The contactless payment feature on your bank card is ideal for speeding up minor purchases, and soon it'll be able to replace your Oyster, too. London buses have supported contactless payments for some time, and Transport for London (TfL) has today announced that come September 16th, they'll get you through the barriers at Tube, Overground and DLR stations as well. The benefit of using your bank card is you never have to top it up, and in addition to the daily cap on travel charges already in place, any method of contactless payment will also be subject to a new weekly cap (Monday to Sunday), whereby TfL figures out the cheapest possible fare for that period. You'll be able to keep track of your journey and payment history via an online account, much like you can with a registered Oyster card now. Implementing contactless payments across the wider London transport network comes after a pilot that's been running since April, but TfL are still looking for new lab rats to test the system before its formal launch.

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You're lucky if you can sleep easily and wake up feeling refreshed all the time -- some people need a bit help to get a good night's rest from apps and gizmos, like this new device called Sense. The gadget, which looks like a crystal ball with rubber bands, acts as some sort of a bedside sleep guardian that monitors not only your sleeping habits, but also environmental conditions. It comes with a "Sleep Pill" that clips to your pillow, which tracks your tosses and turns, automatically transmitting data to Sense via Bluetooth Low Energy and ANT. The gadget then relays all the info you need, including a sleep number to let you know how well (or how bad) you've slept, through the system's iPhone or Android app.

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When Amazon purchased Comixology, it was a herald of change: iOS users lost the ability to purchase comics in-app, Android users were gifted with a new purchasing system and, now,the digital book seller is going DRM-free. Sort of. Comixology CEO David Steinberger announced today that DRM-free backups of select comics are now available to download in PDF and CBZ format, giving readers the ability to enjoy their content outside of the Comixology ecosystem for the first time. That said, it's somewhat limited: backup downloads are only available to book published by Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Zenoscope Entertainment, Thrillbent, Top Shelf Productions and MonkeyBrain Comics -- in other words, publishers that have already dabbled with DRM-free comic distribution.

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Apple's set-top hobby has come a long way since its major refresh in 2010, thanks largely to a variety of services bringing different content to the platform. When it comes to gaming, however, the Apple TV isn't exactly a powerhouse, despite being able to support it through AirPlay features -- something similar to what Real Racing has done in the past. Another developer that's made use of this particular second-screen kind of experience is Rolocule Games, and it just announced a new free title (with in-app purchases) dubbed Dance Party.

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Snapchat's meteoric rise made one thing abundantly clear -- the market would soon be flooded with copy cats. The next major player to try and drink Snapchat's milkshake might be Instagram. A banner introducing Bolt, a service for "one tap photo messaging," appeared at the top of the company's mobile app last night. The announcement was quickly pulled, but not before several people grabbed screenshots and started passing them around on Twitter. Unfortunately there's not much more detail to share at the moment, but the move will definitely raise a few eyebrows. For one, it would seem like a trivial feature to simply integrate into the existing Instagram app. Secondly, with Facebook's Slingshot already offering ephemeral photo and video messages, Bolt seems like a duplication of efforts. Of course, there's always the chance that Bolt will offer some truly unique twist on the format and shove pretenders to the media messaging crown aside.

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Oppo Find 7 review: A solid phone that faces stiff competition

The Galaxy S5. The One M8. The G3. Every notable player in the overcrowded smartphone space has a flagship, one heroic device that the company pins its hopes on... for a year or so, anyway. For Oppo, a Chinese phone maker whose profile has swelled thanks to a surprisingly solid phone lineup, that flagship is the Find 7: an unassuming slab that looks painfully pedestrian compared to the last time the company went all out. Maybe that's a bit harsh. The Find 7 pairs top-notch performance with one of the highest-resolution screens you'll find on a mobile today -- hardly a formula to sneeze at. But is it worth the $599 asking price? Is Oppo really a mobile force to be reckoned with? Follow me, friends, and we'll figure it out together.

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Last year we would've bet our lunch money on Vodafone being the first UK carrier to release an own-brand LTE smartphone. After all, we spotted a "Vodafone Smart 4G" picking up its roaming permit from the US communications regulator, and only a few weeks after the carrier switched on its UK LTE network. Alas, the phone was destined for other European countries and EE pipped Vodafone to the post with the launch of the 4G-friendly Kestrel. Vodafone's finally caught up, however, releasing a pair of LTE handsets under its own name: the Smart 4 power and Smart 4 turbo (left and right in the image above, respectively). The turbo is the inferior of the two, with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 4.5-inch 854 x 480 display, while the power is outfitted with a 1.3GHz quad-core Mediatek processor and 5-inch HD screen (we assume that means 720p). Otherwise, both have 1GB of RAM, unspecified amounts of on-board storage (with microSD support), 5-megapixel main shooters, front-facing cameras, and run Android 4.4 KitKat.

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Handsome American soldier behind his computer -talking on the phone

Watson supercomputer has a new and very important job, one that's a lot different from beating Jeopardy champions or whipping up BBQ sauce recipes: helping vets return to normal life. IBM has recently formed a partnership with the USAA (the financial services firm for soldiers and their families) to create an app that can answer ex-soldiers' questions about finances and the like. For instance, a vet could ask Watson how he can get a job, what his benefits are, what his insurance covers or what the GI Bill entails. Even though Watson's been wearing many hats for years, this is the first time anyone developed a consumer app based on the supercomputer. This app pulls data from more than 3,000 documents that deal with military transitions, in hopes of making things easier for the 155,000 soldiers who retire from service every year.

[Image credit: Getty/Mie Ahmt]

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Taking a payment on a Square Reader attached to an iPhone

Consumers have been automating apps with IFTTT (If This Then That) for awhile by, say, backing up Instagram photos to Dropbox whenever they snap a photo. Now, businesses will be able to take advantage of IFTTT directly from the Square mobile payment app. For instance, rather than just yelling "Booyah!," a company can send out a company-wide congratulatory email after closing a huge deal. Similarly, a text alert can be issued to team members to follow up a customer refund -- all of which can be pre-programmed into IFTTT. It'll also work with services like Google Drive, Twitter and SMS, to name just a few. Hopefully companies won't abuse it -- we'd hate to see a tweet after buying a particularly sensitive item.

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Crossbar's resistive RAM

You may think that the 3GB of memory in your new smartphone is hot stuff, but that pales in comparison with what Rice University has in store. Its scientists have detailed a form of resistive RAM (RRAM) that can be made using regular equipment at room temperatures, making it practical for everyday gadgets. The trick is the use of porous silicon oxide where metals (such as gold or platinum) fill the gaps. Using the silicon material doesn't just give manufacturers something familiar to work with; it requires much less power than previous techniques, can last through 100 times as many uses and isn't fazed by heat. It's also far denser than earlier RRAM, storing nine bits per cell where even conventional flash storage stops at three. The result should be an easy-to-make RAM chip with the kind of capacity that you'd normally expect from much larger permanent storage, like an SSD -- as the company Crossbar hinted when it first discussed this approach, you could stuff 1TB into a component the size of a postage stamp.

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LG has just reported a record quarter for mobile phone sales, showing that it's taking advantage of a slump from arch-rival Samsung. LG sold 14.5 million handsets over the last quarter, its highest total ever and 20 percent more than last year -- with more than a third of those LTE models. It chalked up most of the success to its well-reviewed top-of-the-line G3 handset, along with strong sales of its mid-range L products. LG's mobile division scooped up KRW 3.6 trillion ($3.5 billion) and put an end to three straight quarters of losses. Home entertainment also performed well, climbing 3 percent on the strength of higher-margin UltraHD 4K sets. All that resulted in an operating profit of KRW 412 billion ($599 million) -- not nearly Samsung-level numbers, but at least LG's are going up, not down.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 (left), leaked Galaxy Alpha (right)

Many have assumed that Samsung's fabled metal smartphone would be a very high-end device, but some new leaks hint that it could be considerably more modest. Both SamMobile and Tinhte have posted photos of the Galaxy Alpha (shown on the right), a mid-range Android handset that reportedly touts a 4.7-inch screen and that long-rumored, slightly more fashionable metal trim. It's not certain exactly what's under the hood beyond LTE-Advanced data, although SamMobile suggests that the internals would slot in neatly between the Galaxy S5 and its smaller, slower mini counterpart. Alongside a previously rumored 720p screen, the Alpha would supposedly pack 32GB of (sadly non-removable) storage and either an Exynos 5 Octa or a Snapdragon 800 for a processor -- good enough, but not great.

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Google Maps' Explore feature on Android

Google quietly slipped out a big upgrade to Maps' local discovery features on iOS a couple of weeks ago, and today it's Android's turn. Once your device gets the refresh, you should see a new Explore guide that offers suggestions for things to do based on both context and your tastes; it knows not to point you to a nearby park when it's raining, and can suggest breakfast spots the night before you need them. In that sense, Google Maps could become a solid alternative to familiar location-based recommendation apps like Yelp and Foursquare. Don't be surprised if it takes some time for Explore to arrive, though. It's just starting to reach Android this week, so you may have to rely on other tools for a little while longer.

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If you've hailed an Uber ride on a Windows Phone handset, you're aware that the you were beamed to the service's mobile site rather via a full-fledged app. That changed today, as the taxi outfit returns to Microsoft's mobile OS with proper software. This means users can lock in location, call for a ride and sort payments with a properly equipped handset. Uber's app is missing a few key features though, as in-app fare quotes, sharable trip info and fare splitting are on the way soon. While that's a bit of a bummer, the new version is available now for those looking to take advantage.

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Puppy Pop on an LG G3

Are you an impulsive gamer? So impulsive that you can't even wait to unlock your phone before you start playing? If so, LG is entirely willing to cater to that (frankly disconcerting) behavior. The company has just launched Puppy Pop, the first game designed to work with the G3's QuickCircle case. It's a clever demo of what that round case window allows, although it's only a game in the loosest sense of the word. All you're doing is matching as many puppy heads as you can before time runs out -- it might do for a quick diversion at the bus stop, but it's not hard to see this wearing thin over time. You can grab the app today if you're curious, although you might want to wait for more substantial titles down the road -- or better yet, unlock your G3 and make full use of the phone you paid for.

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