that they have purchased. Via Phone Arena, more here.
  • Google Updates Chrome For Android, iPhone And iPad With Focus On Speed, Search And Sharing – I’ll be honest, I’ve been refreshing my Play Store ever since I saw this headline. I have yet to receive the update, but for those who have, the Android version is supposed to be up to 25% faster, and the iOS versions have increased search and sharing options. Google is committed to Chrome being the best browser available for any platform (and in my mind it is). Via TechCrunch, more here.
  • Samsung Galaxy S IV specs leaked in new benchmark – The Galaxy S IV is fast becoming the worst kept rumor in smartphones. The device will be shown off next week in an event of its own, and seems to be a 5″ device with a 1080p screen. It will ship with Android 4.2, a new Exynos quad-core processor and a 13MP camera. Via Boy Genius Report, more here.
  • SmartBot uses your smartphone to power a simple robot – The SmartBot capability uses a smartphone to be the brains, eyes, ears of a small robot. With a wealth of ports, and good connectivity, the SmartBot can connect to Legos, Arduino, and more. It is set to ship in April. Via Phandroid, more here.
  • ABI thinks 2013 is the year developers go Android first, but I doubt it – This article from GigaOM explores one research firm (ABI Research) posit that developers will develop for Android first (and disagrees). The Android market is both wider and deeper, and when developers such as Rovio are making more from their ad-supported releases than their premium content, why would you not go to the larger market? It might be that “premium” app developers develop for one platform while the “free” or “in-app purchase” geared released are developed for the other. Via GigaOM, more here.
  • T-Mobile Drops Nexus 4 Price to $49 for a Limited Time – T-Mobile is selling the top Android device for just $49 on contract right now. This is a huge decrease from the former price of $199. This is a great deal for an excellent cellphone so if you are a T-Mobile subscriber and unsure what to do, look no further. Via Droid-Life, more here.
  • Bloomberg: Apple to release its iWatch within 9 months – The question right now is will Apple released a smartwatch, and if so, what will it look like? The timetable Bloomberg offers puts the device firmly in-line for a pre-Christmas release, which is perfect for the market. The success of the Pebble watch must give Apple some thought, because it’s an area of the ecosystem which they do not control at all. I think it is all but impossible that Apple does not develop a smartwatch at some point, and it will be far superior to other ones in terms of iOS integration because it will be able to access more of their operating system. Via 9to5Mac, more here.
  • Women In India Use Smartphones To Map Perverts In Real Time – This is a great story on how Indian women are getting smart, and using smartphones, to protect themselves from predators. Users are able to submit “creeps” and their locations to protect other women from these vicious crimes. Via Gizmodo, more here.
  • HTC One beats the rest, wins ‘Best Mobile Device’ at MWC 2013 – Not much was released at MWC in 2013, most manufacturers are putting on their own events instead, but HTC got a little (much needed) win with the ‘Best Mobile Device’ award. The HTC One is the evolution of their “One X” device, and is designed to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S IV, the Nexus 4 and the next Nexus generation. HTC has not really had a top-tier device for a few years, and they cannot survive on bargain devices only. Via Android Community, more here.
  • iPhone 5 Sales : 2013 off to strong start, iPhone 5 top in February – The iPhone 5 is consistently outselling the many individual Android smartphones, but not the aggregate. While the sales of one device are important, in aggregate Apple is still losing the battle against Google’s OS. Apple must consistently be outselling Android devices all year (not just when their device is recent) to hope to continue to compete. Via Boy Genius Report, more here.
  • Judge invalidates almost half of Apple’s $1B verdict against Samsung – Judge Koh is finding that the jurors did some pretty bad math in awarding Apple $1B of Samsung’s money. While I still believe this verdict will be overthrown (or successfully appealed), the longer and deeper this case is examined, the more issues that seem to pop up. Via 9to5Mac, more here.


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