Verizon Wireless store

If you were worried that Verizon would start throttling your unlimited data plan because you use it a lot, you can relax -- Big Red just had a last-minute change of heart. The carrier tells Droid-Life that it has decided against pursuing "network optimization" (read: throttling) for uncapped LTE users. There's no direct explanation for the about-face, but Verizon says that it "valued the ongoing dialogue" on slowdowns. In other words, it's likely trying to avoid a clash with the FCC, not to mention angry customers, over a potential violation of net neutrality guidelines. Whatever triggered the provider's second thoughts, it's good news if you've felt that the unlimited service you pay for shouldn't have any strings attached. Check out the full statement below.

[Image credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo]

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Not to be outdone by AT&T, Sprint and Verizon have now announced they are also going to double the data for users on shared mobile plans, at no extra cost. What's more, both carriers are bringing the promotion to family and business customers alike, making the news all the better. With Sprint, for example, you can get 120GB maximum for $225 per month on a family plan, while business accounts will receive up to 200GB for $330 -- on the former, there's also the $130 option, which lets you share 60GB between lines. Similarly, Verizon is set to double the data amount on its 20GB, 30GB, 40GB and 50GB More Everything plans; the 12GB and 16GB are making the jump as well, but only to 15GB and 30GB, respectively. Verizon's promo is kicking off tomorrow, with Sprint following suit the day after. But be sure to act fast, since the networks will only be offering this through the end of October.

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In the midst of attempting to gobble up its largest counterpart, battle Netflix on net neutrality and face down customer service scandals, Comcast is still slowly extending its new TV platform. The latest addition to its X1 setup is enhancing the cloud DVR feature that CEO Brian Roberts showed off at the beginning of the year. While the 500GB cloud DVR and in-home streaming are already a part of the system in several areas, in the Bay Area and Houston viewers can stream or download recordings to their mobile devices (iOS or Android, PCs can only stream) starting today. Inside the house, the X1 app fulfills Roberts promise of turning any mobile device into a television, with access to live TV streaming, recordings and video on-demand.

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Microsoft Office Sway

Sharing ideas on the web is tricky. You probably want something more persuasive than a social network update, but it's usually overkill to design a whole web page just to get your point across. Microsoft may have reached a happy balance between the two with Sway, a new part of the Office portfolio that lets you publish content in a slick, web-native format without knowing a thing about code or design. All you do is write and pull in content, whether it comes from your device or internet sources like Facebook, OneDrive and YouTube; Sway automatically organizes it all into polished web layouts that adapt to any screen size. You can switch layouts to fine-tune your work and update projects over time. Think of this as a Medium-like authoring tool that handles much more than just articles -- it's possible to publish daily photo diaries, non-linear presentations and other pieces that would typically require a dedicated web editor or a specialized app.

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Remember that Pokémon iPad game that was teased not too long ago? Well, if the mere mention of it stoked a fire inside that made you want to abandon Blizzard's Hearthstone forever, Joystiq has spotted that the pocket monster trading card game is available on the App Store now. Pokémon TCG Online is free to download, but there are a few catches. As the name suggests, it requires an internet connection to play and your Apple-branded slate needs to be of the Retina-display variety -- your first- and second-gen iPads won't cut the mustard, according to iTunes. If you're already heavily invested in the game on OSX and Windows, Time points out that progress you've made in the last three years transfers over to the mobile version as well. Handy! And just like that, a Nintendo property is appearing somewhere other than on one of its own devices. Somewhere, an investor is probably smiling.

[Image Credit: Josh Wittenkeller]

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There's no way you'd use a shock collar to train your beloved dog, but you wouldn't mind using one on yourself if it means breaking your nastiest habits, eh? If that's the case, then your day has come: Pavlok (a wearable band that can zap you with electricity) is now up on Indiegogo, with its designer hoping to raise $50,000 to develop more features and to begin mass production. In order to train yourself to stay away from bad habits or continue doing good ones, you'll need to program the Pavlok app -- for instance, you can instruct it to zap you awake if you hit snooze twice on your alarm. The good news is that you can set the electricity the wristband zaps you with from 17 to 340 volts, so you can adjust it accordingly and make sure each it's not strong enough to actually hurt.

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MSN circa 2014

Well, that was quick -- after just a few weeks in preview mode, the revamped MSN homepage is rolling out to everyone. You should see Microsoft's simple, desktop-like web portal in your browser sometime within the next three days. If you're using Windows devices, you'll also see updated Bing and MSN apps that draw on the site's many services; the Food & Drink app will keep track of your recipes, for instance. Windows Phone users get a few perks on their lock screens in the process. The Health and Fitness app will show pedometer stats if you're using a Lumia 630, 635 or 1520, while Weather will show your local forecast. You'll still have to wait for MSN apps on Android and iOS, but all the other pieces of Microsoft's grand vision are otherwise in place.

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Spotify streaming some proper Canadian music

Canadians: you no longer have to jump through hoops (or hope for an early invitation) to check out Spotify. The streaming music service has finally launched in Canada, complete with an extensive collection of domestically-made tunes. As elsewhere, you can play songs for free if you're willing to put up with ads, and shelling out $10 CAD per month for Premium lets you stream without commercials. The service is definitely late to the party -- it's years behind Rdio, and even Google Play Music arrived a few months ago. Still, it's hard to object to having one more way to listen to Grimes or Leonard Cohen.

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If you've been thinking about getting a smartwatch but haven't been persuaded to plunk down a lot of cash, Pebble's trying to make the decision a little easier for you. The watch maker is lowering the price of its full lineup by $50, which means you can now get the sporty original model (above, right) for $100 and the fancier Steel (above, left) for $200. Usually significant price drops like these are a reaction to slowing sales, but CEO Eric Migicovsky says that on the contrary, sales are still as strong as ever and the ecosystem is growing. The company wants to offer the "right price for the product" and properly represent Pebble watches in light of the swelling competition in this category, Migicovsky said. Indeed, with the debut (and proliferation) of Android Wear this year and Apple Watch next year, Pebble wants to add cost to its list of competitive advantages alongside battery life and cross-platform functionality -- especially as the holidays approach and smartwatch choices become even tougher.

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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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