Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Good news: if you want Samsung's slimmer, ritzier Galaxy Alpha in the US, you won't have to beg your Canadian friends to ship an unlocked unit across the border. AT&T has revealed plans to carry the Alpha starting on September 26th, the same day it launches up North. Be prepared to pay a premium for this compact yet speedy Android phone, though. The Alpha will cost $200 on a contract, or $613 contract-free. That's not much different than what you'd pay for the larger, slightly more powerful Galaxy S5 -- you'll have to really value the Alpha's metal-clad design for AT&T's pricing to make sense.

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Over the past few months, BlackBerry has been putting a lot of effort into building some buzz around its newest, oddly-shaped smartphone, the Passport. Today, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, company CEO John Chen revealed one of the most important aspects of the device: the cost. Chen told the publication that the BlackBerry Passport will be hitting shelves in the US this Wednesday for $599, contract free, adding that such price tag is expected to vary from country to country -- depending on sales tax and the like. Chen also said that BlackBerry's new Passport is betting on reaching and appealing to people who need to be productive, pointing to the wider screen as an example of how the device could help users. "You really are seeing a more entire picture than seeing a sliver [of screen]," Chen stated to WSJ, likely in reference to some of the most popular phones out there at the moment, such as the iPhone 6, Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8.

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Friends ("The One Where the Monkey Gets Away") is on TV, Alanis Morissette is angrily screaming "You oughta know" on the radio, your bff messages you on WhatsApp. What's the misfit in this picture? Nothing if you're rocking LG's Wine Smart -- a rare smartphone flip phone. Nostalgia from the 90s (or, really, 2007) aside, the Wine Smart isn't all that unusual. Flip phones are still popular in certain markets, and why wouldn't you want one with the latest version of Android, a 1.2GHz processor, 8-megapixel camera and expandable memory? Well, that's exactly what the Wine smart has, although if you were hoping LG's 2K display might filter down from the G3, you'd be fresh outta luck (3.5-inch, 480 x 320 is what you'll have to settle for). The inclusion of a "safe keeper" function that alerts friends or family if you fall suggest this is pitched at an older crowd. But, then there's a dedicated button for a instant messaging app, too. We're sure LG knows its market though, so who are we to question? Oh, there's an FM radio too. Perfect for that Morissette revival, whenever and wherever LG decides to release it.

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The new iPhones have been on sale for three days, which means it's time for Apple to announce how many devices it sold. Considering that the iPhone 5 hit five million sales in the same period, and the 5S and 5C earned nine million sales, it's no surprise to see that both new devices raked in a record 10 million, even without the help of China. For now, the devices are only available in 10 countries, including the US, Canada and the UK, but the company promises that 20 more countries will have units available to sell by September 26th. Unfortunately, Apple neglected to mention how many people plumped for the 6 or its bigger sibling, but that's hardly going to matter when Tim Cook wakes up and looks at the company's bank balance.

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EE Logo

When Phones4u entered administration, it immediately shut all of its doors and put thousands of employees on notice. It didn't take long for Dixons Carphone to secure 800 positions, with Vodafone sweeping in shortly after to buy 140 Phones4u stores and save another 900 jobs. Now, it's EE's turn. The UK's biggest carrier has just announced that it's reached a deal with administrators to buy 58 outlets and bring 359 employees onto its books. It's moving quick too, confirming that it'll open the majority of stores within the next week. Over a year ago, EE began reducing its retail presence after its stores began saturating high streets, but now that it's joined Vodafone in pulling out of deals with Phones4u, the company will need to move quickly to fill the gaps left by its former partner.

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HTC One M8

Rumors of an HTC-made Nexus device have swirled for some time, but only recently have details of a next-generation tablet started to become apparent. Not long after NVIDIA inadvertently leaked that the Taiwanese company is linking up with Google to launch the Nexus 9, the Wall Street Journal has added even more credibility to reports by stating that HTC engineers have been regularly flying to Google's Mountain View HQ in order to finalize the 9-inch device. As part of a patent lawsuit against Qualcomm and Samsung earlier this month, NVIDIA revealed that it would be providing the muscle for the Android L-powered slate, HTC's first since the Flyer, which is expected to feature its Tegra K1 processor and launch within the third quarter. However, we're now just over a week away from the end of September, so it looks increasingly likely that we'll see something official next month. Remember, Google has a history of scheduling events in October.

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Microsoft has been rather generous with free OneDrive storage lately, and that doesn't seem to be changing anytime soon. Now Redmond is bumping the previous gratis 15GB up by 100 percent, to 30GB. What's the catch? There isn't much of one, really. All Redmond says you have to do (regardless of if you're a new user or seasoned veteran) is activate auto-upload on your device of choice's camera roll between now and the end of the month -- even on a Windows PC. Seems simple enough. The announcement focuses on the storage woes that've been associated with upgrading to iOS 8, and given the iPhone 6 Plus' fancy video tricks like HD time-lapse capture we'd imagine the off-device storage should come in pretty handy.

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When we saw the Samsung Gear VR at IFA, Oculus CTO John Carmack showed us a basic version of an app store made for mobile virtual reality. But when the headset ships to consumers sometime later this year, the VR outfit has bigger plans. It's rebranding the current Oculus Share "store" into Oculus Platform and turning it into a launcher of sorts for apps and other experiences, as noticed by TechCrunch. Platform will act as common store across the firm's entire platform including the Rift and mobile. Like the prototype from earlier this month, the store will exist within virtual reality and will house games, apps and stuff like the virtual movie theater, Oculus Cinema.

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Dell Streak

It's safe to say that Steve Jobs was off the mark when he declared that no one would buy big smartphones -- they've become popular enough that Apple itself is now making large iPhones. But how did these supersized devices escape their niche status to become the must-haves they are today? The transformation didn't happen overnight. It took a succession of ever-bigger phones to spark the public imagination and prove that huge screens were here to stay. We've rounded up 10 of the most important examples -- head on over to our gallery to see how enormous became the new normal.

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MIT can turn your smartphone into a different kind of second screen

Sure, we've seen apps that let you easily share files between your phone and PC. No biggie there. But the demo we're about to show you is a tad more sophisticated than that. Over at MIT, two teams of researchers have developed a smartphone system called THAW, which allows you to share files and use the phone as a game controller -- all by pressing the handset against your computer's display. As you can see in the below demo video, for instance, it's possible to transfer files onto the phone simply by dragging them where the phone is, as if it were just another folder on your desktop. Similar to what you can already do with NFC, you can press the phone against the screen, and walk away with whatever web page you had been looking at. (To be fair, iOS 8's Continuity feature does that automatically.)

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AT&T isn't the only carrier not getting WiFi calling until 2015 -- a certain red-branded network's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus won't, either. Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference, Verizon's CFO Fran Shammo said that his company has some back-end work to finish up before the feature goes live. This is something he predicts should happen around halfway through next year. What's more, he said that WiFi calling was never a top priority, either, as spotted by FierceWireless.

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DT03020.JPG Compass on a Nautical Chart David Chasey colorhorizontalinteriorcentertransportationcompassdirectionexplorati

Google Maps can now tell more people whether to turn left or right at the next intersection, now that the Navigation feature has arrived in 20 more countries. The expansion makes turn-by-turn navigation available to more African, Caribbean and South American nations, along with Sri Lanka and Nepal in Asia. It also looks like they're getting the whole enchilada, including bus, taxi and walking/biking routes. Of course, those who've been usign Navigation regularly know its instructions aren't always right (say aye if it's led you to the middle of nowhere before), but it's still a free and decent option. Check out the list of countries the service now supports, as spotted by Android Police on its support page, after the break.

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The best thing about iOS 8 isn't continuity texting or a liberated keyboard -- it's that it'll give you rock hard abs. Which is exactly what you need if you're going to pull off any of Under Armour's skin-tight clothing. The sports brand wants to help you along with that, and has just updated its suite of apps (the popular MapMy... franchise it bought) to include unified activity tracking. This means if you have compatible hardware (like Jawbone's UP, or a Withings Pulse) or an iPhone with an M7/M8 chip in it, you can fold all your activity data into the one MapMyFitness app. This also means you won't get dupes any more if you were already tracking with the app and a tracker separately. Already working on those biceps by lifting your fancy new iPhone 6 Plus? Good, because the apps have also been given a digital nip and tuck to look extra buff on the new larger displays.

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Not bothered about the new iPhones? After something with a big screen and Android at its heart? Well, that's what Samsung's Galaxy Note family is all about, and the company has announced the latest member of the clan will be hitting the UK October 10th, a week before the US. The super-sized Galaxy Note 4, with its 5.7-inch Quad HD display and high-end specs all around, is now up for preorder, but only at Samsung's "Experience" stores. Carriers and retailers will be able to open up reservations from September 26th, with Samsung specifically naming Three and Carphone Warehouse as guaranteed partners. We haven't got any juicy pricing information to share with you just yet, but should be able to let you know where the best deals lie nearer the time. Spoiler: it's unlikely to be at Phones4u.

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Starbucks Life!.

Love Starbucks but hate feeling left out of the shake-to-pay fun because the device in your pocket is running Android instead of iOS? Those days are over, my caffeine-craving friend. An updated version of the titular app has hit Google Play and it's packing the aforementioned payment option as well as digital tipping. The coffee juggernaut's rewards system is now on the payment screen too -- all in time for the Seattle outfit's declaration that autumn is officially here.

[Image credit: pgneto/Flickr]

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