• Google Plans To Get 'Fit' On New Health Battlefield With Apple
    Google will follow Apple onto the battlefield over "quantified self" and sensor-based fitness tracking. Rather than a competitive advantage, health platforms are table stakes in mobile OSes now. The real unknown is how much and how well Americans really want to make Big Data personal.
  • Starbucks Wants To Power Up Your Phone (And Maybe Its Payments)
    Starbucks has made no secret of its ambitions to make mobile a key part of its growth strategy. As of April, the coffee chain said 10 million customers are actively using its mobile app -- double the number a year ago -- and that mobile payments account for over 14% of spending in its North American stores, up 75% from a year earlier. The company this week announced plans to install Powermat wireless charging stations that will allow customers to power up their phones. The rollout is slated to begin in San Francisco and expand to other cities through 2015.
  • Connected Baubles: The Internet Of Oh-What-The-Hell-Why-Not?
    Get ready for sensors everywhere. Connectivity meets wearables meets Big Data meets Internet of Things -- a buzzword perfect storm no MBA or VC can pass up.
  • Hiring Signals Facebook Getting Serious About Mobile Payments
    With PayPal President David Marcus making the leap to Facebook, speculation has already begun about how the move could help the social network jumpstart its payments business. Marcus will oversee Facebook Messenger, the company's stand-alone app with 200 million monthly users. But so far the app doesn't carry advertising or allow users to send or receive money or make consumer purchases. Facebook has allowed the app's user base to grow to critical mass globally unfettered by commerce, but that may be about to change with Marcus' hiring.
  • Tango Goes Deeper With Content, Advertising
    Among the top messaging apps, Tango might be thought of as the anti-WhatsApp. Unlike the famously ad-free app acquired by Facebook this year, Tango has embraced advertising, third-party content, and features like animated stickers. A recent report by IPG Media Lab on the latest wave of popular messaging apps called it the "blingiest" of the bunch.
  • Apple's Spotsetter Acquisition Hints At iWatch Functionality
    Apple's reported acquisition of social search and contextual recommendation service Spotsetter surely will add to the company's attempts to prop up its mapping. But its founder appears to think the technology is as much about powering wearables.
  • Amazon Phone Latest Front In 'Platform War'
    The unveiling of the long-rumored Amazon smartphone appears to finally be at hand. Invites sent out Wednesday for a special launch event on June 18 in Seattle were paired with a teaser video showing first-time users reacting to a device just off-screen. Their awestruck expressions and awkward body language suggest they are trying to trigger the phone's rumored 3D "holographic" display.
  • Shhh! Secret Service Seeks Social Sarcasm Sniffer
    We knew they were paid to appear humorless, but apparently the Secret Service really does need help detecting sarcasm. An RFP is calling for software that will help them filter and monitor social postings. Nothing funny here.
  • 'Affluents' More Likely to Satisfy Hunger, Make Donations Via Mobile
    According to new research from Experian Marketing Services, consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to make food purchases, including grocery home delivery and in-store. In its annual Digital Marketer: Benchmark and Trend Report, Experian focused particularly on the habits of "affluents" -- those making $100,000 or more annually. As Pew Research studies have also shown, more affluent consumers tend to have higher levels of device adoption and mobile interaction, and are also more likely to make mobile purchases.
  • Apple's Messages Upgrade Won't Kill WhatsApp
    Amid the slew of new features and updates that Apple unveiled Monday at its Worldwide Developer Conference, one that came in for an extensive overhaul was its Messages app. Apple effectively took steps to bring its own messaging tool up to speed with the leading brands in the Age of Messaging like WhatsApp, Line and SnapChat.
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