posted 6 days ago on the next web
This week is turning into a notable one for wearable devices thanks to a couple of announcements out of Asia. First, Xiaomi announced plans for a device that will retail for just $13, a truly new low pricepoint for the genre, and now Razer is revealing that its upcoming new product will integrate messaging app WeChat. The Nabu smartband borrows some functionality from a smartwatch, alongside the standard fitness and health tracking capabilities that we expect. But integrating WeChat is a very interesting move, particularly in China where the service is ubiquitously used and is even becoming a platform for developers who seek to... This story continues at The Next Web

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posted 6 days ago on the next web
Xiaomi’s office is still humming way past 7pm on the day after their major product launch event. Employees typically end their days at 9.30pm after working 12-hour-long days here, and this commitment doesn’t end post-event. For all the work that has gone into developing its products — the company says the recently-launched Mi 4 took 18 months of research and development, for example —  it is little wonder that recent claims circulating in the press about the company blatantly ripping off Apple’s products have hit its executives hard. High-profile former Google VP Hugo Barra, now VP for Xiaomi Global, said in... This story continues at The Next Web

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posted 6 days ago on the next web
Google has expanded its Street View imagery initiative in Asia after its distinctive camera-clad cars hit the roads of Laos, starting in capital city Vientiane. As is so often the case with Google Maps and Street View projects in Asia, the internet giant has teamed up with the local government and tourism organization for what it hopes will “create new ways for people around the world to experience Laos, and by doing so, help create better awareness of this country and attract more tourism.” Google says it will begin with Vientiane but hopes to cover the rest of Laos “over the next few... This story continues at The Next Web

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Has sending a text message ever come back to bite you? If so, Mark Cuban’s new startup Cyber Dust wants to save you the trouble. The ephemeral messaging app launched today on Android alongside its existing iPhone counterpart. Cyber Dust functions similar to Snapchat, but with a focus primarily on texting. Messages are erased after 30 seconds. The app sends “fully encrypted messages” and never saves the data to your device’s hard drive or a server. The Android app also disables screenshots to make it more difficult for recipients to capture evidence.       Cuban told Fox Business he came... This story continues at The Next Web

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Google announced today the upcoming addition of an Explore Nearby button for Google Maps on iOS and Android. The new feature expands the Google Maps as more than just your go-to app for directions. Nearby will adjust its results based on context, such as the weather and the time of day. Google recommends that you have location reporting and history turned on for the best results.       Android users will be able to pull up venue information at their destination. As Google Maps learns more about the places you go to, it’ll get more accurate. This sounds a lot... This story continues at The Next Web

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On-demand delivery service Postmates has announced an expanded benefits package for its fleet of couriers. The new plans match Lyft and Uber’s own $1 million liability and auto-excess insurance policies. Couriers also benefit from accident-occupational insurance that will cover up to $50,000 in medical expenses per incident. All Postmate couriers are covered under the plan and it comes at no extra cost to them. The company is also offering new “soft benefits” that include membership to healthcare group OneMedical and discounts on bike gear. As the on-demand and sharing economy workforces grow, it’s great to see a startup doing more... This story continues at The Next Web

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posted 6 days ago on the next web
If you’re wondering where all your time is going, it’s being devoured by Facebook. According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Americans are spending an average of 40 minutes a day on the social network. During today’s Q2 earnings call, Zuckerberg shared the rather interesting bit of data about how long users hang out on his social network. Last year, Facebook stated that users spent 17.39 minutes a day on the network. He also said that users are spending nine hours a day engaging with digital media, which includes, computers, mobile and TV. With that in mind, 40 minutes doesn’t seem that bad. Actually,... This story continues at The Next Web

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Facebook revealed in its second-quarter earnings today that it has 399 million mobile-only monthly active users (MAUs). That’s about 30 percent of its active user base of 1.3 billion. More than a billion users sign onto Facebook from a mobile device in a given month, but the number of mobile-only accounts saw a significant jump last quarter. The company picked up 58 million mobile-only users in the second quarter of this year. Considering that Facebook only added 41 million overall users and 62 million mobile users during the period, there’s a clear trend away from Facebook’s desktop services. The bulk... This story continues at The Next Web

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Like the rest of tech sector, Twitter has released its diversity report. Also like the rest of the sector, it’s a largely white, male dominated company. In today’s report, Twitter’s Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Janet Van Huysse stated that says that she will now focus on efforts to create a more diverse work force that’s inclusive. Currently, the leadership team at Twitter is 79 percent male. Overall, the company skews 70 percent male. The overall ethnicity of the company is 59 percent white, 29 percent Asian, with African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and others hitting only three or less percent. Twitter is being pro-active... This story continues at The Next Web

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Uber is back with a new Windows Phone app. The firm has supported Microsoft’s mobile OS before, but its previous effort was eventually pulled when users realised it was just a wrapper for the mobile site. Microsoft is trying to rewrite the Windows Phone app narrative, claiming that the applications people care about most are supported on its platform. Uber has been a glaring omission though, so this latest addition should give the company some firepower to back up its claims. Whether the app retains feature parity with Uber’s other mobile offerings is another story, however. The Uber app should be... This story continues at The Next Web

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Although we all remember the mom-and-pop shops we used before Amazon, retail is becoming an increasingly Web-based industry dominated by a mix of big companies and savvy, online-only startups. But merging old-school brick and mortar with emerging mobile and Web technologies has the potential to take the retail industry to a whole new level. To find out what strategies work best, we asked a group of entrepreneurs from YEC the following: What’s one strategy retail companies can use to stay relevant on and offline? These were their tips: 1. VIP Clubs We work with a number of clients in the retail space and have... This story continues at The Next Web

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Blue Ant has today announced that its HD Sportsbuds headphones are available in the UK, having first gone on sale in the US earlier in the year. With the promise of  ‘wireless’ in-ear buds we wouldn’t have to take out from the start of a training session until stepping out of the shower, we decided a quick review was in order. Blue Ant may not be as much of a household name as brands like Beats or Sol Republic, but we’re no stranger to the name, both for headphones and headsets. And with the PUMP HD now being offered for sale directly from Apple... This story continues at The Next Web

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posted 6 days ago on the next web
Des Traynor is the co-founder Intercom, the easiest way for Web and mobile businesses to understand and communicate with their customers. This post originally appeared on InsideIntercom.  Communicating with a large user base is damn hard. Every product owner knows this. We’ve been doing our best to help Intercom customers with this, explaining how to plan a good message schedule, and giving seminars focussing on communication to convert and retain customers. Thankfully it’s working. High stakes communication Mailing tens of thousands of people is really stressful. Nervous pacing, constant questioning. The worry rarely that our customers won’t like the message, product communications are... This story continues at The Next Web

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Skype for Android got an update today that will add support for importing your address book into the app. While the feature is listed in the latest Google Play change log, it will switch on “in the coming weeks.” You’ll need to verify your phone number, and then your address book contacts will show up alongside your existing Skype friends. If you’d like to opt out of continuous friend search, you can do so from the settings. I’m actually surprised that the functionality didn’t exist before, but a Skype FAQ explains the previous process for adding contacts: manually typing in numbers.... This story continues at The Next Web

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posted 6 days ago on the next web
Today, Reddit officially launched its own live-blogging platform. The company calls it Reddit Live and the feature has actually been in “semi-open beta” for a few months now – you may have stumbled across its threads covering Twitch Plays Pokemon and the conflict in Ukraine. During the initial beta period, only Reddit employees were able to create these live streams and authorize trusted “reporters” to contribute. Now, anyone can use Reddit Live and submit their ongoing threads to a dedicated subreddit. Unlike traditional Reddit posts, these threads will update in your browser automatically and in real-time. They also support embedded tweets,... This story continues at The Next Web

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What developer Marvin Lee means when he says his new Truefilm photo editing app for iPhone is a “combination of AfterLight, Facetune and Over” is that its editing tools span — rather lightly in some cases — the key areas in which each of those apps individually excel. AfterLight (99 cents) is a general all-purpose editing app that covers basic photographic adjustments and throws in a batch of filters and photo frames for good measure. Facetune ($2.99) as its name implies, is more specialized and concentrates on improving skin tones and masking imperfections. Over ($1.99) is a typographic app that lets you create handsome, whimsical titles as well... This story continues at The Next Web

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posted 7 days ago on the next web
As we navigate our way through the world, sometimes we just need to stop and Instagram the flowers. Be sure when you do, the path is on your turn by turn navigation. You wouldn’t want to have to read any unnecessary road signs. Make sure you tweet about missing your exit to your house though, since the GPS didn’t alert you quick enough to make the proper lane change. This is how many of us navigate through the world now, and it is so very dysfunctional. With every additional technology that assists in exploring the physical world around us, we are... This story continues at The Next Web

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posted 7 days ago on the next web
Duolingo today launched Test Center, its own English language certification exam that can be taken on the Web or an Android device. The fresh alternative to standardized language tests was first announced by Duolingo co-founder Luis von Ahn at our TNW Europe 2014 conference in Amsterdam. It gives learners the ability to take a 20-minute exam from the comfort of their own home, and it’s priced at just $20; a similar test in a bricks-and-mortar facility would cost over $200, Duolingo claims. Cheating is obviously a concern, so the company is using remote proctors to monitor each exam via a... This story continues at The Next Web

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posted 7 days ago on the next web
Foursquare is preparing a major redesign of its original mobile app. After it pulled the traditional check-in and launched a new, standalone app called Swarm, the company is giving its existing discovery and location-based recommendation app an entirely new look and feel. For starters, Foursquare is rebranding. The new typeface uses a darker shade of blue, while swapping out the iconic check-in logo for a pink ‘F’ emblem. Inside the app though, you’ll find a new navigation bar at the bottom, with the options Find a Place, Here, Tips and Profile. The first option has large, photo-centric segments recommending places nearby and businesses... This story continues at The Next Web

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posted 7 days ago on the next web
The economical, understated writing style of Ernest Hemingway is renowned within the literature world. Now, there’s a Windows and Mac app to help you nail the American author’s approach. Simply called the Hemingway Editor, this $4.99 app will grade your work for ‘readability’ and is able to identify sentences that are hard to read, contain too many adverbs, or terms that should be simplified. The idea received a wealth of attention earlier this year when it launched as a website – you can still use that for free, although the desktop version gives you the ability to save your work,... This story continues at The Next Web

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posted 7 days ago on the next web
The Lumia 930 is Microsoft’s first flagship Windows Phone handset since completing its acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services division earlier this year. Nonetheless, you’ll still find 5-inch handset branded as a Nokia. Having started to trickle out to retailers around the world this month, the 930 is very much aiming at the premium end of the market but manages to keep its suggested retail price below £500/$600. Oddly, Amazon still isn’t offering the Lumia 930 for sale in the UK (although its French portal is for around €525) but a number of Amazon Marketplace sellers are and online retailers like Clove.co.uk are offering it for... This story continues at The Next Web

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The magnetically connected littleBits electronics library got a new internet-connected addition. The new Internet of Things cloudBit module connects all your projects to internet-scripting service, IFTTT. The new cloudBit module connects to your Wi-Fi network and creates a connection between any littleBit projects your smartphone, IFTTT, and nearly any Internet of Things devices you may own. “The Internet of Things in particular is growing super fast and lots of money is being injected into it. But it’s more of the same finished product prescribed behavior that’s parachuted onto people,” says littleBits founder and CEO, Ayah Bdeir. “We are essentially launching a bit that... This story continues at The Next Web

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posted 7 days ago on the next web
Fantastical finally launched its uber-popular calendar app for iPad back in April, 18 months after it first arrived for iPhone. And today, Fantastical is rolling out a slew of updates to both versions. Among the updates for version 2.1 is a new snooze function that enables you to pause a calendar event for a specified period of time, which is useful for when you don’t quite have enough time to do something ‘now’. Additionally, you can also now search and add contacts or locations at the moment you create a new event, the latter of which can be achieved by... This story continues at The Next Web

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posted 7 days ago on the next web
Apple will soon allow any Mac user to download the beta version of OS X Yosemite, the latest version of its desktop operating system. To access Yosemite, you’ll need to head to the OS X Beta Program page and submit your details. As Engadget reports, only one million people will be accepted into the scheme, so if you’re interested sign up now. By registering an email address, Apple says it will notify you shortly about the OS X Yosemite beta. The early preview should be available at around 1PM Eastern/10am Pacific tomorrow (July 24), meaning there’s just over 24 hours for... This story continues at The Next Web

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posted 7 days ago on the next web
Dropbox has announced a number of product updates aimed at its small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) customers, including a much-requested option for full-text search within documents. Announced today, the update brings a number of new features to the platform for business users, including an option for setting passwords and/or an expiration date for shared links, which the company says further enhances the security for teams working on collaborative projects and frequently sharing documents. This also works retrospectively if you update previously shared documents with an expiration date or password. The minimum period for expiration dates is one day (rather than... This story continues at The Next Web

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