When CVS and Rite-Aid shut off their NFC-based payments to prevent customers from using Apple Pay, we heard it was because they're part of a large group developing rival technology CurrentC. Now, The New York Times has shed more light on the issue, and it turns out they did it not just to stifle the competition, but also because they're contractually obligated not to offer Apple Pay in their stores. The whole Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) group, including these two drug stores and big-box retailers Walmart and Best Buy, signed a contract years ago that binds them to Current C. That contract, signed way before anyone knew if Apple Pay was ever going to materialize, prevents them from supporting rival technologies, as doing so will earn them outrageous fines.

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Step aside, Gionee, as your record for the world's slimmest smartphone has just been beaten by a fellow Chinese manufacturer. Oppo's R5, the successor to the Asia-only R3, comes in at just 4.85mm thick, thus beating the 5.15mm-thick Elife S5.1 from Gionee. Despite the crazy thin metallic body, the R5 still packs a handful of goodies: a 5.2-inch full HD AMOLED screen, an octa-core (quad 2.1GHz and quad 1.5GHz), 64-bit Snapdragon 615 SoC, 2GB of RAM, 5MP/13MP cameras (both with f/2.0 aperture), LTE radio and a 2,000 mAh battery. All of this comes in at just 155g heavy. Of course, there's bound to be a trade-off: You only get 16GB of internal storage, no microSD expansion and, unlike the Elife S5.1, no 3.5mm headphone connector here -- you'll need to use the bundled micro-USB adapter or Bluetooth (there's an optional O-Music Bluetooth clip for your headphones and for triggering the camera).

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If you thought Oppo was done with making eccentric selfie phones, you're wrong; the Chinese company is back with a new model dubbed the N3 to replace the N1 from last September. The iconic swivel camera at the top is here to stay, but this time we have a 16-megapixel f/2.2 module with Schneider optics, and it's motorised! It's actually much cooler than it sounds: You can quickly flip the camera with a flick gesture on the screen or on the fingerprint sensor on the back -- more on that later. In addition to that, the N3 comes with a new O-Click Bluetooth remote that not only acts as a remote trigger, but it also lets you adjust the camera's angle using the extra buttons.

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Huawei's Honor series of smartphones are designed to pack a punch without punching a hole in your wallet, but these devices typically don't see the light of day outside of China and other select markets. Today, that changes, with the announcement of the European launch of the Honor 6, a high-powered Android phone with an attractively low price tag. The handset may look like a relatively generic square with rounded corners, but the spec sheet tells a different story. A 5-inch, 1080p display adorns the front of the device, while a 3,100mAh battery allegedly keeps the thing going for more than two days with normal usage. It also packs in 3GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel primary camera with f/2.0 aperture, and a 5MP front-facing shooter with wide-angle lens. The real star of the show, though, is Huawei's Kirin 920 octa-core chip, which also includes a Cat 6 4G radio capable of tapping into LTE-Advanced networks that support maximum download speeds of 300 Mbps (Vodafone has one of those in the UK, by the way). The Honor 6 will be available on Amazon's regional portals from 9AM GMT today for £250 in the UK and €300 elsewhere in Europe.

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Reserve on an iPhone 6

You can already organize fine dining excursions through a single app like OpenTable, but you still have to pull out your phone or wallet to pay when the night's over. You won't have to worry about the bill with Reserve's new concierge service, though. The currently iOS-only platform lets you not only find and book tables based on your preferences, but automatically bills you after each meal (tip and all); you'll be charged a $5 fee for the convenience, but that's tiny in the world of haute cuisine. If your favorite eatery is busy, you can even offer to pay more than usual in hopes of securing a spot. Want to give it a whirl? You'll have to eat in Boston, New York City or Los Angeles during the current beta testing phase, although San Franciscans will get to try it relatively soon.

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While on stage at the WSJD Live conference, Whisper CEO Michael Heyward defended his company against the Guardian's recent allegations that the anonymous sharing app stores and tracks its users locations. He told Wall Street Journal reporter Evelyn Rusli that not only were all the paper's accusations wrong and misleading, but that he would fire the employee who supposedly told the Guardian that it would follow a particular Whisper user, who happens to be a lobbyist, for life. The company has already suspended its editorial staff to conduct an internal investigation and find out just who this person is. "This does not reflect our values and what we're all about," he said.

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Sure, Apple's already fixed that buggy iOS 8.0.1 update that disconnected devices from their networks and just pretty much broke iPhones for a while. It's even been a month since then, but you still can't let it go until you get an explanation, huh? Well, friends, this is probably the closest thing you'll ever get: apparently, there was nothing wrong with the update itself, and it was Apple's distribution methods or how the update was "wrapped" that broke devices. At Recode's Code/Mobile conference earlier, Apple product marketing executive Greg "Joz" Joswiak said the issue resulted from "the way the software was being sent over servers," though he didn't go into specifics. He also defended his company, claiming that mistakes are inevitable when you're pushing software and that Apple always tries to fix them quickly. Since Joz dismissed questions on whether he thinks the company has bigger quality control issues, you'll just have to speculate about that on your own.

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Verizon Wireless store

Do you work hard to maintain privacy on your smartphone through tools like Do Not Track? If you're on Verizon, your efforts might not be doing much good. Researchers have discovered that the carrier has been modifying some of its cellular web traffic to insert a Unique Identifier Header (UIDH) that helps create profiles for targeted ads. You can opt out of the associated ad program to avoid the sales pitches, but that doesn't turn the headers off -- a less-than-scrupulous website could still build a unique profile of your activity, whether it's for simple advertising purposes or customizing phishing attacks.

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It may seem as if YouTube Live is still a work in progress for Google, and in many ways that continues to be the case. That's far from being a bad thing, though. Over the course of the past couple of years, YouTube's live-streaming feature has become available to an increasing number of people on both ends of the camera, by way of different devices and platforms. Soon, with a new open-source project called YouTube WatchMe for Android, the video service is hoping that developers will start integrating its real-time broadcasting capabilities to their apps. Google says the tool is only an experiment right now, but it wouldn't surprise us to see it become more than that in the not-so-distant future. If you're interested in digging a little deeper, or contributing your wisdom to the project, be sure to take a gander at the GitHub repository right here.

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Earlier today, Taco Bell's site and social networks went completely dark, making some curious people wonder what the fast food chain had up its sleeve. This time, however, it wasn't a Doritos-infused taco or a fresh breakfast menu of sorts. Instead, Taco Bell introduced an all-new mobile application, which allows iOS and Android users to place orders and pay directly from their smartphone. But in case this wasn't enough, the app will let you customize various menu items and, by using location services, pick them up whenever you're close to your location of choice. Taco Bell says it won't make the food until customers arrive, this way it will taste just as fresh as they had imagined it -- simply put, the popular chain wants everyone to "skip the in-store line like you own the place." Assuming you can handle the aftermath of a Taco Bell meal, the app is a pretty good idea.

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If you felt that AT&T pulled a fast one by promising you unlimited mobile data only to throttle your service later on, you're not alone. The Federal Trade Commission has just sued the carrier for misleading grandfathered customers about the changes; allegedly, it's not doing enough to warn these subscribers that it heavily throttles their connections after they reach a data usage milestone. It's not really unlimited access if your service becomes so slow that music streaming and other common features don't work, the FTC says. Effectively, AT&T changed the terms of use for people who were still under contract, and didn't say much when customers renewed.

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We first heard about Mountain View's activity-tracking plans back at I/O, and now the Android faithful and get their hands on the goods. The Google Fit app, the company's answer to Apple Health, is now available for download, compiling all of those collected fitness stats in the same spot. By leveraging your phone's sensors, the software monitors walking, running and cycling activity, allowing you to set specific goals and benefit from some friendly advice. Fit also plays nice with third-party apps and devices -- and of course, Android Wear gadgets -- so that you can get an overall view of your progress from one place. Strava, Withings, Runtastic, Runkeeper and Noom Coach were specifically mentioned in the announcement and MapMyFitness is opting in as well. What's more, the initiative can be accessed on the web should the need arise (once you've logged in on your phone). Looking to get moving? You'll need a handset running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or above, but if you meet the requirement, the app is available for download at Google Play.

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Everyone likes the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes with donating some of your hard-earned to charity, but sometimes you simply don't have any change to pop in the bucket. Many of us also have chugger-dodging down to an art form, but now there's a simple, quick way to give to charity that doesn't involve a ten-minute lecture. A new app called SnapDonate, available on Android and coming soon to iOS, turns your smartphone's camera into a "magic lens" capable of identifying the logos of 13,000 UK charities. After you've "snapped" a logo, the app then allows you give up to £50 to the charity in question, or save the donation to a to-do list for revisiting when you've got some spare dough. The payment can be taken from any PayPal account or bank card, with that part handled by trusted online donations platform JustGiving -- a name you'll recognise all too well if you work in an office full of marathon-loving masochists.

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Verizon's Droid Turbo is a curious little beast: It's a distinct improvement over Motorola's one-time flagship Moto X, but it lacks the sort of geek credentials that have gotten people drooling over the newly announced Nexus 6. That said, we were a little taken with just how seriously Motorola still takes its long-running Droid line, so join us as we take a quick look what's worth knowing about the Turbo.

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Android 5.0 Lollipop

Android 5.0 Lollipop isn't just about a shiny new interface or whiz-bang features; there are some new ways to safeguard your phone's data, too. To underscore that point, Google has detailed Lollipop's toughened-up security features. Some of them you may know if you've followed development closely. Smart Lock lets you unlock your device using a paired Bluetooth- or NFC-equipped gadget, such as an Android Wear watch. Tougher SELinux enforcement, meanwhile, should reduce the chances that a rogue app compromises the entire system. And as much as the FBI may hate it, full device encryption is both on by default (for new devices) and tied to hardware security -- both law enforcement and thieves should have a much harder time spying on your locally stored content. It's probably going to be a while before these new defenses reach your phone, and you'll still want to be cautious when sharing things online. Nonetheless, it sounds like you won't have to worry quite so much about data breaches in the near future.

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