Earlier this year, Virgin Media became the UK's first 'quad-play' provider, meaning it began offering one-bill bundles that include all four of its services: mobile, landline, broadband and TV. Soon enough, however, TalkTalk will be joining Virgin Media in the exclusive quad-play club. Well... not really, but close enough. Come December, any TalkTalk customers on the Plus TV package (which includes landline and broadband subscriptions) will get a free mobile SIM that includes 100 minutes, 250 texts and 200MB of 3G data each month. Existing customers can also pre-register for a SIM right now if they want it as soon as possible. TalkTalk will technically be offering four services in one when the free SIM deal launches, but is it a true 'quad-play' package when you can't choose your tariff, and you don't actually pay for the mobile element? Nevermind, let's not argue over semantics. A free SIM is a free SIM.

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If people weren't too happy with the first batch of sponsored posts by Instagram, those temper tantrums might reach a new level soon. According to Adweek, the Facebook-owned imaging service is now rolling out video ads to users' feeds, having been quietly testing them for the past six months. So, starting today, don't be surprised to unexpectedly run into a random 15-second video while you're trying to find a picture of the next great brunch. As it stands, Adweek points out that Instagram is pushing motion ads from Activision, Banana Republic, CW and Lancome, but chances are you'll start seeing others from more companies as time goes on. In the meantime, head on past the break to check out what you can expect -- because you're dying to know.

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After last month's iPhone event, I was disappointed -- I realized the iPhone 6 and its "Plus" sibling were still catching up to Android in a lot of ways. Regardless, the devoted iPhone fan in me still pre-ordered an iPhone 6 a few days later, in the wee hours of September 12th. The next morning, I awoke to the alarm on my iPhone 5s and went to silence it, only to discover a small spot of water damage had worsened overnight, rendering the phone unusable. With less than 24 hours before jetting off on a work trip, I had no choice but to force myself into using another phone sitting on my desk: the OnePlus One. Now, you might be thinking that this was unusually convenient. The truth is, I decided to get a second phone a couple of weeks earlier and wanted one of the unlocked Android variety. Might as well ensure it's a good phone too, so with an Engadget score of 90, the One made sense.

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Samsung Gear S

Itching to strap Samsung's 3G-equipped Gear S smartwatch on your wrist? If you're in the US, you'll only have to wait one more week. The cellular-capable timepiece is now officially slated to reach American stores on November 7th, including Best Buy, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. Just how much you'll pay depends on your choice of network. Verizon hasn't mentioned pricing just yet, but AT&T will sell the Gear S for $200 on a two-year contract; Sprint and T-Mobile will offer the wristwear on monthly installment plans that have you shelling out respective totals of $384 and $350. That's a lot to pay in the current smartwatch market, but this is also one of the few wearables that lets you leave your phone at home.

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Google's latest Play Books update for Android makes the app a lot easier to use for reading non-fiction e-books. See, Play Books is perfect if you're just reading something from cover to cover. But if you're using it to read text or reference books for school, or maybe even cookbooks (materials you usually flip through to find the page you're looking for), then it can be infuriating to use. Now, the latest version comes with a handful of features to change that, including one called Skim Mode that makes it easy to skim pages, as you can see after the break. Another feature called Quick Bookmarks lets you jump between the parts you've bookmarked, while the last one called Notes & Highlights is especially useful for students, since it lets you highlight text (say, quotes or important info you want to remember later) and take notes while reading. If you desperately need these features to get you through the next semester, head over to Google Play to download the app's latest version.

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Productivity-focused app Any.do, which is available on iOS, Android and the web, has gained popularity largely because, well, it helps people get things done. But, with households and businesses being about more than just one particular user, the to-do application knows that catering itself to only a single person per account isn't enough. Accordingly, Any.do is introducing its Team Management and Group Sharing features, allowing you to create, distribute and assign tasks among a number of different people -- with as many as you want, in fact, so long as you have a new Premium account, which costs $5 per month (though right now there's a promo for $3 monthly).

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EE's been conducting closed trials of LTE-Advanced technology since last year, so imagine the red faces when Vodafone reported earlier this month that its own faster 4G network was about to go live in three cities. EE's now being forced to play catch-up, but it's well on its way today after flipping its LTE-A network live in parts of central London, including Kensington, Old Street, Shoreditch, Soho, Southbank and Westminster. This 4G+ network, as EE brands it, should cover the whole of Greater London by the middle of next year, before rolling out to other big cities like Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester later. While standard LTE can deliver a theoretical maximum download speed of 150 Mbps, LTE-A doubles that to a maximum speed of 300 Mbps (though real-world speeds tend to be around half the max).

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The folks at Flipboard must have been crazy busy these past months: the company has just unleashed a huge update for its iOS and Android apps, a few weeks after it finally released an app for Windows Phone. This update gives the digital magazine/social network aggregator a major makeover, with a new font and a brand new menu bar at the bottom. The menu, which you can see above, gives you quick access to your home page, redesigned profile, news tiles, notifications and an improved search function. In addition, the app comes with a feature called "The Daily Edition," a curated roundup (by the Flipboard team) of all the top stories from the day before, complete with an animated GIF at the end.

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Google wants even third-party Android apps to be able to do searches using "Ok, Google" voice commands, so it's now making it easier for developers to integrate the feature. Now, all devs have to do is add a few lines of code to their AndroidManifest.xml -- they can even copy and paste those lines straight from the company's post in the Android Developers Blog. After that, users can issue vocal commands to make a query (for instance: "Ok Google, search for hotels in Maldives on TripAdvisor") from within the app. They can even do that from any screen on their phones, so long as they activate hot-word detection. Cool, right? Unfortunately, this feature also has limitations: it will only work for folks with phones running Jelly Bean and above, and only for those in English-speaking locales.

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Xiaomi, the smartphone of choice in China, just had a really good few months selling phones. According to Strategy Analytics, it reckon the new phone maker is now the third largest smartphone maker in the world, trailing only Samsung and Apple. Its shipments have tripled in the space of a year, now up to 18 million in Q3 2014, while its share of the smartphone has also more than doubled, shifting from 2.1 to 5.6 percent. Those sales also make it the 5th largest phone manufacturer (including cheaper feature phones). While Samsung (24.7 percent) and Apple (12.3 percent) still dominate, LG's recent good run, selling a record number of phones, has also moved it to fourth. Barring making it big in India, we're looking to see what Xiaomi's going to do next.

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It looks like the curtains have been raised early on Microsoft's attempt to join the wearable game. Windows Central points out that sync apps have appeared in the Mac and Android app stores (update: and Microsoft's), set to personalize and track data for your "Microsoft Band." Rumors had pointed to a fitness tracker more than a watch that could debut within weeks, and judging by the apps that's just what we'll get. According to the Google Play, Windows Phone Store and iTunes listings, the device itself has more in common with Nike's FuelBand than the what we've seen from Apple and Google so far. That includes tracking steps, heartbeat, calories burned and sleep quality. 9to5Mac linked a privacy agreement that goes into even deeper detail about what else it can do, namely display notifications from your mobile device or take notes and set reminders with Cortana.

Update: Microsoft confirmed that the Band will go on sale for $199 Thursday in its online and physical stores, to US customers only, in "limited quantities." Designed by Quentin Morris (who also developed the Xbox One controller), it carries ten sensors onboard to measure things from heart rate to UV exposure to stress levels, and can last as much as 48 hours on a single charge. As indicated by the apps, it's ready to work with whatever mobile platform you bring to the table, but with its built-in GPS, you can go running without a phone and still track your workout.

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Confirming its own estimates from earlier this month, Samsung announced tonight that it accumulated an operating profit of $3.9 billion in Q3. That's not a bad haul for most companies in the July to September period, but last year Samsung proudly celebrated a record profit of $9.6 billion and now it's down to less than half that. Now the company is breaking down the reasons behind the drop, and everything starts with the flagship Galaxy S smartphones. Reuters notes that phones drove its growth over the last couple of years, but profits in that area dropped from 6.7 trillion Korean won last year, to 1.75 trillion in the same period this year.

That drop came as a result of price cuts for older phones and "declined shipments" of high-end models. Even slightly higher sales of midrange smartphones apparently weren't enough to right the ship, and the Galaxy Note 4 hasn't been on sale long enough to contribute. Worse, the phone sales have an effect across the company for its display, memory and CPU businesses. It expects to sell more Ultra HD and curved TVs to close out 2014, but investors will likely be more interested in how it responds to cheaper Chinese phone manufacturers.

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A Project Ara smartphone in action

You'd be forgiven for being skeptical of Google's Project Ara -- for all the prototypes and partnerships, actually spotting a working unit has been a gigantic challenge. You won't have to jump through hoops to see one after today, thankfully. The engineering team at NK Labs has shown Phonebloks a real, honest-to-goodness functioning test phone that boots into Android. It's using an old Jelly Bean release instead of the promised Android Lollipop build, and the demo doesn't include a significant amount of functionality, but hey -- progress!

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Poynt's smart terminal

One of the many reasons you don't see widespread support for mobile payment tech like Apple Pay or Google Wallet is the hardware investment needed to make it all work. Why should a store spend thousands of dollars on machines that miss out on some features, or will be obsolete in a few years? That's what Poynt wants to fix with its new smart terminal. The Android-powered device takes just about every form of payment imaginable, including NFC transactions from your phone, chip-and-pin cards, QR codes and old-fashioned magnetic stripe cards. You can even add a cash drawer through USB. The countertop machine also has Bluetooth beacon support for in-store offers, and its app platform lets stores adapt to new services by either downloading apps or writing their own.

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CurrentC got hacked

If the retailers backing the CurrentC mobile payment system hope to topple NFC-based technology like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, they may need to improve their safeguards for your data. CurrentC is now warning people in its beta program that "unauthorized third parties" (read: hackers) swiped some of their email addresses. While that appears to be the only information at risk, the loss isn't an auspicious sign for a service that's still months away from launch -- especially one that touts privacy and security as "top priorities." It's not clear who's responsible, either, although the platform's architect, the Merchant Customer Exchange, says that it's still investigating the breach. Whatever happened, it's safe to say that the incident underscores one of the main concerns of middleman-based payment systems like CurrentC. Handing sensitive info to in-between providers, no matter how careful they are, leaves you that much more vulnerable to theft.

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