Mobile World Congress 2012

As we suspected, you'll be hearing more about the new Android Pay setup -- announced a couple of months ago during Mobile World Congress -- during the Google I/O event this week. According to a New York Times report, Android Pay will let retailers take payments from inside their mobile apps, use it at brick-and-mortar retail locations, and automatically update the customer's status in store loyalty programs. Like Google, retailers are interested in using those loyalty programs to track trends among their customers, and the report goes on to claim that Apple Pay will add a similar tie-in within the next month or so. So what will become of Google Wallet? Apparently, it will be reintroduced with a focus on sending money directly between two people to go along with being preinstalled on carrier phones. The mobile payment wars are just beginning, and potential competitors like Facebook and Samsung have their own plans too -- expect more details from all sides soon.

[Image credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]

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Office Lens for Android on a Nexus 5

Need to quickly capture that taxi receipt, or the notes from a meeting? You can now pull out your Android phone to do it. After several weeks of testing, Microsoft has released the finished version of Office Lens for Google-powered devices. As a recap, Office Lens' party trick is its ability to scan all kinds of documents (even at less-than-ideal angles) and translate them into usable files on OneDrive and OneNote -- it'll even make text searchable. The complete Lens app should work on a wide range of devices, so you'll definitely want to swing by Google Play if you're eager to give this scanner a spin.

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Pebble Time with some fresh kicks

If you missed out on Pebble Time's crowdfunding campaign and won't get one of the early units shipping today, you now have a date to mark on your calendar: Pebble has revealed that it's going to start regular pre-orders for the color smartwatch on June 22nd. That'll leave you waiting quite a while before you can even buy the $199 wearable, but you'll at least get a more polished device for your trouble. Pebble is promising an update that lets iPhone users dictate replies to Gmail messages, so you'll have one less reason to pull your handset out of your pocket.

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Messages on an iPhone 6

Beware if you have any jokester friends with iOS devices -- they might just have a way to ruin your day if you have any iOS gadgets of your own. Apple has confirmed that it's fixing a recently discovered bug that crashes iPhones and other iOS 8 hardware the moment you get a carefully crafted set of Unicode characters in Messages and other communication apps with notification previews. It's not clear when that fix will be available, but the only existing safeguard is to turn off those previews. Otherwise, you may have to bend over backwards to make sure that those rogue messages don't cause further chaos. While this isn't the biggest iOS glitch we've seen lately, it's definitely the most annoying.

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Xiaomi Mi Power Bank

After a brief dry run, Xiaomi is just about ready to officially launch its online store in both the US and Europe. The Chinese tech firm has announced that the Mi Store will be available in the US on June 1st, and will reach France, Germany and the UK on June 2nd. As before, you're not about to score phones like the Mi Note Pro or Mi4 through this shop -- it's all about mobile-oriented accessories, such as the Mi Band activity tracker, Mi Headphones and Mi Power Bank. If you're only interested in scoring a deal on a wearable or power pack, though, you won't have long to wait.

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Have you been eyeing LG's latest flagship handset since it was announced last month? Well, it's set to arrive in the US next week. T-Mobile began selling the G4 online today, for $0 down and $25/month for two years or $599.76 if you're looking to part with a lump sum. The pink-hued carrier is looking to lure early adopters with an extra that'll make good use of that microSD card slot. If you opt in "while supplies last," you can expect a free 128GB card for free. And T-Mobile's the spot to grab that dapper brown leather rear cover. The LG G4 won't go on sale in stores until June 3rd, so nabbing one now means yours will ship before the phone hits retail. Not a fan of T-Mobile? Fret not.

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Facebook Messenger payments

Facebook has been cautious about rolling out Messenger payments in the US so far, but it just opened them up in a big way. The feature now works for anyone in New York City and the surrounding areas, so you can cover your share of that SoHo pizza when a chat buddy brings it up. The software itself is a little more helpful, too -- it'll automatically link dollar amounts to help you pay them faster, and you can pay individual friends within group discussions. It'll be a while before you can sling cash to any Facebook user you like, but that day is at least getting closer.

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iOS' Today screen

Apple has made some efforts to give you relevant info when you need it (such as iOS' Today screen), but it hasn't really had a response to Google Now, which brings you everything from timely directions to cheap flights. According to 9to5Mac's sources, however, that's going to change soon. The crew at 1 Infinite Loop is reportedly working on Proactive, an effort to unite Siri, contacts, schedules and apps in a way that surfaces info at just the right time. A revamped Spotlight search screen in iOS will automatically fill with content based on your schedule and habits. If you're going on a trip, for example, it'll pop up your Passbook ticket when it's time to go; if you always check Facebook in the morning, you'll get an app shortcut. There are also promises of restaurant suggestions showing up at meal time.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For two years, Pebble was the smartwatch company to beat. In 2012, it raised over $10 million on Kickstarter for its simple, monochrome e-paper wristwatch, putting itself and the crowdfunding site on the map. But things move quickly in the technology world. Google has since come out with Android Wear, prompting a slew of smartphone companies to suddenly turn into watchmakers. Not to be outdone, Apple joined the fray as well, positing its own wearable as a timepiece premium enough for high-end boutiques. So when Pebble debuted the Time, its second-generation $199 smartwatch, on Kickstarter three months ago, it was facing much stiffer competition. Surprisingly, that too made crowdfunding history, raising more than $20 million in just over a month. Did 78,471 backers make the right decision? I attempt to find out.

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There's no denying that virtual and augmented reality are on a roll lately. Oculus, HTC and a host of others have committed to producing quality VR experiences and Microsoft's Hololens put the buzz back into augmented concepts. That's just the tip of the iceberg, though. If you want to find out what's really going on in those circles, as well as IoT and wearable tech, you may want to head to Silicon Valley next month for the 2015 Augmented World Expo (AWE). The event includes more than 20 workshops, 200 interactive demos and over 100 talks by some of the best in the business. The folks at AWE have been nice enough to offer $19 Expo-only tickets for our readers (code: ENGADGET19), but for one lucky soul, the pot is quite a bit sweeter. We have a pair of Epson Moverio BT-200 smart glasses, along with two all-access VIP tickets to the expo for the winner this week. Just head on down to the Rafflecopter widget below for up to three chances at winning Epson's latest augmented tech and unfettered access to the Augmented World Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California, June 8-10th.

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Fox and Apple are trying a new twist on digital movie sales starting today, pushing a Movie of the Day app on iOS. For now, it's only for Apple devices and Fox movies (a Google Play version should arrive eventually), but as you can guess from the name it just does the one thing. "Daily Flash Sales" offer a single movie, heavily discounted (up to 70 percent off, somewhere between $5 and $10), for purchase for 24 hours, with the app highlighting which one and pointing users to it. It's launching in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and France today and the first flick for sale is a $7 copy (in HD or SD, and you could just grab it via iTunes) of X-Men: First Class. Movies like Alien, Die Hard, Ice Age, Planet of the Apes, Rio, and The Sound of Music will float through its library, so if you're interested in filling up your Apple-connected digital shelf it could be worthwhile.

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Adult Swim's 'Virtual Brainload'

Virtual reality's notion of strapping a display to your head is already a bit weird by itself, but Adult Swim just took that strangeness to a new level. The network's Virtual Brainload app for Android invites you to grab a Google Cardboard viewer and experience the "backside of reality" -- in short, it's going to be a kaleidoscopic mind trip. Whether or not you're up for the audiovisual assault, you can expect more VR content from Adult Swim's parent, Turner, in the future. The broadcaster says that it's working on "deeper, custom-created" virtual content that will arrive as soon as this year, so you can expect these VR side projects to become increasingly important in the near future.

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Microsoft PowerPoint on an Android tablet

If you thought Microsoft's app deal with Samsung was surprising... well, that's just the tip of the iceberg. The Windows maker has reached agreements to bundle its apps and services on Android tablets from 20 companies. Most of these firms are small regional brands, but there are a few global powerhouses that include LG (which will include Microsoft on an unnamed future device) and Sony (starting with the Xperia Z4 Tablet). Yes, this probably means getting the Office suite and other apps you might not use much, if at all. However, it's evident that Microsoft doesn't mind -- it'd rather make its services as ubiquitous as possible than send you straight into Google's arms.

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We're coming down to the wire now: Google I/O 2015 is just a few days away, and we'll be liveblogging and reporting from the ground as soon as the festivities begin. Don't let its reputation as a developer bonanza fool you, though. There's going to be no shortage of workshops and code review sessions, but I/O is also where Google takes time to update its vision of the future for the people who will ultimately help build it. Of course, it's not all starry-eyed speeches and technical breakdowns -- this is, after all, the sort of show that featured a live streaming Google Hangout with four dudes who jumped out of a zeppelin. We can't account for whatever crazy, spectacular bits the folks in Mountain View might be working on, but we do have a taste of what to expect when the show starts in earnest this Thursday.

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We've been hearing for months that Apple's upcoming iPhone models will be force-sensitive, just like the Apple Watch and its newer MacBook trackpads. Now we have an idea of how the company's "Force Touch" technology -- which enables pressure sensitivity and haptic feedback -- could work on future iPhones, courtesy of 9to5Mac. Sources say that it could be used to replace instances where you typically hold down your finger on the screen, for example, to highlight or paste text. Force Touch on iPhones will also resemble the way the technology is used on new MacBooks: You can press down on the display to drop new location pins in Apple Maps, or use pressure-sensitive scrolling in media players. Not surprisingly, 9to5Mac notes that Apple has built in support for iPhone Force Touch on iOS 9, and it's also working with developers to integrate it into their apps. The technology could also make its way into Apple's next round of iPads, based on references in iOS 9.

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