Exploding phone blamed for Malaysian VC’s death

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iPhone fire
It's very rare, but smartphones can catch fire. They aren't known to explode powerfully enough to kill someone, though.
Photo: Langley Township Fire Department

A Malaysian man perished in a fire in his bedroom, but his family and his company say he was actually killed when the phone charging near his bed exploded.

“He had two phones, one Blackberry and a Huawei. We don’t know which one exploded,” said the brother-in-law of Nazrin Hassan, the CEO of a venture capital fund.

T-Mobile, Sprint launch campaign for megamerger approval

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t-mobile
T-Mobile CEO John Legere is talking really fast convincing the FCC and the public that the proposed merger with Sprint should go through.
Photo: T-Mobile

T-Mobile and Sprint promised the FCC today that their proposed merger will lower costs for consumers and create more jobs. They also launched a website laying out the advantages of the New T-Mobile to the general public, including millions of iPhone users.

Combining the third and fourth largest U.S. carriers is a controversial idea. Megamergers typically lead to higher costs for consumers and significant layoffs, not the opposite. It’s up to the two companies to convince the FCC that things will be different this time.

Square offers alternative to its iPad point-of-sale register

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Square Register POS terminal
Larger companies might choose the Square Register POS terminal, instead of the iPad-based option.
Photo: Square

Square provides cash registers for small businesses. For years, these were built around iPads, but the company now makes Square Register, its own Android-based point-of-sale terminal.

It hasn’t dropped the iPad version, but recommends its own system for businesses that take in over $125,000 per year.

LG disses iPhone in whiny new ad

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LG v iPhone
Put that iPhone down and smile for the ThinQ.
Photo: LG/YouTube

With its smartphone sales in sharp decline, LG takes aim at the iPhone in a television ad that seems desperate to drum up excitement for its new flagship handset.

The commercial for the new LG G7 ThinQ features actress Aubrey Plaza and shows a village of people using every criticism the Android community has ever hurled at the iPhone to try and convince a whiny user named Ryan to switch to the ThinQ.

Samsung Galaxy X folding phone could cost twice as much as iPhone X

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Samsung's concept folding smartphone.
Samsung concept folding device shows what the Galaxy X could look like.
Photo: Samsung

Apple and Samsung are both supposedly working on foldable phones. The Korean company will get its out first though, but hold onto your wallet, it’s going to be shockingly expensive.

An analyst predicts that this device, allegedly called the Galaxy X, will cost about 2M Korean won, or $1815. That’s nearly double the iPhone X, which drew criticism for its $999 price tag.

Verizon’s new data plan even more unlimited than its other unlimited plans

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verizon-adds-20-fee-to-all-smartphone-upgrades-image-cultofandroidcomwp-contentuploads20160314777958118_8f2ab75b15_k-jpg
For about $100 a month, you can use more than 2GB of 4G LTE data each day without worrying about throttling.
Photo: Verizon

Verizon just created a new top tier to its unlimited data plans. It was designed for “super users who want the most,” according to the carrier.

The Above Unlimited plan offers 75GB of unthrottled 4G LTE data, and 20GB of unthrottled hotspot data, for $95 a month.

Twitter redesign doubles down on news

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Twitter
Twitter is going to show you lots of news, all through the app. Hopefully that's what you want.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

A Twitter redesign will put breaking news and sports events at the top of your timeline. Expect updated iOS and Android apps to emphasize current happenings over casual chat.

Apparently being brushed under the rug are pictures of your cat. Twitter seems to want people to be consumers of Tweets, not creators.

Neural networks make Google Translate app smarter, more accurate while offline

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Google Translate is now better, even offline
On-device learning should make the Google Translate app much better at its job.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Neural machine translation (NMT) has made the online version of Google Translate more accurate for years. Today, this AI feature was added to the iOS and Android apps so it can be used offline.

NTM allows the software to learn over time to create better, more natural translations. And this function is available while traveling without a local data plan.

Google borrows iPhone X navigation system for Android

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Android P has a similar swipe-based navigation system as the iPhone X, and it supports screen cutouts.
Android P has a similar swipe-based navigation system as the iPhone X, and it supports screen cutouts.
Graphic: Google

Anyone who’s used an iPhone X already knows how to navigate around in the next version of Google’s mobile operating system. The company showed off Android P at its developer conference today, and it includes a touch bar at the bottom of the screen, just like Apple’s flagship phone.

Android P also natively supports screen cutouts, so device makers will be able to easily produce iPhone X clones.

Apple Music videos make the leap to Android

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Music Video
Apple Music -- now with added music videos.
Photo: Apple

Apple has rolled out its new music video-oriented Apple Music app update for Android.

Now available to download in the Google Play store, the Apple Music 2.4.2 update boasts the same “music video experience” recently added with iOS 11.3. That means that users can access a plethora of exclusive music video playlists curated by Apple.