Mobile data is pricier in developing regions than in the west, a paradox that has held back mobile internet adoption on most of the planet. To help, Opera has unveiled App Pass, a service that lets smartphone users download and use apps without paying for data. It comes as part of Opera Max, an Android app that cuts mobile data usage by compressing it up to 50 percent. App Pass is targeted at emerging markets, and will let operators offer "free, sponsored or low-cost access to select apps." Users can then download and use them without paying for data over the duration of the pass.

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AdNear's phone-tracking drone

Irked that advertisers are already trying to pinpoint your phone's location? It might be even harder to escape their grasp if AdNear is successful. The ad intelligence group is experimenting with location-tracking drones that profile audiences in harder-to-reach areas (say, field concerts or pedestrian-only urban areas) by triangulating cellular and WiFi signals. In theory, this will help merchants find ways to attract you when you're walking by.

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Diverse emoji in iOS and OS X

If you're disappointed that current emoji characters don't reflect your skin tone, don't worry: Apple is getting ready to accommodate you. Both the latest betas of iOS 8.3 and OS X 10.10.3 include modifiers that let you choose the skin color of some icons. There are more flags, too. And Apple couldn't resist being cheeky -- you'll now see an Apple Watch in place of an ordinary timepiece, just as it already replaces generic phone pictures with an iPhone.

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Google Inbox handling work email

Google's Inbox is theoretically perfect for some workers given its task-focused approach to email, but it hasn't had true workplace support -- if your company leans on Google Apps, you're out of luck. Things are going to loosen up shortly, though. Google is now accepting requests to join an early adopter program that lets Apps-based companies try Inbox. You sadly can't sign up just for your own email address (your administrator has to do it), but the effort will expand over the months ahead. Don't be surprised if you soon have another way to keep tabs on your corporate chats.

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Microsoft Band

Thanks to a big update, Microsoft's Band just got considerably more useful -- whether or not you're a fan of the company's push into health. For a start, there's a swipe-capable predictive keyboard that lets you type out replies at those times when you'd rather not use voice or reach for the phone in your pocket. There's also a new cycling mode that optimizes the fitness tracking for your two-wheeled adventures. Studying your performance after the fact is easier, too. The Microsoft Health web front end provides both more data and better summaries of what you're looking at, and Band will sync to both Microsoft's own HealthVault and MapMyFitness if you prefer either of them.

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In an ironic turn, Google is now partnering with AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile to bring its Google Wallet mobile payment app to their Android phones later this year. Yes, those are the same carriers who made life pretty difficult for Google with their own payment solution, Softcard (formerly called Isis). The real point of this deal: Wallet will be pre-installed on Android phones running KitKat or higher, which makes it far more likely that people will actually use it. Google's also acquiring some technology and intellectual property from Softcard, though it's unclear what exactly it's getting. Sure, it feels as if we're in the mobile payments Twilight Zone -- Softcard was the main reason Google couldn't bring Wallet to every single Android phone. But now that Apple Pay is taking off (even the US government wants in on the action), and Samsung is gearing up for its own wallet by buying LoopPay, Google has to do something to rev up its own mobile payment action. And that starts with making Google Wallet a default feature, rather than being an app people have to discover and install on their own.

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Last week we heard about YouTube's new app for little tykes, and now, it's ready to go to work. YouTube Kids is available on iOS and Android, delivering access to shows and music (Thomas the Tank Engine) with options for learning or exploring (Reading Rainbow), too. As you might expect, there are parental controls to keep tabs on content, sound levels and screen time, and items that don't need to be futzed with by children (comments, etc.) are absent. What's there, though, is a tiny finger-friendly interface of large images for easy navigation. If you're willing to hand your iPad or Nexus 9 over to junior, head over to the appropriate app repository to download.

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Now we know there's some metal in there, but Samsung's recent video teaser didn't really give us a clear look at its new Galaxy phone. Fortunately, T-Mobile's got you covered, even if it's not quite the whole deal. While promoting a sign-up page for interested parties, the carrier also threw in the above image to whet appetites. So now we're confused: another teaser video suggested a more typically screened device without the curved display of the Galaxy Edge, but maybe Samsung's got two S6 devices. Or maybe it'll only have the one curved side, unlike early reports. Who knows? (Aside from the Samsung execs and, most likely, T-Mobile CEO John Legere.) We've reached peak teaser levels now, so barring an incidental complete leak, you'll have to wait seven more days for all the answers, curved edges and all.

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LG's already said it's bringing a new wearable to MWC, but it's also got a shoebox full of phones to showcase too. Like previous MWCs, the phone company has transplanted features from its flagship smartphone to models with smaller screens... and price tags. The biggest of the four new midrange phones, called the Magna, has a 5-inch display and 5-megapixel front-facing camera, alongside an 8-megapixel on the back. LG's even bought those back-of-phone buttons to these new models, barring the smallest 4-inch LG Joy. We've summarized the rest of the family after the break, but in an arguably depressing sign of the times, LG's also tweaked the sensitivity of its gesture recognition to incorporate selfie stick users. You can't stop the selfie. Unless you ban them.

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An iPhone text notification on a Moto 360

Android Wear isn't going to officially support iOS devices any time soon, but that doesn't mean that the two platforms can never see eye-to-eye. Developer Mohammad Abu-Garbeyyeh has tweaked Android Wear to make it display an iPhone's notifications using the same ANCS technology as Pebble's smartwatches. While the creator hasn't revealed every nuance of how this modification works, he claims that you don't need to jailbreak iOS or get root access on Android Wear in order to pull this off -- apart from the notification hack, your devices could behave normally. Not that you'd necessarily want to snag a Moto 360 or LG Watch Urbane just to try this project, at least not in its current form. Even if the code were readily available (it isn't), you still wouldn't get Google Now or app support. This is more to show what's possible, not what makes sense.

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A Sprint store in New York City

Sprint is still bending over backwards to get you to switch to its network, and this time it's hoping to bring your whole family on board. The carrier is running a Family Share Pack promotion until March 12th that gives you 12GB of shared data for $90 per month (with waived line access fees) through the end of March 2016 -- a hefty bargain versus the 10GB T-Mobile is offering in its $100 deal. Sprint will also buy out your existing contract, albeit through gift cards, if you switch from another provider. This isn't the biggest deal given that your bill will get much bigger once the promo is over and those access fees kick in. All the same, it could be worth the effort if you were already bent on dropping your existing carrier (particularly AT&T or Verizon, which charge $160 for 10GB) and live in a Sprint-friendly area.

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HTC One M9 in silver and gold

HTC's plans for March 1st might just be out in the open. MobileGeeks has spotted German store listings for a new One phone whose images bear an uncanny resemblance to the One M9 spy photos from last month, complete with an oversized camera space and a flashy silver-and-gold color scheme for one model. The claimed 2GHz Snapdragon 810 chip, 20-megapixel rear camera and 4-megapixel front shooter will all sound familiar if you've been following rumors, but there are a few new twists here. The BlinkFeed news stream is different enough to suggest new software, and the body is a tad thicker than its predecessor -- possibly to offer space for the new camera, a bigger battery (supposedly 2,900mAh) or both. It's hard to say for sure that this is what you'll see in a week's time given contrasting reports, but it's at least plausible.

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Microsoft Buddy Aware (People Sense)

It's fairly easy to locate friends and family if you have an Android or iOS device, but finding your pals with a Windows phone? Not so much, unless you come across the right third-party apps. That may not be a big challenge for much longer. Spanish site Microsoft Place has detailed an as yet unreleased service, People Sense, that will let you share and track locations with other Windows phone owners. The basic concept is familiar if you've seen Apple's Find My Friends, but there's a stronger emphasis on reaching out -- you can call or message contacts in-app, and even get directions if you'd like to meet face to face. People Sense is still in private beta testing (it's listed as "Buddy Aware" at the moment) and has no clear release date, but it won't be surprising if the software plays a role in Windows 10.

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Google Now's

Google already has ways to find gas stations before you hit the open road, but it hasn't usually offered relevant stations. Wouldn't you want to see pumps that don't require a big detour? You might not have that problem from now on. Numerous drivers have noticed that Google Now is showing a "gas stations on your route" card that highlights fill-ups based on the direction you're driving. The feature isn't all that practical when you're the one behind the wheel, but it could help your passengers point out those much-needed pit stops well before your tank runs empty. Let's just hope this eventually applies to charging stations as well -- EV drivers need love, too.

[Image credit: Kevin McLaughlin, Google+]

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"OK, Google. Turn on WiFi" is something you might want to start practicing out loud if you're among the small percentage of Android users who already have Lollipop on their devices. Android Police has discovered that Google Now on the latest Android release can tweak some of your settings for you with just a voice command. Specifically, it can switch the device's Bluetooth, flashlight and WiFi on or off, whereas it could only bring up the Settings page in the past, leaving you to toggle things yourself. The feature can be really useful at times, especially if your device doesn't come with a built-in flashlight controller or if you need to use your phone while on the road. It seems to be limited to those three for now, and only for Lollipop devices, so you'll still have to work those thumbs to adjust any other setting.

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