When Samsung took the time to update investors ahead of its upcoming quarterly earnings report, it warned 'weak demand' for phones and an increased marketing spend could hit the company hard. That report hit today, and it's as bleak as the company expected. In its second quarter, Samsung posted profit of 6.25 trillion won ($6.1 billion), down from 7.77 trillion won ($6.96 billion) last year, its lowest quarterly profit in two years. Smartphone sales contributed the majority of its revenue, but the Samsung's flagship phone, the Galaxy S5, languished as the iPhone continues to fly of shelves and Chinese brands cut directly into its low-end business.

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It wasn't long ago that Sony, almost inexplicably for a company of its size and heritage, was losing money everywhere it went. After a few years of pain, however, things have begun to look up, with the company posting a first quarter net profit of around $265 million. The bulk of the good news comes from the PlayStation 4 and Sony Pictures, the company's film and TV arm that benefited from the successes of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and 22 Jump Street. The only sore point on the company's financials is that its mobile division continued to see sales of Xperia handsets drop -- a loss that even managed to offset a favorable bump in the exchange rate. The corporation is still predicting that it'll eat around $487 million in losses across the year, so don't be surprised if someone greenlights 23 Jump Street in the next couple of weeks.

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Japanese carrier KDDI has just announced a new HTC J Butterfly, a handset which resembles the HTC One in specs, but with features aimed at KDDI's home market. Like a lot of other Japanese devices, the 5-inch, full HD handset is waterproof in case you feel like taking fish photos. And HTC has brand new cameras: a 13-megapixel rear dual-camera model with a selfie-friendly 5-megapixel front shooter. That differs from the One M8's 4-megapixel Duo "Ultrapixel" camera. KDDI instead calls it a "Duo Effect" camera, with the secondary 2-megapixel module giving depth-of-field adjustment and other features. Filling out the spec sheet are a Snapdragon 801, 802.11ac WiFi, LTE-Advanced, 150Mbps 4g, 2GB of RAM, Android 4.4 KitKat and a Dot View case. All of that sounds pretty nice, but will it come to US shores? Hard to say, but the last J Butterfly model did eventually arrive as the Droid DNA (to Verizon), so we wouldn't be surprised to see the new model here too.

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Samsung Milk Music on a Galaxy Note 3

Samsung has spent months promising a paid tier for Milk Music that takes the gloves off. Well, it's here at last -- an update to the Android app for its exclusive (if Slacker-based) streaming service offers a $4 per month Premium tier that brings offline listening, unlimited skips and the option of removing DJ banter. Both the free and paid tiers remain ad-free for now, so don't rush to upgrade unless you need constant access to your tunes. That parity isn't going to last forever, though, so be prepared to cough up some cash in the future if you want to dodge commercials.

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

Not happy that Verizon is going to throttle unlimited LTE data plans? You're not alone. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has just sent a letter to Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead criticizing the carrier for the new policy. He's "deeply troubled" by the move, and suggests that the arbitrary slowdowns may be violating the open access rules that Verizon said it would obey back in 2008. The FCC defines "reasonable network management" in terms of technology-related issues (like congestion and security) rather than service plans, Wheeler says. To him, Big Red is abusing a "loophole" in order to boot customers off of unlimited data and wring out more profit -- Mead may have to do a good job defending the decision if he wants to avoid a regulatory fight.

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NomadPlus external battery

If you're tired of lugging around both an external battery pack and a power adapter to keep your iPhone running, today's your lucky day. Nomad (the company behind the ChargeCard) has started taking pre-orders for the NomadPlus, a 1,500mAh external battery that takes advantage of the Apple's official power plug to save space. Slide the charger in and you can top up your iPhone (or other low-power USB devices) with one peripheral, whether or not you're anywhere near a wall outlet. Logically, it will also recharge its own battery when plugged in. The gadget doesn't provide much energy on its own -- it will only bring an iPhone up to 70 percent -- but it should be enough to get you through a typical day.

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The popular log-in repository 1Password is about to get a lot more useful on iOS devices. AgileBits has revealed an extension for using the add-on in third-party iOS apps -- if the developer chooses to build in support. Thanks to the enhanced security measures taken by Apple's pending mobile OS update, the option can be included and doesn't require you to go elsewhere in order to sort your passwords in standalone apps. Of course, this is in addition to 1Password's own built-in browser that currently included and Touch ID is leveraged to access the secured vault of username credentials. 1Password for iOS is a $18 purchase, and we're not holding our breath for similar functionality to arrive on the Android version anytime soon (although on Android LastPass has a similar feature for logging into apps). While you wait for your favorite software to opt in, there's a handy demo in GIF after the break.

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Looking at Russia's Vkontakte social network on an iPhone 5 in Moscow

Russia has been extra-sensitive to technological threats to its government as of late, and that's clearer than ever in the wake of a new government proposal. Communication Minister Nikolai Nikiforov has suggested that Apple and SAP should hand over their source code to prove that it doesn't have "undeclared capabilities" for spying on Russian agencies. In other words, he doesn't want to give the NSA free rein just because an official brought an iPhone to work. While he isn't certain as to whether or not institutions will keep using products whose code remains a secret, there's an implication that Apple and SAP may be locked out of government contracts if Putin and crew believe there's too much of a risk. Much of that business could go to Microsoft, which has been cooperating with Russia since 2003.

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LG Unify on Virgin Mobile Custom

In the US, prepaid cellphone service tends to be a like-it-or-leave-it proposition that rarely fits perfectly, especially for families. Virgin Mobile may have a smarter approach in store; it's launching Custom, a prepaid family plan that lets you tailor usage to your liking. You can put as many as five people on plans that start at $7 each ($35 for unlimited talk and text) and scale up depending on individual needs. If Mom is a big fan of streaming music but rarely makes calls, she can pile on the data (or use a $5 Unlimited Music plan) and reduce her voice minutes; a chat-happy kid, meanwhile, can have gobs of messages but only minimal internet access. You can change the plans at any time from mobile apps, and built-in parental controls let you declare certain apps as off-limits during specified hours.

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Square's reader for chip-based cards

There's a good reason you don't usually see Square readers outside of the US: they're built to read payment cards with magnetic stripes, not the more secure chip-and-PIN cards that are common everywhere else. All that's set to change, however. Square has revealed plans for a reader that accepts the chip-based EMV format alongside stripes, letting shops handle credit and debit cards from around the world (and the US, once it catches up). The company will only start taking pre-orders for the payment device later this year, but it could be worthwhile for stores and customers alike. Besides the greater availability, it's much harder to clone a chip card -- you shouldn't have to worry about an unscrupulous clerk (or a clever hacker) stealing your credit card and going on a shopping spree.

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While competitors are busy cloning Snapchat in an attempt to replicate its success, Evan Spiegel and co. have continued to forge their own path. The company is already experimenting with new features in an attempt to generate revenue, but it's also apparently talking to some big hitters to ensure it can keep growing until those profits come. According to Bloomberg, Snapchat is currently in talks over a new round of funding with investors, which include Yahoo-backed Alibaba, that if confirmed could value the company at an incredible $10 billion. It's a significant figure, not only because it puts it on par with both Dropbox and Airbnb, but it's around three times the amount Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook is rumored to have offered to acquire the company last year. Not bad for a service that's known mostly for evaporating text and photo messages. Snapchat is understandably keeping quiet about its latest round of talks, and the figures could well change before the funding closes. Regardless of what happens, it appears Snapchat's decision to hold out and grow the service was the right one.

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Three and EE jostled for attention last month when they announced, on the same day, their customers would soon be able to make calls and send texts over WiFi connections. While EE is working on a fancy system the user will be all but oblivious to, Three's following O2's lead with an app that does the necessary handover work. Slightly ahead of schedule, Three's inTouch app has now launched for Android and iOS devices -- just in time to take advantage of the carrier's newest customer perk: free Tube WiFi. As you'd expect, calls made and messages sent over WiFi are deducted from your normal monthly allowances or pay-as-you-go credit. Unfortunately, inTouch won't work in countries not covered by Three's Feel at Home free roaming service, but it's something the network is looking into.

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FreedomPop messaging on a Galaxy Tab 3 and an iPad mini

Many people can't really justify buying a cellular-equipped tablet -- why pay for more data when your phone probably does the trick? FreedomPop is undoubtedly aware of that thriftiness, as it just started offering its namesake free service on tablets. Whether you buy one of the carrier's pre-supplied tablets or bring your own, you'll get the same gratis 500MB of LTE data, 500 messages and 200 voice minutes as a phone customer. That may not make sense at first, but FreedomPop reckons that it's important for apps that ask for a phone number. It's much easier to hail an Uber car when you can supply some digits, for example. It could also serve as a backup if your phone's battery dies, or if you're nearing your limits on a capped phone plan.

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Despite the promise of Google's Movidius-equipped Project Tango, there are still no depth-sensing, SLR-stomping smartphones on the market. But Movidius thinks that could change soon, thanks to its brand new chip: the Myriad 2 vision processor unit (VPU). "The Myriad 2 is going to provide more than 20x the power efficiency of the Myriad 1, and enable camera features that were not possible before in mobile devices," CEO Remi El-Ouazzane tells me. If you'll recall, Tango's original tech brought faster focus, improved depth of field, near-optical zooming and higher light sensitivity to smartphone cameras (and now, tablets). It also let researchers scan a room in 3D to provide interior navigation, among other cool tricks.

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More than three months after the first builds of Windows Phone 8.1 hit the scene, Microsoft is ready to tick more features off the to-do list with the OS's first refresh. Known aptly as Update 1, the download will be available as a developer preview starting next week. Understandably, Cortana is on the top of the release notes, because the beta program will officially expand to the UK and China as promised in April. This means users in both countries can enjoy different voices and more localized options, such as air quality info (in China specifically), local celebrities, specialized suggestions and commute times. Additionally, the Chinese version supports Mandarin and comes with unique animations, sounds and other visual features.

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