O2 already has a number of deals in place that allow its customers to buy digital wares and charge the cost straight to their phone bill. It now has a new partner in Apple, as the carrier's "Charge to Mobile" program has been expanded to include iTunes vouchers this week. Direct-carrier billing is supposed to be about convenience, but O2 contract and pay-as-you-go customers need to jump through a few hoops to take advantage of this new way to pay. It's handled through an O2 subsite -- o2vouchers.co.uk -- where you select an iTunes voucher of up to £30 that'll be emailed to you when the payment goes through. You then volunteer your mobile number, and you'll be sent a text you must reply to in order to approve the transaction. When the code eventually hits your inbox, you can use the credit in iTunes, iBooks and the iOS/Mac App Stores. A slightly more convoluted process than you were hoping for, we imagine, but at least you can get a fiver off a £25 voucher from now until this introductory promotion closes at the end of next week.

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One downside of Indiegogo's lax attitude to projects is that there's no requirement for a prototype or any proof that the device being pitched could even exist. In fact, the site is so laissez-faire, that a creator could probably promise a hoverboard powered by unicorn tears, and the only limit to its success would be human credulity. In unrelated news, Arubixs has taken to Indiegogo to ask for $300,000 of funding for Portal, a flexible, bendable smartphone that can be worn on your forearm like Leela's Wristlojackimator - with a watch strap holding it in place at either end.

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Premier Inn Smart Hotel Room

More than four years in the making, Premier Inn has taken the wraps off its first smart hotel rooms. The UK's biggest hotel chain has embraced mobile with both hands, letting you book your stay, check in and play with various room settings using its official iOS or Android apps. The 123 square-foot rooms in its flagship "hub" in Covent Garden (which opens in November but is now available to book) come furnished with a 40-inch smart TV and as much free high-speed WiFi as you can guzzle. With an app that can seemingly control everything, including the room temperature and what's on the box, we wonder if London's street performers will notice a sudden drop in donations as guests ditch sightseeing for some technology-enabled R&R.

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Apple has finally revealed the date that its new iPhones will be available to eager users in mainland China: Friday, October 17th. The devices had been delayed pending regulatory approval, but Apple was granted a license earlier today by the Chinese government -- despite some security concerns. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will go on pre-order starting October 10th, with units available a week later at Apple Stores and all three major carriers. Both phones will support TD-LTE and FDD-LTE, meaning 4G speeds will be available to users at China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom. So far, the lack of availability has meant extortionate prices for smuggled models, though there's been an alarming lack of demand in the gray market. But at least Chinese Apple fans will avoid the parade of early iOS 8 bugs.

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Back in April, Project Ara's Module Developers Kit revealed that the phone's battery will be hot-swappable; in other words, you can replace it without having to switch the phone off. Nifty trick, right? Well, the feature's apparently not limited to the device's battery. Project director Paul Eremenko has recently divulged in a keynote that you'll be able to swap the phone's other modules around, save for the CPU and display, even if you're in the middle of typing out a message or of a phone call. You've got the modified version of Android L that the team developed with non-profit org Linaro to thank for that, as it was the key ingredient Team Ara needed to make most of the phone's components hot-swappable.

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Microsoft's virtual assistant comes in handy for lots of things -- especially reminders. Now, thanks to a hand from SeatGeek's ticket engine, Cortana will alert you when bands you listen to on the regular have a tour stop close by. As you might expect, in addition to date and venue info, the add-on will also provide you with ticket prices and a handy link to purchase. A Concert Watch option is rolling out to the Music section of Cortana's Notebook, and toggling the option on will keep you informed about performances in your area. Google Now does something similar for the Android faithful, displaying concert dates based on artists from your search queries. If you're unable to see the new feature, sit tight: it appears to be on its way to handsets.

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Social media and civil unrest have long gone hand-in-hand, from coordinating revolution during the Arab Spring to repressing corruption in Turkey. Amid pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, locals have taken to the location-based messaging app FireChat to communicate with each other. 100,000 local users signed into the off-the-grid messaging app for the first time last weekend after a student activist recommended the app for communication should authorities switch off cellular networks. The app creates a mesh network between nearby users using WiFi, cellular data, or Bluetooth, allowing them to communicate with people even when strict firewalls are in place. For now, it looks as though we're a long way away from the heavy-handed tactics of other governments, but FireChat's sudden popularity shows locals are keen to stay one step ahead when it comes to communication.

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Advertisers aren't always a fan of investing in mobile. Part of that reason is that the ads you see on phones and tablets don't command the same amount of attention that ads do on desktops. Google is working on new ad units though that could lure in the big brands, though users might find them somewhat infuriating. Of the four new designs, three are fullscreen ads and some are interstitial ads that would take over the screen at a "logical break point" while you're using an app. These ads could even include video or interactive elements, which pretty much turns them into in-app commercials. So, between levels three and four of the next Angry Birds licensing debacle title you could be watching a 20 second ad for Perdue chicken breasts. Or, you could just be blindly skipping by the ads that hijack your screen to sell paper towels, skin cream, or anything else.

Update: And lest you think Google is about to single-handedly destroy the mobile app landscape, this is pretty similar to an initiative launched by Apple recently.

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Can a 6.1-inch smartphone ever be accepted in the mainstream? That was what Jonathan Fingas asked while reviewing Huawei's Ascend Mate, and found the answer to be a resounding "no." The handset offered a lot of things that did impress him, including a staggering battery life, big display and the company's Emotion UI. On the downside, the old(er) internals, 3G-only modem and modest storage meant that the device had "niche proposition" stamped all over it. But, what about you, out there? Did you buy one? If so, what did you like, what did you hate and what, if anything, would you change? Head to the forum and spill your brains.

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DreamWorks' How To Train Your Dragon 2

SoftBank may have already bought both a major mobile game studio and one of the US' largest carriers, but it apparently isn't done expanding its turf just yet. Both Hollywood Reporter and the Wall Street Journal claim that the Japanese carrier is now in talks to buy DreamWorks Animation, the movie studio you likely know for How To Train Your Dragon and Shrek. Reportedly, SoftBank chief Masayoshi Son wants to wield exclusive content as a weapon against rival mobile networks. While the sources aren't diving into specifics about the potential partnership, it wouldn't be surprising if you could eventually buy Sprint phones that come bundled with DreamWorks' latest flicks.

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Not too long ago Vine blessed iOS users with the ability to import pre-existing videos into the app, and now Google fans can get in on the action. Any clips in your Android camera roll are viable subjects to be trimmed down to six seconds or shorter now, and you can activate your device's flashlight to work as a flash in low-light situations. There are a few other features too, and you can check those out on the app's Google Play page. Now all that's separating your from internet stardom is, well... you.

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The creators of controversial app Secret have just launched a new product, but this time, it has nothing to do with airing your dirty laundry anonymously. They call their new application Ping, a simple software that displays a list of topics (such as movies and new Twittter trends) right on your lock screen. Like its name implies, it pings you whenever it detects new results for the topics listed on your display, which you can then access by dragging the circle on the top right corner. Ping starts with a bare-bones list as you can see in the video after the break, but more topics get added to your screen the more you use the app and the more it gets to know you. Similar to Secret, you don't even need to sign up or have a username to be able to use it, as it was a product of a company hackathon "where the goal was an exercise in simplicity." In an interview with Re/Code, Secret co-founder David Byttow says that Ping has nothing to do with the company's previous product. You can download the app right now if you're on iOS, but if it follows in the footsteps of its older sibling, it should be available for Android in no time.

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AT&T store in San Francisco

Given the avalanche of new smartphones this fall, there's a good chance that your data use is about to spike as you put that fresh hardware through its paces. If so, AT&T might just have you covered. It's running a promo between September 28th and October 31st that doubles the amount of data you get with its Mobile Share Value plans, whether or not you're a new customer. Signing up for the special rates nets you up to a hefty 100GB per month of shared data at the high end. However, the starter offer is arguably the best -- $130 per month (plus line fees) gets you 30GB to play with, which should hopefully accommodate your family's Netflix viewing habits. AT&T's deal isn't necessarily as sweet as what you'll get with Sprint or T-Mobile, which start at a respective $100 and $140 per month for roughly the same service. However, it's competitive enough that it could keep you on Big Blue's network for a little while longer.

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LG's apparently gearing up to release a new smartwatch in the US other than the G Watch R -- one that's 3G-capable, just like Samsung's Gear S. A document that's just passed through the FCC points to an oval/rectangular LG smartwatch (57.7 x 35.5 mm) slightly smaller than the Gear S (58.3 x 39.8 mm) which comes with CDMA connectivity. Because of its codename (VC100) and the fact that it supports Verizon's CDMA frequencies (according to the FCC docs), it might just land on Big Red if there's a US launch. With 3G connection built into the watch, it can presumably work on its own -- download apps, make phone calls, send messages and connect to the internet, among others -- without being paired with a smartphone. It may take a while until the mysterious smartwatch comes out, though, seeing as LG's answer to the Moto 360 isn't even out in the US yet.

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Google's Nexus line has long stood as the company's ideal vision of its widely adopted, open-source Android operating system. The devices, be they smartphones, tablets or even one-off media streamers, are built in conjunction with select hardware partners and represent an ideal marriage of tech specs with an unadulterated version of Android. It's Google's way of dealing with fragmentation (read: skinned versions) in the mobile OS market it created; a reference mark for manufacturers to aspire to, so to speak.

On the tail of the original Android handset's sixth anniversary and in the run-up to whatever new Nexuses come next, we take a look back at the hardware path that's been Google's gold standard for Android.

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