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Google’s SVP of Chrome and Android Sundar Pichai confirmed today that the company would start trialing its own mobile network operator services before the end of the year. Pichai made the comments at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but insisted that traditional mobile operators weren’t viewing its own MVNO trials as a threat to their core businesses. He also added that the company is actually working with a number of operators to bring the trial to market. The confirmation follows earlier rumors that Google could be considering running its own wireless service. Exactly which network company is partnering with for… This story continues at The Next Web

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Is there such a thing as “Funding February?” Has somebody coined that already? No? Good. We’re doing it here. So many African startups raised money last month that it amply deserves the moniker, and raises expectations that this year will be the best yet for African entrepreneurs looking for venture capital. Funding February The funding wasn’t localized, but spread across the continent. In Kenya, pay-as-you-go energy provider M-KOPA Solar closed its fourth round of investment through a US$12.45 million equity and debt deal led by LGT Venture Philanthropy. The company will use the money to extend its product range, grow… This story continues at The Next Web

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Privacy firm Silent Circle has revealed the successor to Blackphone, its security-focused smartphone, along with its first, somewhat confusingly branded, Blackphone tablet. The Blackphone 2 and Blackphone+ tablet will both go on sale later this year, running updated versions of the company’s Android-based PrivatOS operating system and suite of communication apps. The Blackphone 2 will arrive in the second half of 2015 and will add a faster processor, more RAM, a longer lasting battery, and a larger display. The Blackphone + tablet will follow later in the year but the company is currently keeping its specs totally under wraps. The new… This story continues at The Next Web

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Meerkat, the mobile live video-streaming service that we first wrote about three days ago, had something of a viral growth bump yesterday. Seriously, my iPhone lock screen was busy with notifications all day as new people signed up to the service and tried it for the first time. Let’s take a look at what’s happening, and whether the service has longterm viability. What is Meerkat? Quick recap: Meerkat is a live video-streaming app for iOS that allows you to share what’s going on around you. Streams can’t be watched once they’re over – this is ‘ephemeral’ video. However, the person streaming… This story continues at The Next Web

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There’s been a lot of noise about Apple possibly building cars soon, and a new bit of information has surfaced to fan the flame even more. Swiss blog Apfelblog reports that the company has listed vehicles in legal documents describing its activities in Switzerland: “Vehicles; Apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water; electronic hardware components for motor vehicles, rail cars and locomotives, ships and aircraft; Anti-theft devices; Theft alarms for vehicles; Bicycles; Golf carts; Wheelchairs; Air pumps; Motorcycles; Aftermarket parts (after-market parts) and accessories for the aforesaid goods.” Of course, the reality could be a lot less exciting than… This story continues at The Next Web

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Monday’s rolled around as it has a dreadful habit of doing. If you’re looking for something to salve the pain of another week at work, we’re here to help. We’ve pulled together all the news and features you missed over the weekend into this handy list. Just enough stuff to distract yourself from the monstrous reality of Monday. Put your phone on silent, grab your favorite hot beverage and take 10 minutes to catch up on on everything that flew past as you were enjoying your weekend. News from The Next Web over the weekend Samsung Announces Galaxy S6 and… This story continues at The Next Web

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Indian cab service Ola has acquired TaxiForSure, the country’s second largest cab aggregator, for $200 million in cash and equity today. The move gives Ola a stronger footing in its quest to dominate online taxi services in the country. Ola and TaxiForSure will continue to operate as separate services. While the former partners directly with drivers and has over 100,000 vehicles on its platform, the latter works with cab operators who run small fleets and has more than 15,000 cars in 47 cities on its roster. The acquisition won’t affect the experience for customers, but it will give Ola a bigger… This story continues at The Next Web

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Microsoft announced two new Lumia smartphones this morning at Mobile World Congress – the Lumia 640 and 640 XL – both of which will be available worldwide from April. We got a chance to try out both models and see how they perform. The Lumia 640 replaces the popular Lumia 630 and the Lumia 640 XL is the successor to the Lumia 1320. Both handsets come with a year’s license for the Office 365 suite which works on PC, Mac and Android tablets as well as on the phone. On top of that, you get 60 monthly minutes of international Skype calling… This story continues at The Next Web

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Jolla, which last hit our radar when it smashed the crowfunding target for its Sailfish OS tablet, has revealed it’s building a secure version of the OS. It’s teaming up with another Finnish firm, SSH Communications Security, to create Sailfish Secure. The companies believe there’s a need for the project as there are no European alternatives to Android and other US-based operating systems for secure communication. Details on how Sailfish Secure will work are pretty thin on the ground at the moment but Jolla says it expects the project will be ready to go next year. Sailfish is an open-source project… This story continues at The Next Web

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Virgin Atlantic has announced its latest savvy PR tie-up with new technology. Last year, it ran a six-week trial using Google Glass for Upper Class check-ins and recently announced it’s expanding that effort. It also tried out Apple’s iBeacon tech. Now it’s turned to Sony smart devices. From next week, engineers working on Virgin Atlantic aircraft at Heathrow will be conducting an eight-week trial of Sony’s SmartEyeglass Developer Edition and SmartWatch 3, along with tablets and smartphones from the company.  The company says using the smartglasses should remove paper from some engineering processes and reduce the number of journeys engineers need to make… This story continues at The Next Web

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There’s no question of Amazon being one of the world’s most important technology companies, which makes its CTO one of the most important players – so it’s with great pleasure that we’re welcoming him to TNW Conference once again to deliver some incredible insight on the company’s groundbreaking activity in recent years. As arguably one of the most successful technology experts to emerge from the Netherlands, Werner Vogels has been a regular presence at TNW Conference Europe in Amsterdam over the years. He joined Amazon in 2004, when the company was synonymous with the success of internet-based retail – but little… This story continues at The Next Web

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Streaming services like Spotify and Deezer are great when you know what you want to listen to, but despite offering charts and other discovery features, they’re not so good when it comes to surfacing new artists. For the past week, I’ve been testing out Tradiio, a new platform that turns finding new musicians into a game and rewards you for making smart picks. The service, which launched publicly today, uses a system of virtual coins. You start with a cache of currency to invest in songs. You earn more as you complete missions – short tasks like ‘listen to two hip-hop songs’… This story continues at The Next Web

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BlackBerry has updated its cross-platform messaging app BBM with a slew of new features and paid subscriptions. You can now pay a recurring fee of $0.99 per month to remove ads, and get a custom PIN for a separate monthly fee of $1.99. Custom PINs must be between six and eight characters in length, are not case sensitive and can only include letters and numbers. Premium users also get a little badge on their avatar. Group chats now support photo sharing. These images are displayed in-line and also saved to the Pictures section of each group, where you can like… This story continues at The Next Web

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A post purportedly written by ISIS supporters is threatening Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey as well as company employees because the terrorist organization’s accounts are frequently deleted from the microblogging service, reports BuzzFeed. The post was uploaded on JustPaste, and features an image of Dorsey with the cross-hairs of a gun superimposed on it. It reads, “Your virtual war on us will cause a real war on you. “You started this failed war. We told you from the beginning it’s not your war, but you didn’t get it and kept closing our accounts on Twitter, but we always come back. “When… This story continues at The Next Web

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IoT startup Bluesmart has partnered with Spanish carrier Telefónica, the company announced today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The operator will be providing Machine-to-Machine (M2M) connectivity for Bluesmart’s upcoming smart luggage. As you may remember, Bluesmart led a successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that reached its initial funding goal in only 121 minutes, and went on to raise more than $2 million in pre-orders from 8,000 backers. Its core product is an innovative carry-on suitcase that boasts features such as location tracking, device charging, Bluetooth locking and app-based remote controlling. It is now official that many of these functionalities will be enabled by a Telefónica­powered SIM card that Bluesmart will include inside of its… This story continues at The Next Web

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Microsoft has revealed that the full Windows 10 suite will be made available across all Windows 8.1 devices from later this year. Speaking at Mobile World Congress, Steve Elop – Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Devices and Services – made the announcement and explained that some of the Windows 10 features will vary depending on the specs of each device. There are currently over 2 million registered Windows Insiders who have provided Microsoft with more than 900,000 pieces of feedback re Windows 10, which has helped the company to develop and optimize the operating system for mobile. Cortana will also… This story continues at The Next Web

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Microsoft has today launched the Lumia 640, a 5-inch Windows Phone device that will go on sale in next month. The device wil initually ship with Windows 8.1 but will be upgradeable to Windows 10 “later this year,” the company said. The device has a 5-inch display and will come with 8GB of onboard storage. Alongside the 640, Microsoft also introduced a “super-sized” 640 XL with a 5.7-inch HD display and a 13-megapixel camera. It measures just 9mm thick. The devices both include 1 year of Office 365 included. Both models will go on sale in April and both will… This story continues at The Next Web

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Google+ is now being headed by product VP Bradley Horowitz, taking over from David Besbris. The social network is also being split into Photos and Streams. The announcement comes just a couple of days after Google’s senior VP of products Sundar Pichai said in an interview to Forbes, “I think increasingly you’ll see us focus on communications, photos and the Google+ Stream as three important areas, rather than being thought of as one area.” In addition to separating photo management from Google+, the company will also distance its Hangouts communication platform from the social network, and develop all three independently.… This story continues at The Next Web

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Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has launched its Yi Action Camera, a pint-sized Full HD sports shooter, for just $64. The device is currently available only in China at present. The Yi camera captures 1080p video at 60 fps and takes 16-megapixel photos with an f/2.8 aperture lens. It features slow motion and adjustable time-lapse shooting modes, is waterproof down to 40m and includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for pairing with your smartphone to transfer media. The device can easily go up against GoPro’s adventure-friendly Hero3+ Silver, which offers similar specs and retails at $300. However, Xiaomi doesn’t seem to be… This story continues at The Next Web

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Sony has today launched a new mid-range smartphone dubbed the Xperia M4 Aqua, and yes, it’s fully waterproof, as you might expect with a name like that. Aside from its water-repellent capabilities, the device comes with a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera (with F2.0 aperture lens), octa-core processor, 5-megapixel selfie snapper and a claimed two-day battery life.   Like some of the other Xperia models, it has cap-free waterproofing, meaning you don’t need to remember to close off your microUSB connector and the device should still be fine if it takes an accidental short dip. Under the bonnet, the device will arrive… This story continues at The Next Web

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Sony has announced the launch of its new Xperia Z4 tablet and it’s one of  the lightest and slimmest 10-inch tablets on the market. In addition to the 10.1-inch, 2k display, the tablet features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core 64-bit processor and supports LTE connectivity. It also has a 6,000mAH battery that Sony is capable of 17 hours of video playback and comes with 32GB of internal storage. Camera-wise, the Xperia Z4 Tablet has an 8MP sensor on the rear and a 5.1MP wide-angle front camera for video calling or selfies. Sony’s also focused on improving multimedia performance for the Z4, which includes… This story continues at The Next Web

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BlackBerry is focusing on software this year more than ever. The smartphone maker is working hard to ship a bevy of cross-platform apps for mobile devices and desktops for business users. The company will release three bundles of apps, collectively called the BlackBerry Experience Suite, that users will be able to buy individually or together, covering productivity, communication, collaboration and security tools. The new range of apps will allow users to manage work and personal messages, collaborate on documents, make voice and video calls, and encrypt their data for use across mobile computing environments. The company’s BBM messaging service and… This story continues at The Next Web

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Livestream today announced a new video encoder to its hardware product line, the Broadcaster mini. The device works with any camera that has an HDMI port, and connects via Wi-Fi to send live 1080p videos to your Livestream account. The Broadcaster mini is designed as a sequel to the original Broadcaster video encoder launched three years ago. The mini version measures in at about 2.8 by 2 inches – roughly 1/3 the size of its predecessor. It also bumps streaming speed from 2.3 Mbps to 4 Mbps, and runs on an internal rechargeable Li-ion battery instead of AA batteries. The company estimates battery life to last about two… This story continues at The Next Web

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Would you like to participate in a startup retreat on a scenic island? This is the opportunity Menorca Millennials is providing with its new program, a 20-day quarantine experiment for second-time entrepreneurs with disruptive projects. As its name suggests, it will take place in the Balearic island of Menorca, off the coast of Barcelona. According to Ricard Garriga, co-founder of the initiative, the inspiration for Menorca Millennials was its founders’ personal experience with the island. “We’d been using Menorca as a place to reduce our own mental noise, and we found out that it boosted our creativity. This didn’t happen in an isolated way; it resulted from meeting some high level… This story continues at The Next Web

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Apple today launched a new advertising campaign — during Samsung’s Galaxy S6 keynote — that highlights photos shot by users around the world on the iPhone 6. Instead of using marketing images, Apple went out and found the best shots taken on the iPhone 6 by everyday people. It gathered pictures from around the world shot purely on the iPhone 6 into a beautiful gallery and details what apps were used to capture the shot. According to Buzzfeed today, Apple approached users who uploaded the images to places like Flickr and Instagram and asked for permission to use them. Some images will… This story continues at The Next Web

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