Pinterest on an iPhone

You may have carefully crafted a Pinterest board to plan your dream vacation, but how are you going to make that trip a reality? Pinterest thinks it can help. The social site has launched an app developer platform that lets you take action based on your boards and individual pins. You could book an itinerary in a travel app based on your pinned destinations, for instance, or create a dinner board based on recipes in a cooking app. The platform is in a US-only beta phase at the moment, so it could be a while before you're using Pinterest-savvy apps. However, it could be worth the wait if you've spent more time yearning for pinned goods than getting them.

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AT&T signage

The big US telecoms are trying every trick in the book to kill net neutrality, and that includes some very specific tactics. AT&T, CenturyLink and multiple industry groups have sent filings to the FCC asking it to block specific procedures, not the neutrality rules themselves. They want to stop the Commission from both reclassifying the internet as a utility and implementing a standard that prevents providers from "unreasonably interfering" with your internet access. Purportedly, these moves would require "crushing" costs and might chill investments in network upgrades -- arguments we've definitely heard before.

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Internet.org

Led by Facebook but with backing from a number of other prominent tech companies, Internet.org has made slow but steady progress in a bid to connect underserved countries around the globe. However, despite its altruistic approach, the project has come under fire in India for allegedly violating net neutrality rules by favoring certain carriers, sites and services. Zuckerberg and co. certainly don't want those criticisms hanging over their head, so today the Facebook CEO confirmed that the company will open up the Internet.org platform to developers, allowing them to create their own mobile-centric tools for millions of (often) first-time internet users.

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HTC's all about its One M9 in the West, but we know many of our readers would rather have the slightly bigger and more powerful M9+. While chances of the latter device escaping Asia are slim, a mysterious plastic variant dubbed "M9e" brings us new hope, courtesy of China's TENAA certification database. With the exception of the missing Duo Camera, this model shares the same face plus specs with the M9+: 5.2-inch Quad HD display, 2.2GHz octa-core processor (likely MediaTek's), 3GB of RAM, 20-megapixel main camera (with dual-tone flash), UltraPixel front imager, microSD card expansion and fingerprint reader. What's uncertain is whether the IR blaster is still present at the top, but regardless, it's safe to assume that HTC will be offering this plastic device with a more affordable price -- probably one that's not far off from the even bigger E9+.

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Android figurines

If you've used ad-sponsored Android apps, you've probably wondered where those ads are coming from, and whether or not there's anything to be worried about. According to French researchers, you have a reason to be cautious. They've found a way to automatically scan Android apps for connections to advertising and user tracking sites, and some of those programs are more than a little dodgy. A selection of 2,000 free Google Play apps connected to a whopping 250,000 sites spread over 2,000 domains. Most of them talk to only a handful of sites (Google's ad services dominate the top 10), but 10 percent connect to 500 or more -- one egregious offender links to over 2,000 sites. Only 30 percent of the apps talked to user tracking sites, but some of those were communicating with 800 or more addresses.

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Sony Xperia E3

Sony's Android smartphones haven't been tinkerer-friendly to date -- since you couldn't boot from a recovery partition, you couldn't install CyanogenMod and other unofficial operating systems without jumping through hoops. It should be much easier to mess with your software from now on, though. Sony is quietly releasing bootloaders that let you boot from that recovery space, which opens the door to installing both custom Android ROMs as well as very different platforms, like Firefox OS or Ubuntu Touch. The catch? Right now, the only devices that support these bootloaders are lower-end models you probably don't use, like the Xperia E3, M2, T2 Ultra and T3. You won't be modifying the heck out of your Xperia Z3 just yet, then, but that's no longer a far-fetched idea.

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Amazon Echo speaker

You can tell Amazon's Echo speaker to directly control certain apps and services, but what if you want it to send information to other apps that you use more often? That's where IFTTT's new Alexa channel might save the day. Give the Echo a command and IFTTT will relay certain tasks to key apps. You can deliver your to-do list to Gmail when you ask the speaker about your itinerary, for example, or add your grocery items to Evernote without touching your phone. Frankly, this makes the Echo a lot more useful in daily life -- you no longer have to change some of your app habits to make the most out of Amazon's audio cylinder.

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Since it launched in February I've been a pretty big fan of the Saturday Night Live app, and the latest update should make it quite a bit better. Now there's native iPad support (hooray!) in addition to it being available on Android devices. NBC's also gone back and remastered some of the old sketches, added around 400 more (including some of the late Phil Hartman's "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer" bits) and tossed AirPlay support in so you can watch the clips via an Apple TV. Curiously, Chromecast beaming is still missing in action, but at least now you can text the new Church Lady emoji to let a pal know they're speeeecial.

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Emojis are starting to flood Instagram, and the website's engineers are on a quest to sort out how people are using the yellow-faced emoticons. Apparently, their popularity skyrocketed after Apple released the iOS emoji keyboard and Android got native support. In just a single month after the iOS emojis came out, their usage on the website increased by 10 percent. Now, nearly 50 percent of all captions and comments have an emoji or two. Instagram's research has also revealed that folks in Finland insert emojis most frequently, with 63 percent of all text posted from the country containing at least one graphic. The US (38 percent) takes the ninth place in that list, after France (50 percent), UK (48 percent), Germany (47 percent), Italy (45 percent), Russia (45 percent), Spain (40 percent) and Japan (39 percent).

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at Microsoft's annual "Build" conference in San Francisco, Wednesday, April 29, 2015. While Microsoft has already previewed some aspects of the new Windows 10, a parade of top executives will use the conference to demonstrate more software features and app-building tools, with an emphasis on mobile devices as well as PCs. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Referencing former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's infamous "developers!" chant is practically a cliché nowadays, but it felt like the silent refrain throughout the company's entire Build conference this week. In the run-up to Windows 10, Microsoft wants developers. It needs developers. And it will do whatever it takes to get them -- even going so far as to allow devs to recompile their Android and iOS apps without much fuss. None of this seemed possible from Microsoft years ago, when simply owning the dominant desktop platform was enough. But now with mobile devices and the cloud in play, Microsoft needs to evolve. And by doing so, it's also making Windows 10 a far more exciting upgrade than Windows 8 ever hoped to be.

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Grand Theft Auto V has a few mobile apps of its own, but one enterprising modder has taken the idea to its natural conclusion: an application that lets you control the in-game cellphone with an iPhone. With the application you can scroll through text messages on-screen, peep your current list of objectives and, among other things, even control the in-game phone's camera. The YouTube video's description (spotted by former Joystiq'r Dave Hinkle) does't offer much by way of details other than it's running on an Arduino Leonardo with an Ethernet shield connected to a PC, sadly.

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FBI Director James Comey visits Denver FBI Field Office

It's no secret that local law enforcement offices around the US are using a tool called Stingray to track cellphone locations without the approval of a judge. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from MuckRock's Alex Richardson, the FBI released thousands of pages of heavily-redacted documents, emails and more concerning the project, including one titled "Cellphone Tracking for Dummies." The super secret Stingray device is provided to local authorities by the FBI, creating fake cell towers that force nearby handsets to connect to it -- even those belonging to folks other than a suspect. And as you might expect, in addition to tracking, it also reveals the identity of the phone's owner. Included in the collection is loads of correspondence between the Bureau, Boeing, the Harris Corporation and local law enforcement. Those two middle companies, by the way, are manufacturers of the tech.

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The temptation to write off Meerkat -- the live-streaming app that sort of blew up at SXSW -- is tough to resist. After all, Twitter wasted no time releasing a competitor (with a cleaner interface, no less) that slowly seems to be eating Meerkat's lunch. For now though, Meerkat's got one leg up on its bitter new rival: The team released an Android version of the app that actually works the way it's supposed to. You see, Meerkat technically beat Periscope to Android by launching a closed beta app in mid-March, but you could only watch live streams, not start your own. In other words, it was almost completely pointless. Not so anymore!

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Look, sometimes it takes a little while for things to reach their full potential. Or does it? In our review of the HTC One M9, we talked about how lackluster the smartphone's camera is, especially when compared to rival flagships like the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6. That said, HTC has released an update to its standalone camera app that will make quite a few people happy. Available now on Google Play, this version of the HTC Camera is finally getting RAW support, which will let those of you with an M9 start capturing uncompressed image files -- unfortunately, that's the only device compatible with the new feature. You can grab the refreshed app right now -- and once you've taken it for a spin, be sure to share your thoughts with us.

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Amazon has given its Instant Videos app for iOS a huge boost, and just in time for the weekend. First up: you can now finally watch movies and shows in HD on your devices. No more putting up with standard definition if crisp, clear visuals are essential to your enjoyment. You'll likely still find yourself switching to lower resolution every now and then, though, especially if you're using cellular data. Yep, that's the other big upgrade -- you can watch your shows even in the absence of WiFi, so long as you have decent mobile connection. Thankfully, that feature comes with new settings that let you choose the quality of the stream, and hence the amount of data you'll use. The update's now live on iTunes if you want to take advantage of the new features... or to give the app another shot.

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