Hailo reported just last week it was pulling out of North America, where it could no longer effectively compete against its rivals. On this side of the pond, however, Hailo's kicking off its third birthday celebrations with the announcement of more positive news. Firstly, the app-fueled cab-hailing service has just launched in Leeds and Liverpool, meaning it's now available in four UK cities -- Hailo started out in London several years ago, before taking a road trip to Manchester earlier this year. Hailo's Android and iOS app has been updated, too, or rather, completely rebuilt. It doesn't look all that different, but has a slightly cleaner, flatter interface. Debuted in Ireland last month, a new feature called "Pay with Hailo" is now live in London as well. While you've always been able to pay for Hailo-flagged cabs through the app, this new feature lets you do the same with a taxi you've hailed on the street (for a 50p surcharge), assuming that driver is registered with Hailo themselves. Under certain circumstances, iPhone users will also be notified when they can use this method of payment as they jump in a cab.

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NYPD

Thanks to a massive $160 million investment, the New York City Police Department is on its way to receive a combination of up to 41,000 smartphones and tablets. Known as the NYPD Mobility Initiative, which will be mostly financed by criminal asset funds provided by the Manhattan DA's Office, the goal is to provide the the city's law enforcement with tools that can improve and streamline their overall workflow. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said there are a few key elements to this plan, such as offering better case support for detectives, providing features including real-time 911 data, enhanced database access for patrol staff, quick entry points to info like Amber Alerts and email accounts for every officer.

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Like with most everything, online shopping has its pros and cons. One of the best elements of going the digital route, though, is that you usually end up saving more money than at a brick-and-mortar store. Having said that, according to a recent study by Northeastern University, a number of websites are charging some users more than others. The findings point out that travel-booking companies such as Cheaptickers and Orbits were bumping hotel prices for people who weren't logged in to their site, with prices going up by as much as $12 extra per night to every user without an account. Even more interesting is the fact Travelocity, which is among the most popular places to book travel on the web, was found to be charging iOS users an average of $15 less on hotels compared to those browsing from another mobile platform. Which is to say, you should probably use an iPhone or iPad during your next Travelocity order -- and with the holidays coming up, the timing couldn't be any better.

[Image credit: Kasaa/Flickr]

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If there's one thing on-demand car startup Uber likes more than ferrying people around, it's trying to grab people's attention with kooky promo stunts. Uber for barbecue? Uber wedding packages? Pairing riders with attractive lady drivers? Been there, done that (for better or worse). Every once in a while though, Uber cooks up something genuinely useful and today is one of those days: if you live in Boston, Washington DC or New York City, you can order an on-demand flu shot for you and up to nine of your friends until 3PM Eastern.

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Android Wear, Google's four-month-old wearables platform, is off to a good start. But like all nascent systems, there are still plenty of areas that need some TLC. It's got a lot of features and developer support, but it's practically useless if you want to use your smartwatch as a fitness tracker and leave your phone at home. Over the next few days, Google will push a new update to the LG G Watch, Moto 360 and Samsung Gear Live that will make your smart timepiece more useful when it's not tethered to your handset.

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Project Ara is surely one of the most exciting things Google is working on right now -- at least from the ones we're aware of. Better yet, given how young it is, chances are it will only keep getting better and more interesting. While speaking at a Purdue University event, Google's Paul Eremenko, director of Project Ara, recently revealed that the company will be taking a cue from the Play store to create a similar shopping experience for its modular smartphone. What this means, essentially, is you'd be able to buy or sell different components from a single hub, just as is the case now with apps, music, books and more on Google Play -- and it would also include reviews and recommendations. Eremenko didn't mention any details related to the status of Project Ara, but you can check out the full talk after the break.

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Partial solar eclipse at sunset moment

Google Now has just added more cards to its ever-increasing arsenal, and this time, they'll help you prepare for eclipses and possibly dangerous situations. The new eclipse card lists almost everything you need to know about the phenomenon, including what it is, how to make a pinhole projector to view it and how to photograph it safely. If you can see the card right now, then you're most likely somewhere in North America, and the partial solar eclipse tomorrow will be visible where you live, weather permitting. The second card, on the other hand, shows you any police activity happening in your area and nearby places, though an Android Police commenter suggests the card isn't exactly new, just rare. Sure, getting one of these cards might be a bit stressful, since nobody wants to hear that there are bad guys prowling around their neighborhood. But at least it can let you know when to be extra careful or to avoid places where there's trouble.

[Image credit: Zhan Tian/Getty]

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While Canada is the brunt of countless jokes, it seems like our friendly neighbors to the north have the last laugh this time. At least when it comes to playing SimCity on the go, that is. The folks at EA have recently soft-launched SimCity BuildIt on Android, and like so many other mobile games it won't cost a dime to download. Of course, once you start shelling out for in-app purchases that'll change in an instant. Why the lack of fanfare? Well, the last game in the series didn't fare so well at the outset or for awhile afterward, so that might have something to do with it. Android Community says that despite expectations, however, it isn't a mobile port of the PC title. Instead, it's apparently more along the lines of a typical Android city builder, just with a SimCity coat of paint. We've embedded a gameplay video after the break so you can judge for yourself.

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The Yahoo! Billboard, San Francisco

Yahoo has just released a new Mail update for iOS and Android that integrates event and travel notifications within the app... whoa wait, why does that sound familiar? Another tech company with a name that starts with a G might have announced something similar earlier, but we're not entirely sure (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Kidding aside, the Today section in the Yahoo Mail app can now tell you if your flight's been delayed or canceled and give you directions to the airport: you can even call the airline or go straight to its website if you need to rebook, right from the app. When you visit a new area, you'll automatically get restaurant and attraction suggestions, replete with their Yelp reviews. Finally, if you're attending an Evite, Eventbrite or Ticketmaster event, the app will show you its details, along with directions on how to get to there. The update's already out on both iTunes and Google Play, but (unfortunately for most countries around the globe) the features are only available in the US for now.

[Image credit: Scott Schiller/Flickr]

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A group of developers thought it would be fun to merge playground activities with mobile gaming -- so they did. They've created a system called Hybrid Play that lets kids (or adults, no judgment here) control games on their phones with see-saws, swing sets and other playground toys. To transform these outdoor playsets into big controllers, kids will have to clip the Hybrid Play sensor (above) onto their slides and merry-go-rounds. This sensor (which is dust- impact- and water-resistant) is powered by an Arduino microcontoller and equipped with accelerometers, gyroscopes, infrared and Bluetooth. It transforms real-life movements into signals sent to your phone, which the app then converts into virtual action. By the way, the system's iOS and Android apps will come loaded with a selection of games to choose from, but everyone can make their own, as it's an open-source project.

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Xiaomi's a force to be reckoned with in China -- its new phones routinely sell out online in seconds -- but its influence is steadily growing outside its native home. That's why the company's infrastructure has been quietly shifting these past few months, and VP/former Googler Hugo Barra pulled back the curtain on what Xiaomi's been up to. Long story short: it's moving user data around the world, not only to make sure its services work better, but also to better protect its users' information.

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Microsoft Torque on a Samsung Gear Live

Slightly irked that you have to say "OK Google" whenever you want to use voice search on your Android Wear smartwatch? Microsoft, of all companies, is coming to your rescue. The developer is leading a trio of experimental Android releases with Torque, an app that lets you start a Bing search just by twisting your wrist; you only have to speak when you're asking your question. You'll get optimized output for certain kinds of search results, including maps, stocks and weather.

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Inside An AT&T Store Ahead of Earnings Figures

It's no secret that the US wireless market is saturated, and that most people who want a mobile device have already purchased one by now. Naturally, this means that the national players in the industry are looking for other points of revenue to aid future growth. AT&T is proving that it's one of the most successful in this venture by announcing today that it's activated a heap of connected devices last quarter -- to the tune of 1.3 million. That's a healthy number, especially since the company accumulated only a tenth of that in the previous quarter. This genre refers to a wide range of gadgets that come with an AT&T SIM card inside, but the most interesting part of this announcement is that over 500,000 of those activated devices come from connected cars.

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Heads up, Android fans: Google Earth for your phones is about to get a lot better. That's what the folks in Mountain View are promising, anyway -- they've released an update to the app brings with it snappier performance and improved labels for maps (you'll never wonder where Foster City and Redwood Shores begin and end again). Perhaps the biggest change, though -- a completely rebuilt 3D rendering engine -- means those cityscapes and mountain ranges you pore over should show up with more crispness and clarity. Try not to lord that over your friends using Apple Maps, will you? Throw in a way to import your own custom .KML files into the app from Google Drive and you've got all the makings of a pretty momentous update. Itching to take it for a spin? Mosey on over to the Google Play Store to get your globetrotting fix.

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Testing Apple Pay in September

Went on a spending spree with your Bank of America debit card the moment Apple Pay hit your iPhone? You might be in for a (brief) shock. The bank is now issuing refunds after it charged at least some Apple Pay users twice when they made purchases at retail shops. While it hasn't said what triggered the glitch, the issue doesn't appear to involve Apple's software -- there haven't been widespread reports of problems with other cards, and Apple itself doesn't process transactions. Whatever was the cause, it's not surprising that a major mobile payment service would run into some hiccups just after launch. Let's just hope that things go more smoothly from here on out.

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