Samsung's financial reports last month explained that profits had almost halved in the quarter. Now, executives have confirmed that it's betting on a more streamlined range of smart devices to help ameliorate things / get their wages back. (The company hinted at the move in its earning call last month, as noted by The Wall Street Journal.) The phone maker aims to: "increase the number of components shared across mid- to low-end models, so that we can further leverage economies of scale" - something that Samsung can do because it makes so many parts of the phones itself. Robert Yi, Head of Investor Relations said that the number of models would be cut by around 25 to 30 percent. So possibly less Galaxy Megas, Cores, Rounds, Edges and Minis, and if the company gets it right, a new smartphone star.

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A wise person once related opinions to one of many things we all have. And it's hard not to think of that when looking at Super, a new opinion sharing app launching today for the iPhone and Android. Text prompts like "the best," "the worst," and "the craziest" invite you to shout your opinions to the world alongside a relevant photo. Like Twitter, it rewards pithy text and clever wordplay. But photos are just as important, making it feel equally like Instagram. You can even double-tap on a post to "like" it, a behavior that Instagram popularized. The more I played around with it, the more Super seemed a generator for those text-heavy posts that always seem a bit out of place on Instagram. (And which inevitably get more likes than my carefully composed landscapes.)

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Heads up, millennials: Snapchat isn't just for sending evaporating selfies anymore. Thanks to a newly inked deal with Square (of all companies), you'll soon be able to fire off money at your Snapchat contacts after you've created a Snapcash account and connected a debit card. Really. It's that easy. Once that teensy bit of setup is done, the app will detect if you're sending a message to a friend with a dollar amount inside; when it does, the send button with sprout a dollar sign and you're ready to transfer those funds. The folks over at Re/code are reporting that the Android faithful in the United States will get the necessary app update some time today, with an iOS version to follow shortly.

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Google Keep has become a modest alternative to Evernote for those looking to keep their entire workflow within the confines of Mountain View's app arsenal. With today's update, the productivity software will allow you to share those idea boards and to-do lists amongst your cohorts so that everyone who's privy to the info knows exactly what needs to be done. The new version also offers improved search that filters notes by color, sharing, images and more. Now that you can find and distribute items easily, there's really no excuse for someone forgetting the milk. In addition to outfitting Android devices, the sharing feature is available for use on the web and via the Chrome Web Store.

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Christmas is a time of giving, but let's be honest, being on the receiving end is so much better. Over the next few weeks, we're going to be running back-to-back giveaways as we approach the festive season -- and winners won't even need to wait until the 25th to start playing with their free toys. To kick things off, we've got a new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (octa-core Exynos variant) to gift to one lucky reader, thanks to the generosity of our friends at Bitdefender and their Mobile Security software for Android. For a modest subscription fee, the app will protect your device from malware, advise you when app permissions might be cause for concern, let you track and wipe your phone remotely if it's been pinched, and even keep your Android Wear smartwatch safe. If you don't know the drill already, UK residents can enter the giveaway up to three times via the Rafflecopter widget below. Before you start clicking away, though, give the rules a quick read, would ya?

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Google Project Loon balloon

Google's internet-transmitting Project Loon balloons are set to float above Australia and beam data down to residents below. The company announced plans to use balloons to bring the internet to disconnected areas last year, and after semi-successful trials in New Zealand, Brazil and the States, it's teaming up with a local carrier (Australia's Telstra) for the first time to launch Loon's biggest test flight to date.

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TalkTalk Logo

As one of the UK's only quad-play providers, TalkTalk offers mobile plans alongside its TV, phone and internet packages. Since 2010, the company relied upon Vodafone's infrastructure to underpin its own network, but it's now decided it wants to try something new. In a joint announcement, TalkTalk and Telefónica (UK) today publicised an agreement that will see the UK media company switch across to O2's network, allowing the carrier to provide 3G and 4G services for its customers. With Virgin Media bundling mobile plans with its traditional home bundles and Sky thought to be readying the public launch of its own network (with Vodafone's help), TalkTalk now faces significant competition in the battle over low-cost tariffs. However, considering 9.5% of its total customer base already own one of its SIMs, the provider is already off to a pretty decent start.

Update: Chatting with Bloomberg, TalkTalk's CEO said the partnership with Telefónica will go beyond simply using the latter's mobile network. With help from its new friend, TalkTalk wants to outfit its customers with femtocells (akin to small, indoor mobile masts), so they'll never have to worry about spotty mobile signal at home.

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Huawei's career trajectory from Chinese white-label OEM to brand mainstream users "know" really hit a milestone with the Ascend P6. After all, this was the device that was designed to blend the best of iOS and Android into a mainstream device that looked good. Certainly, the P6 was a knock-out, but when we placed it in James Trew's experienced hands, he found that it didn't have the brains to match its stylish exterior. What you were left with, then, was a device that impressed up until the point that you used it. Still, plenty of you will have picked up this device free on contract, so the question that we want to ask is simple: what would you have done differently? Head on over to the forum and drop some truth bombs.

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Apple Pay in use with a MasterCard

Sure, Apple was quick to tout a surge of Apple Pay registrations, but how often are people actually using the iPhone-focused payment service? A fair amount, apparently. Whole Foods tells the New York Times that it racked up 150,000 transactions in the three weeks after Apple Pay became available. That's not a lot in the grander scheme of things (just 7,143 payments per day), but it's significant for a single store and a brand new service with limited device support. Other shops aren't quite so forthcoming with stats, although they suggest that there has also been an uptick. Walgreens says its mobile payments have doubled, while McDonald's says that Apple Pay now makes up half of its tap-to-pay purchases.

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Spotify and Uber might launch a collab as soon as Monday -- one that'll have you jamming to your favorite tunes with the service's drivers. According to TechCrunch, the ride-sharing company's iPhone and Android apps will soon come with the capability to blast your Spotify playlists through an Uber car's speakers. The publication has obtained two screenshots (embedded after the break) captured from within an Uber app: the first asks drivers if their cars support auxiliary audio input. That's because they need to connect their Uber-issued phones with their vehicles' stereos for customers to be able to take advantage of the Spotify integration. On the other hand, the second screenshot shows what passengers will see on their screens. The passenger's interface apparently features a music console that shows song titles and artists, along with pause and play buttons, superimposed on a map.

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AT&T Store, AT and T in unusual Mission Style Craftsman Building, AT&T Sign logo Pics by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and Jeeper

In late October, researchers discovered that AT&T and Verizon attach tracking numbers to the web traffic coming from their customers' phones, in order to keep an eye on their online habits. Now, Ma Bell says it's stopped doing so -- the company claims it has only experimented using those irremovable trackers (or perma-cookies, as the media calls them) for a pilot program, but now its tests are done. Each of these unique trackers is composed of a string of letters and numbers that can follow a user across the internet. Websites and carriers can then make a compilation of those activities to sell or give to marketing and advertising companies.

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Love it or hate it, you have to use Facebook Messenger if you're to chat privately with your friends on the social network. As we know it, the application features a minimalist design and very straight-to-the-point functionality. That's all great, of course -- but, for better or worse, it could have been so much different. TechCrunch reports that Facebook quietly flirted with the idea of featuring games in the Messenger app, going as far as quietly testing this out and, eventually, deciding against it. Instead, Facebook's EMEA Director of Platform Partnerships, Julien Codorniou, says the company opted for other ways to cash-in on the site's gaming ecosystem, like letting developers take full advantage of its mobile advertising platform. More specifically, through app install ads.

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There's something magical about the idea that, in the space of a few minutes, your smartphone or tablet can look dramatically different and do some cool new things, to boot. That's why operating system updates can be oddly exciting, and Android's latest upgrade -- known as version 5.0 or Lollipop -- is the firmware equivalent of opening a stack of presents on your birthday. The upcoming release, which is now available on the Nexus 9 and heading to dozens of mobile devices in the coming months, brings a fresh design and no shortage of new features. Join me as I unwrap Google's latest gift to the wireless community.

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The allure of instant photo printing may have passed for most folks, despite some semblance of Polaroid hanging around, but a French startup is looking to rekindle the habit. The company is working on Prynt: a phone case that packs a compact printer inside a frame that resembles a point-and-shoot camera. Right now, prototypes are capable of putting ink to paper for physical copies in just under a minute; however, final models will reduce that time to under 30 seconds. The shell also houses 10-30 sheets of paper for individual prints, and thanks to a companion app, outputs can be used to view captured videos with bit of augmented reality magic. There's a physical connection to your phone too, so you won't have to rely on Bluetooth or WiFi to send flies along. Of course, Prynt has a long way to go, but a Kickstarter is planned for early next year where the first units will be available for $99.

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Samsung's mobile head and co-CEO JK Shin is feeling the company's tumultuous performance right in his wallet. The exec earned around $630,000 last quarter (a combination of salary and bonuses), which is less than half of the $1.5 million he took home in the previous quarter, the WSJ reports. While the news only makes Shin slightly less of a millionaire than he was before, it's a clear sign of Samsung's shifting fortune. The electronics giant is still the largest smartphone maker in the world, with around 24 percent of total market share (according to IDC). But it's been steadily losing ground to inexpensive Chinese brands like Xiaomi. And Samsung has reason to be worried -- Xiaomi is now the world's third-largest smartphone company after its shipments more than doubled last quarter.

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