A South Korean startup said it is developing a watch-like device that will allow smartphone users who are visually impaired to read text messages and other data in Braille. The Dot, priced at less than $300, will free users with impairments from relying on Siri and other personal assistants and will instead use magnets and a grid of pins to create Braille characters.
Apple has quietly begun testing the idea of becoming a mobile virtual network operator in the U.S. and Europe, which would mean it would lease spectrum from a carrier and sell it to consumers, this report states. Fully rolling out the service could take Apple five years, the report adds.
A Washington, D.C., federal appeals court has set Dec. 4 to hear oral arguments in the telecom industry's challenge to the Federal Communications Commission's Net neutrality regulations. That court overturned the FCC's last attempt to establish Internet traffic regulations.
Sprint improved in the quarter that ended in June, netting 675,000 customers as its losses narrowed, but the carrier fell to fourth place behind T-Mobile US. Sprint also made management changes, as Chief Financial Officer Joseph Eutenauer announced his resignation. Tarek Robbiati, recently the head of Australia's FlexiGroup, will replace Eutenauer. Sprint shed 12,000 phone subscribers in the quarter, a vast improvement over recent periods.
Apple and Google plan to add software features aimed at providing useful information to smartphone users before they ask for it, industry observers say. Apple, for example, offers Proactive Assistant, which learns how users behave with their devices, while Google has Google Now in its arsenal.
AT&T is promoting a $200 monthly cellphone and TV Everywhere bundle that it plans to offer throughout the U.S. -- marking the first fruits of its merger with DIRECTV. Starting Aug. 10, the carrier will provide four phone lines with unlimited voice and texting, along with 10 gigabytes of sharable data. On the video side, AT&T will hook up four TVs with HD and DVR features and the ability to watch on any mobile device.
Driveway Software has developed an application that can provide data on a person's driving habits. The company has raised $10 million toward bringing the technology to market. The app works through a driver's smartphone in any vehicle, even older ones without telematic technology, the company said. The app, which can prove valuable to parents and insurance providers, also offers tips on improving safety and fuel efficiency.
Germany's BMW, Audi and Daimler have partnered to buy Nokia's Here mapping unit for $3.1 billion, including debt, in a deal expected to help the automakers move toward developing driverless cars and other next-generation in-car technologies. Nokia Here drew a majority of its $1.1 billion in revenues last year from carmakers, with the rest coming from location-based services.
Microsoft is expected to fall short of its goal to upgrade all Windows Phone 8 subscribers to the Windows 10 Mobile platform, states this report, which claims only 14 of the 24 Lumia handsets available in the U.S. contain the necessary Denim software to move to Windows 10.
Verizon Wireless expanded its small-cell reach by installing 12 base stations in Grant Park for Chicago's Lollapooloza rock festival last weekend. The Ericsson-produced small cells will remain in the park as a replacement for "colts," temporary mobile cell towers.