It's hard out there for Gmail addicts on iOS, who still don't have an app that's as robust as Gmail on Android. But at least things are getting a bit better: Google just released version 4.0 of its Gmail iOS app, which finally takes advantage of some useful iOS 8 features. You can now reply or archive messages that pop up in your notification tray, as well as send files straight to Gmail using the iOS sharing menu. It's also easier to deal with attachments now, since you can choose specific apps to view files people send you. Unfortunately, the app is still pretty much useless when you're offline, since it's not very good about caching messages. On Android, on the other hand, you can still get plenty of work done without an internet connection. For now, Microsoft's new Outlook iPhone app is looking like a better alternative for weary Gmail users. And yes, the irony that a Microsoft app on Apple's platform is the best way to view Google's mail is pretty darn rich.

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Glympse for Autos

You no longer have to fiddle with your smartphone (or an in-car interface) to share your location while on the road. Glympse has trotted out Glympse for Auto, an Android app that lets you send your position with a minimum of distractions. You only have to tell it who can see your whereabouts and for how long using a big, car-friendly interface -- after that, you're free to focus on driving. It'll even show up on your infotainment display if you're using either Pioneer's AppRadio 3 or MirrorLink-equipped cars from Volkswagen and Peugeot (more in-car systems will work soon, Glympse says). While this hands-off approach won't get you home any faster, it should spare you from taking risks just to prove that you're still stuck in traffic.

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Tech-savvy users may have already come across TouchPal when trying different keyboards on Android and iOS 8 (and maybe even Windows 8), but it looks like a whole lot more people will be introduced to it soon. According to the Shanghai-based keyboard developer, HTC is replacing Nuance's Swype with TouchPal as its new default input engine on upcoming Android devices -- including the recently announced One M9 -- around the world (unless requested otherwise by operators). While HTC wouldn't officially comment on this, an internal source close to the matter verified TouchPal's announcement, though it didn't go into detail as to what prompted the move.

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Hey, Hyundai owners, it's finally here: the Blue Link companion app for smartwatches that the automaker promised back during CES this year. And yes, you can use it to remotely lock/unlock doors, start/stop the engine, flash lights or honk any Blue Link-enabled car's horn, even if it's as old as the 2012 Sonata. It can also help you find your car in humongous parking lots and call roadside assistance -- plus, you can do all those by issuing voice commands, so long as you press the mic icon. Not bad, huh? As Hyundai Motor's Frank Ferrara said: "It is like being James Bond 007 or Scotty in Star Trek." The companion app's now out for Android Wear devices, but there's also an Apple Watch version just waiting for the wearable to hit the market.

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Softcard

There was no question that AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon gave up on their Softcard mobile payment service when they agreed to pre-install Google Wallet, but it's now apparent that they're beating an especially hasty retreat. Softcard is telling users that its service will stop working after March 31st -- when April rolls around, both the app and your account go bye-bye. It's doubtful that you'll shed a tear for an offering that was mostly meant to stifle competition, but you will have to choose another tap-to-pay service fairly quickly if you happen to be one of the remaining customers. Thankfully, there won't be a shortage of alternatives any time soon.

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Robot payphone

Yep, the Federal Trade Commission still hates robocalls as much as you do. The agency has launched a contest where you'll get a $25,000 top prize if you develop technology that sends illegal automated telemarketing to a honeypot system, which makes it easier to study calls and catch perpetrators. You have up until the evening of June 15th to qualify your bot trap, and the winner will be decided at a Def Con showdown on August 9th. The payout certainly isn't large, but think of this as doing the country a favor -- you may save millions from listening to Rachel from card services over and over again.

[Image credit: SarahNW, Flickr]

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The second generation of YotaPhone's dual-display smartphone is finally coming to the US, but not in the way you may expect. In an interview with PhoneScoop, the company's Matthew Kelly said that the e-ink display-toting device will be made available to backers on Indiegogo, of all places. The details have yet to be worked out, but the company is planning to offer early backers some sort of bonus for getting to the front of the line. If the sale is successful, then the device might even wind up hitting store shelves but, for now, it doesn't look as if any specific plans have been made. There's also no word on how much the US edition of the YotaPhone 2 will cost you, but considering that it's priced at nearly £600 ($917) in the UK, you can expect to be paying flagship prices for that extra screen.

Update: Yota have belatedly confirmed that the handset will be priced at $600 when it hits Indiegogo.

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Claude Zellweger

The story of HTC's recent fortunes is one of the more bizarre tales in modern technology. What other company releases award-winning flagship after award-winning flagship, only to see revenues and market share drop? For a while, HTC's phones truly stood out in terms of design and build quality (since 2012 there's been the One X, the One M7 and the One M8). The One M9 represents another iterative step forward for HTC, in a product cycle that has (debatably) seen rivals Apple and Samsung make huge leaps forward. But it's not all doom and gloom. Even if the M9 is being mooted as a potential miss, the Vive, its new virtual reality headset, is perhaps the biggest hit of the show. I sat down with the man at the heart of everything HTC does, chief designer Claude Zellweger, to discuss the company's direction, the M9 and its entry into VR.

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If you're looking to post multiple photos to Instagram at once, you have to employ another app to create a grid of snapshots. Well, that's about to change... for brands. The filter-driven app announced today that "carousel ads" will soon appear in your feed, allowing companies to post multiple images with "more flexibility" in the storytelling. When you encounter one of the new adverts, swiping left will reveal additional images, linking out to the appropriate website for further investigation. Underneath the post, dots will show your which photo you're viewing, and that handy link comes in the form of a "learn more" button. Of course, advertisers can also leverage the app's video abilities to drive the intended message home. Use of the new ad format will be limited at first, as Instagram plans to make some tweaks once they go live in the "coming weeks."

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Here's what our readers think of the iPhone 6 Plus

Though the iPhone has always been a good (if not great) product, one area where it was lacking was size. If you wanted a bigger screen, you had to pick up an Android device. And plenty of people did, which is why Apple finally entered the fray last year with the iPhone 6 Plus. We really liked its camera and its beautiful display, though we found that the larger size "can fatigue even the biggest of hands if you hold on long enough." But while we didn't find the iPhone 6 Plus groundbreaking, we did note it brought much-needed freshness to Apple's lineup. But how did the 6 Plus' larger dimensions and updated design fare with consumers? Our readers were ready to let us know, writing reviews on the 6 Plus' product page to show us how this 5.5-inch device felt in their own hands.

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Waze on an iPhone

Waze is mostly meant to help you avoid traffic snarls and speed traps, but it's now performing a valuable public service. Effective immediately, the navigation app will notify you about AMBER Alerts for abducted children wherever you're driving. Stop for at least 10 seconds and you'll get details for both the victims and any vehicles they might be traveling in. It's a simple upgrade, but it could make all the difference if you spot a child or captor in time for police to stage a rescue.

[Top image credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images]

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As much as you'd like to give Facebook's Slingshot a try, most of your friends still prefer Snapchat, huh? If you don't mind slinging photos or videos with strangers, the app's new Explore feature can help connect you to people who do use it regularly. It shows a list of popular users you can follow, so you can finally get to enjoy what the app can do. In case you are one of those popular users and would rather not be hounded by strangers sick of Snapchat, though, simply switch on "Approve Followers" in your settings page. This update also comes with bug fixes and an easier way to follow someone while viewing their entries, and it's now live for both iOS and Android users.

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'Vainglory' at Apple's iPhone 6 event

Psst: the games you play might not look as good (or run as smoothly) as they could. In many cases, the overhead from graphics standards gets in the way -- Apple went so far as to develop its own technology just to make sure that iPhones and iPads could live up to their potential. That bottleneck may not exist for much longer, however. The alliance behind the OpenGL video standard has given a sneak peek at Vulkan, an open standard that lets app writers take direct control of graphics chips and wring out extra performance on many devices, whether it's your phone or a hot rod gaming PC. The software isn't a magic bullet (developers still have to make good use of it), but it could easily lead to richer visuals and smoother frame rates without demanding beefier hardware.

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Tired of punching in numbers or swiping strange patterns to unlock your smartphone? Fingerprint and facial recognition have been tried before with varying levels of success, and now ZTE thinks it can offer something better. The company's Grand S3 smartphone in China is getting a feature called "Sky Eye," which lets you swap Android's traditional lockscreen methods with your eyeballs. It uses a biometric authentication called "Eyeprint ID" by EyeVerify and, of course, we had to check it out for ourselves.

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iPhone 6 and Galaxy Note 3

When we last checked in on the battle for the top spot in the smartphone market, Apple and Samsung were neck and neck. If you ask Gartner, though, it isn't quite so evenly matched. The analyst group estimates that Apple managed to edge past Samsung in the fourth quarter of 2014, shipping 74.8 million phones to Samsung's 73 million. That isn't exactly a cavernous gap, but it's been a long time since any research firm unambiguously declared Apple the biggest vendor -- over three years, if you're wondering. Having said this, the changing of the guard isn't completely surprising. Apple had two brand new iPhones in the fall to goose its sales, while Samsung was grappling with both surging Chinese competitors (including chart rivals Lenovo, Huawei and Xiaomi) and a flagship phone that was getting long in the tooth.

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