TechSummit Rewind #019: April 17, 2015

Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily look at the day’s top technology stories.

Spotify wants you to spam Twitter with new ads

Spotify is rolling out the Tweet the Beat feature to get users to spam Twitter.

The feature started appearing this weekend, and automatically displays a fullscreen pop-up ad for mobile Spotify users with pre-populated text and a button to tweet Rihanna with thanks for her “B**ch Better Have My Money” single. Desktop clients get the same pop-up. These pop-ups randomly appear when searching for playing music.  Spotify’s free service includes ad-supported streaming, but its premium plan will also get Tweet the Beat ads despite spending $9.99 a month to ditch ads.

Sprint now sending people to your home to deliver, set up your new phone

Sprint is beginning a new program today in Kansas City that has new phone upgrades delivered to a location of their choice, complete with a transfer of all the files and settings from their own phone. It’s called Direct 2 You, and its home delivery meets customer support. It’s designed so that customers no longer have to go to a Sprint store or wait for the UPS/FedEx guy, but it’s also a personal customer service experience that walks you through setting up your new device.

The new free service is primarily for Sprint customers who are due for an upgrade, though the company will also use it to lure new customers in. In either circumstance, once a new device gets purchased, Sprint arranges delivery to a place of your choosing.

“What makes this unique is that we will deliver pretty much anywhere: Starbucks, work, home, at the gym – we can do all those different things, and it’s an exact on-time delivery. You can tell us ‘6:45, and meet me at McDonald’s.’”

-Rod Millar, Sprint VP to The Verge

Sprint is using a third-party partner to do the legwork, though you’ll know they’re from Sprint, right down to their vehicle.

The company will do some hand-holding on the phone as well to do thinks like confirm scheduling, make sure passwords get stored somewhere, and help start a phone backup to a computer or cloud service, according to Millar. Just like at Sprint’s retail stores, they’ll ferry your data over from different platforms, whether it’s from iOS to Android to Windows.

Along with setting your phone up, Sprint is using this opportunity to push its trade-in program, which buys old devices for bill credit.

“When we started brainstorming, this was a point that came up in the first hour, and the answer is no, this is not about upsell at all. These guys, and ladies and gentlemen, they’re people pleasers. They will be measures on how happy and delighted [customers] are. Not if they’ve sold any extras.”

-Rod Millar

The program’s starting out in Sprint’s hometown of Kansas City, MO, before expanding to Miami and Chicago on April 20th and nationwide.

Apple’s Music app getting visual overhaul in iOS 8.4

iPhone5s-5Up_Features_iOS8_2-PRINT

Apple’s iOS 8.3 update has been available for a few days now, which means it’s time for something new. iOS 8.4 has popped up on the company’s developer channel, which brings a revamped Music app.

According to 9to5Mac, the main feature is a new design that borrows from streaming services like Rdio by letting users add their own photos to playlist album covers, and from iTunes with features like a miniplayer with small controls and a peek at what’s going to play next.

Apple: WWDC 2015 beginning June 8th

WWDC 2015

Apple’s 2015 Worldwide Developer Conference will start on June 8th at San Francisco’s Moscone West. You can apply for tickets now, or stream sessions live if you can’t make the voyage to the Bay Area. We will cover WWDC 2015 right here on Paw Print and TechSummit, so stay tuned.

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge is ridiculously expensive to make

SM-G925F_026_Combination-1_Green_Emerald

It’s no secret that Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge is a pretty expensive buy, but there’s now a good explanation. According to HIS, the raw price of assembly for a 64GB Verizon model is $29. That’s more expensive to make than both the Galaxy S5 and 128GB iPhone 6 Plus. The bendy AMOLED screen is unsurprisingly the most expensive component with an $85 pricetag, although the Exynos 7 processor, 3GB of DDR4 memory and flash storage don’t help, either.

World’s first USB Type-C ‘Superphones’ come from China

leTV Le Max

After the Nokia N1, the new Chromebook Pixel and the new MacBook, we kinda saw this one coming. We are now seeing the world’s first USB Type-C smartphones from LeTV, who has unveiled three new Android 5.0 “Superphones” that feature the reversible connector. The flagship aluminum Le Max (pictured above) is a spechead’s dream with a 6.33-inch Quad HD display, 2GHz octa-core 64-bit Snapdragon 810 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of internal storage, a 21-megapixel f/2.0 camera with optical stabilization and dual-tone flash and a bright UltraPixel front camera.

The Le Max also boasts an ESS Hi-Fi chip with AKG’s audio tuning, a one-touch fingerprint reader on the back, infrared remote, a 3,500mAh battery, dual LTE SIM support and WirelessHD display link, but what will catch your attention upon first look is the design cues taken from the iPhone 6 Plus, Huawei Mate 7 and HTC One Max.

The smaller Le 1 Pro is essentially a resized Le Max, with a smaller 5.5-inch screen, 13-megapixel rear camera with optical stabilization, a smaller 3,000mAh battery and 32GB or 64GB of storage. The fingerprint reader and Wireless HD are also here. As for hardware, it looks like the iPhone 6 Plus, the Huawei Mate 7, the Meizu MX4 Pro and HTC One Mini.

For the affordable Le 1, it feels more like a bog-standard phone with great value. You get a 5.5-inch 1080p display, 2.2GHz octa-core 64-bit MediaTek Helio X10 processor, 3GB of RAM and storage options of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. The main camera and battery are practically identical to the Le 1 Pro, though there’s a five-megapixel front-facing sensor with wider optics. Also, there’s no Hi-Fi chip found here and unibody design, which got traded out for a plastic-on-aluminum-frame approach.

The Le 1 starts at $240, and the Le 1 Pro starts at $400, and the Le Max remains a mystery. If you live in China, you can pre-register for the first 200,000 mass-production Le 1 and Le 1 Pros, which will be open at 10 AM local time on May 5th.

MOTI desk gadget motivates you with tangible, positive reinforcement

The MOTI is a little gizmo that you place in plain sight that acts as a motivator, hence the name. It works by just putting it as your desk or wherever you might see it daily and press its face when you do the task you have trouble keeping up with.

When you complete your ritual, the gadget lights up and vibrates or chirps. The idea is that because MOTI is constantly in sight, it’s a visual reminder to keep doing something – like typing a note to your finger, but for modern times. Current use scenarios include drinking enough water per day or going to bed early.

EU formally accuses Google of monopolistic search practices

Google EU accusation

The European Union has formally accused Google of illegal, monopolistic practices, starting that the company abused its place as the leading search engine by prioritizing its own services in search results and diverting traffic away from its competitors. The company could be fined up to 10 percent of its yearly earnings or as much as $6 billion. The EU also announced a further investigation into the Android operating system which could result in more fines.

“In the case of Google, I am concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service, in breach of EU antitrust rules. Google now has the opportunity to convince the Commission to the contrary. However, if the investigation confirmed our concerns, Google would have to face the legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe.”

-Margrethe Vestager, EU competition commissioner

The EU is accusing Google of a number of unfair practices, as outlined in its statement of objections. These include prominently displaying its shopping service in search results ‘irrespective of its merits,” and lowering the search rank of rival services. The EU notes that this conduct began in 2008, and that Google’s first comparison shopping service, Froogle, was not given this favorable treatment and “performed poorly.”

“We do not wish to interfere with screen design … or with how the algorithm works. Rather, what we would like to see is that consumers are certain to see the best comparison shopping results.”

-Margrethe Vestager

“Any economist would say that you typically do not see a lot of innovation, new entrants or investment in sectors where competition is stagnating – or dominated with one player. Yet that is exactly what’s happening in our world.”

-Amit Singhal, Google Search senior vice president, in a company blog post responding to the accusations

Jawbone’s new health bands: $99 Up2, AmEx payment-toting Up4

Jawbone Up2

Jawbone has debuted two new health bands: The $99 Up2, which sits between its $50 entry-level Up Move and $179 Up3, and it includes pretty much everything from last year’s Up24 in a more stylish frame. The $199 Up4, however, is basically the Up3 with NFC payments, thanks to a partnership with American Express. Jawbone’s Up2 is available now in black at the company’s store, Amazon and Best Buy, with more colors to come, and the Up4 is coming sometime this summer.

Find your Android device by Googling “Find my Phone”

Google Find My Phone

Google’s making it even easier to track down your misplaced Android device. Opening a Google omnibox and typing in “find my phone” now displays a map that reveals the device’s current resting place. If the device is nearby, you can also ring your phone. Unfortunately, Find My Phone does not allow you to lock or erase your device if it is stolen – you will still need to use Android Device Manager for that.

Meerkat wants to beat Periscope on Android

meerkat

Meerkat is hoping to catch an edge over fellow iOS only streaming app Periscope with a public Android app beta launch.

There’s no word on when the app will actually be available. Periscope’s parent company, Twitter, has confirmed that it will come to Android “soon,” so it could steal Meerkat’s thunder.

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