Grand Theft Mobile

It may be easy to report and track stolen smartphones in the UK, but that's not preventing some of the country's shops from selling these ill-gotten handsets. A BBC undercover operation has revealed that at least eight stores in London are willing to buy stolen phones, even when the hardware is obviously locked down. One of the locations was only willing to make an exchange outdoors, but none of them were seriously concerned about a run-in with the law.

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T-Mobile's John Legere presents with drink in hand

T-Mobile hasn't quite been as UnCarrier as some would like. Despite the network's turn toward overage-free service, there's still occasional chances that you'll pay extra for heavy use -- especially if you're on a grandfathered plan. That won't be a problem for long, though, as the carrier will soon eliminate overage fees across the board. You shouldn't be seeing any rude surprises on your bill from June onward. The move won't deliver huge savings unless you regularly pay surcharges -- and you'll still have to deal with throttling -- but it's good to have some reassurance that your costs won't get out of control in the future.

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While the BBC's Vidiprinter dutifully does its job providing us with all of the goals around the grounds, many have ditched TV and now use a smartphone to check the latest football results. The BBC Sport app has done a stellar job at providing live match updates, but a new update is about to make things a little more efficient. Using the same technology that pushes breaking news from BBC News, the Sport app now allows iOS and Android users to receive alerts for more than 150 domestic teams. Right now, the app will deliver notifications at kick-off, when a goal is scored, at half-time and the final score, but the BBC says it'll add more in the future. To take advantage of the new alerts, make sure you have the very latest version of the iOS or Android app, then hit the "My Alerts" link in the app menu to select your favourite team.

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Windows Phone 8.1 review: Microsoft's mobile OS finally feels whole

Android, iOS, Windows Phone. Each of these mobile platforms had to start somewhere, and none were anywhere near perfect on the first try. Fortunately, each OS gets better with every iteration until, at some point, it all just clicks. Arguably, Windows Phone just came of age with its latest update, version 8.1.

Even before today, Windows Phone only had a few big holes remaining and indeed, 8.1 appears to fill those gaps. In particular, the OS now has a fancy notification center in addition to those signature Live Tiles; the keyboard now allows for swipe gestures; and last but not least, it now has Cortana, a virtual assistant to take on Siri, Google Now and Samsung's S Voice. The 8.1 update is a fairly significant one, and I got the opportunity to take it for a spin ahead of the official developer preview's launch. It may not be perfect yet, but it's clear Windows Phone has finally grown up.

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We get it. You want to download Windows Phone 8.1 as soon as possible just to see if Cortana is really as cool on a mobile device as she is in the Halo series. Or, perhaps it's the new Action Center and swipe keyboard that strike your fancy. Whatever reason you have for wanting to play with the latest version of Windows Phone ASAP, now's your chance. Microsoft has just announced that a developer preview of the new update is finally available for download, but as the name of the build implies, this is meant for third-party developers so they can get a good head start in prepping their apps ahead of widespread release. That said, you can still get in on the action, even if you've never written a line of code in your life -- there's just a few risks involved.

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LG G2

So far, we've only come across beyond-1080p panels in a couple of Chinese phones, like the Oppo Find 7 and the Vivo Xplay 3S. But the spec is definitely about to go mainstream, as LG has just confirmed to us that the successor to the G2 will deliver a "Quad HD" resolution, with four times as many pixels as 720p (that's 2,560 x 1,440, if you want to count 'em). Based on earlier leaks, it's likely that the G3 will have a 5.5-inch display, which means we'll be looking at a pixel density of around 530 ppi -- not far off double what you'd get from a printed glossy magazine.

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Ahead of Apple revealing its first smartphone, Google's plans for Android back in 2006 involved physical keys for control and no touchscreen input support. Revealed in court documents from the ensuing Apple-Samsung legal fray, the early specification says that "the product [Android] was designed with the presence of discrete physical buttons as an assumption. However, there is nothing fundamental in the product's architecture that prevents the support of touchscreen in the future." (The above render is from Google's initial SDK, but by then, touchscreen integration was now part of the official spec.)

In this 2006 documentation, many of the Android staples (both in software and hardware) get a mention, including removable storage, third-party application support, widgets, notifications and all those Google services. Between the announcement of the iPhone and finalizing Android's software requirements, touchscreen input was not only supported -- multi-input touch was required, and our phones were never the same again.

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Were you hoping for a single-player campaign in Blizzard's Warcraft-themed card game, Hearthstone? Well, you're getting one. The outfit's announced Curse of Naxxramas at PAX East, and, in addition to fresh challenges and more than an entire deck's worth of shiny cards, there's a new Adventure mode en route for solo players. As Joystiq has noticed, Naxxramas also features a new game-board based on Warcraft's floating necropolis of the same name. The first area, subtly named Arachnid Quarter (gee, wonder what's lurking in there?), is free for everyone and will roll out simultaneously across iPad, Mac and PC sometime later this year. If you want to complete the expansion's other successive areas as they release, you'll have to buy-in either with in-game gold or your hard-earned meat-space ducats. Still not sure what the hype is about? Well, the game doesn't cost a thing, so there really isn't much risk in giving it a shot for yourself. It'd probably be a good idea to start practicing ahead of Naxxramas' ambiguous release date, anyhow.

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Spotify's new design on an iPhone

Just because AT&T has Beats Music in its corner doesn't mean that other carriers can't offer a few audio-themed deals of their own. Case in point, Sprint: Recode claims that the network is announcing a partnership with Spotify that will offer discounts on the streaming service's Premium tier, including group bargains for Framily plan customers. Naturally, Sprint would continue to offer carrier billing; there would also be free Spotify trials to persuade fence-sitters. Neither of the companies are commenting on the rumor, but we'll reportedly get the full scoop at an event on April 29th.

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Even Microsoft knows that Windows Live Tiles have so much potential to be a lot better, especially on touchscreen devices. In fact, a group of the company's researchers in Asia have apparently been working on making Live Tiles interactive. As you can see in the videos after the break, the experimental tiles expand when touched, showing you its contents right on the Start screen instead of launching the app. For instance, touching the mail app automatically shows a list of your emails in an expanded view, which looks very similar to an Android widget.

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Amazon.com Illustrations Ahead Of Earnings

Stop us if you've heard this one before: Amazon's getting ready to launch a phone. This is actually one of the longest-running rumors we've heard, with the first reports stretching back to 2012. So what's different this time? According to the Wall Street Journal, the company is already showing off prototypes of the handset to developers and is gunning to announce the device by the end of June with a September release. The report tells us that Amazon wants to differentiate itself from other top-of-the-line flagships by adding four cameras with retina-tracking tech, making it possible to project 3D images without needing glasses.

Rumors of a "Kindle phone" (or multiple phones) have been floating around the internet for ages, and this isn't even the first time we've heard that Amazon was working on a 3D-type display -- the Journal began reporting last May that the project would enable visuals that "seem to float above the screen like a hologram." Given how much smoke we've seen, there's quite likely fire. We wouldn't be surprised to see some news come out around the same time as Google's I/O developer conference, but we're more curious to find out exactly what Amazon plans to do with this retina-tracking tech and how developers will be able to take advantage of it. Needless to say, it certainly would add an interesting element to our already endless Instagram feed.

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With its Framily plans, Sprint wants you to convince friends, family and possibly outright strangers, to join the carrier and chip a few bucks off your bill. It's even created a new ad series to show just how broad its definition of "framily" is. The dad's a hamster, while the daughter speaks only in French, accompanied by three animated birds. However, Sprint's Frobinsons have to go a long ways to match the sheer offbeat-ness of Softbank's answer to "framily," the Shiratos in Japan.

That framily consists of a talking dog as patriarch, a wife who has the real power, a daughter played by popular actress Aya Ueto and a non-Japanese son played by Dante Carver (a Softbank commercial mainstay). The core family unit is then augmented by bit-parts from 'Uncle' Quentin Tarantino, Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa (and his dolphin father) and Tommy Lee-Jones, the live-in-maid-from-space. Ad-Age wasn't a fan, but we hope the Frobinsons are just getting started. We've pulled together a few English-subtitled Softbank ads and added them, alongside Sprint's interpretation, to the video gallery below.

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When Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S5 and a trio of Gear smartwatches, the company made a big to-do about how it listens to its customers. We know, we know: Every company's supposed to be doing that. But remember, this is Samsung we're talking about. It dominates the Android market by such a wide margin that it makes rivals like LG and HTC look like quaint startups. Put it another way: Samsung could release a phone with no improvements, and it'd still sell millions.

At least, that's how it used to be. The smartphone market has seen a downturn of late and even mighty Samsung has been affected. Sales are down, and the manufacturer must now make phones that give people what they actually want (shocker, we know). So what can we expect from a humbled Samsung? A durable phone that brings a toned-down TouchWiz UI, a better camera, longer battery life, improved performance, a fingerprint scanner and enhanced health tracking. I received an unlocked review unit from GSM Nation, which was the first outlet to start shipping the phone in the US with AT&T- and T-Mobile-compatible LTE. Now that I've been testing it for a few days, let's see if the Galaxy S5 lives up to all those promises.

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Sprint WeGo cellphone

Many parents are comfortable with giving cellphones to teens, but young kids are a different story -- how do you introduce them to mobile technology without also exposing them to all kinds of dangers? Sprint thinks its new WeGo phone is a good answer to that dilemma. The simple, rugged design not only limits a child's calling and messaging options to pre-approved contacts, but lets their parents track just about anything through mobile apps or the web. Concerned adults can pinpoint the location of the WeGo whenever they like; they also get alerts when the unexpected happens, such as when the phone shuts off or someone pulls its tether-based panic alarm.

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Samsung released Developer Editions of the Galaxy SIII and S4, so it's not a huge surprise to see a similarly-equipped Galaxy S5 appear on the company's website. The listing reveals that a CDMA-capable version with Verizon branding will land at some point in the future, but fails to elaborate further. What we do know is that it'll be available in black with 16GB internal storage, and we'd guess that it won't be offered under subsidy -- but that's a small price to pay for an unlocked bootloader. There's no word on if AT&T will get a Developer Edition S5 of its very own, but we wouldn't be shocked if one popped up in the next few days.

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