Having sold 26.11 million phones in the first half of this year, the beast from the East that is Xiaomi is back again with a new flagship Android phone: the Mi 4. For the first time ever, the company is adding a touch of metal -- SAE 304 stainless steel, to be exact -- to the phone's frame, which is sandwiched between a flat 5-inch 1080p screen and a swappable, slightly curved plastic back cover. The internal specs are as you'd expect: 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 16GB/64GB of internal storage, 13MP f/1.8 main camera, 8MP selfie camera, LTE radio (at last), 802.11ac WiFi plus a 3,080mAh battery. As a bonus, you also get an infrared transmitter to play with the TV (which Xiaomi also sells). As usual, the Mi 4 will be very affordable: Just CN¥1,999 or about $320 for the 16GB version, and CN¥2,499 or about $400 for the 64GB version (both off-contract, of course).

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Twitch 3 for Android

If you regularly catch up on eSports or "let's play" sessions while on the move, today's your lucky day. Twitch has revamped its Android app with a fresh interface that lets you get to the biggest game streams as quickly as possible, with impossible-to-miss links to the hottest titles. It's also much better suited to tablets, and you can now check out both user profiles and offline channels; that's handy if you missed a big event or want to follow someone with similar tastes. It's much easier to sift through search results, too. The remake isn't well-timed -- it's arriving right as Valve's The International tournament is winding to a close -- but it's still a big deal if you like to spectate games as often as you play them.

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ASUS Transformer Pad TF103C

When it comes to ASUS, buying a full-size Android tablet has usually meant venturing past the $300 mark; even the Transformer Book T100 set you back $349 when it first came out, and that was considered a steal. That's no longer a problem in 2014. ASUS' new Transformer Pad TF103C costs $299 with the company's signature keyboard dock included, or as much as some smaller mid-range slates. While that's potentially a hefty bargain, it begs a few questions: Just what are you giving up to get that price? And is it worth the trade-off when you could likely snag a smaller, but more powerful tablet for less? As I've learned, you're making quite a few sacrifices in the name of a better deal. This is still quality hardware, but you have to know what you're in for.

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On a mild fall day last October, I attended a free Shakira concert in New York City, along with thousands of screaming fans and T-Mobile customers. The occasion? T-Mobile's Un-carrier 3.0 event, where CEO John Legere announced a shockingly generous benefit for Simple Choice customers. Anyone on a $50-and-up monthly plan would have access to unlimited data and texting in more than 120 countries around the world. As a frequent traveler, I was ecstatic -- I spend hundreds of dollars on local SIM cards or roaming products every year -- but as with anything that sounds too good to be true, there was a catch here.

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Huawei Ascend P7 review: the best mid-range phone you've never heard of

What is a flagship? For some companies, it's about cramming as many features into a device as physics allows. For Huawei, it means something else entirely: Though it creates smartphones for the power-hungry crowd, its most eye-catching devices typically favor mass appeal over brawn. Exhibit A: the Ascend P7, a smartphone that emphasizes design and user-friendliness over a blowsy spec sheet. When we reviewed its predecessor, the P6, last year, we found a gorgeous phone that struggled due to an underpowered engine and lack of LTE. The company promises it's learned from its mistakes, though. So is the P7 the mid-range smartphone you'll actually be proud to show off?

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Ingress on an iPhone

Google's Niantic Labs grew the potential audience for Ingress in a big way late last year, when it put out the finished Android version of its augmented reality game. Today, the studio is taking the next (if fairly obvious) step toward grabbing more players: it's releasing the long-promised iOS edition. Both iPad and iPhone owners can now capture territory ("portals" in Ingress-speak) and build up their virtual skills by visiting real locations. The experience will be very familiar if you've played before; missions give you an incentive to keep coming back, while faction chats let you coordinate turf battles and meet fellow players. There aren't any major tweaks or upgrades that we've seen. The game ultimately remains an excuse to explore new places, but that's not a bad thing if you're tired of visiting the same old haunts -- hit the App Store if you're willing to give it a spin.

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Sapphire is the birthstone of September, the traditional gift on your 45th wedding anniversary and a material associated with both luxury and ruggedness. It can be found in opulent products like jewelry, camera lenses and fancy watches. Given that, it's also one of the toughest materials in the world, which makes it ideal for military-grade items like aviation displays and even missiles. So when rumors emerged that a sapphire display may be featured on the next iPhone, a chorus of excitement followed. However, many phone manufacturers don't share the same sense of optimism that Apple might hold toward this different kind of next-gen display.

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Spotify on the desktop

Canada is used to being jilted by online media providers that avoid the country like the plague, but that era may be nearing an end -- just weeks after Google Play Music got the all clear, Spotify has confirmed that it's coming to the True North Strong and Free. While the internet music service isn't officially ready yet, it's taking sign-ups for pre-launch invitations; the company tells iMore that it's gradually expanding access over the "coming months" to make sure that it doesn't choke on the inevitable flood of new users. That will undoubtedly feel like an eternity if you want to join non-Canuck friends who've been listening for years. However, you don't have to sit idle while you're waiting to stream some Arcade Fire or Metric. Spotify has already posted both its Android and iOS apps, and they should start working as soon as you have an account -- grab 'em early if you want to be ready.

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Windows Phone 8.1 users have been rather strapped when it comes to video editing apps straight from HQ, but now Microsoft is looking to lend a hand. With Video Tuner, Redmond serves up a new app that wrangles smartphone clips with the ability to apply filters, add music (non-DRM protected MP3s, natch) and apply a range of corrective adjustments -- including speed tweaks. As you might expect, once the finished product is ready, footage can be broadcast directly to various social channels, with the exception of Vine. The software can save videos in the proper format for Twitter's video stream, but there's no direct sharing at this time. Video Tuner supports MP4 files and allows editing of video captured from the same device on which it is installed. You'll need a Lumia handset running Windows Phone 8.1 to nab up the new offering, but it's already available free of charge from Microsoft's app repository for those who qualify.

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Selfies are so popular that not only is the President getting in on the action, but ABC's even named its newest TV show after the trend. Not to be outdone, Sony is debuting the Xperia C3, a mid-range smartphone whose most notable feature is the 5-megapixel wide-angle lens and LED flash for self portraits. Beyond the snapper itself, the company is also boasting about the software enhancements like retouching, auto-scene modes and quick sharing to ensure your Instagram friends will be, you know, totes jel. There's a 5.5-inch 720p IPS display up, shielding a 1.2GHz Qualcomm processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, with support for 64GB microSD cards and a 2,500mAh battery. Other features include dual SIM-card slots, NFC, Blueototh 4.0 and Android 4.4.2. The handset will begin its world tour in China from August, presumably meandering over to Western shores shortly after.

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Apple's New 3GS iPhone Goes On Sales At Stores

In the spirit of Indie Game: The Movie, comes App: The Human Story -- a documentary that looks at the people behind the digital goods we consume. The film chronicles the rise of developers following the iPhone's release back in 2007 and runs all the way through Apple's World Wide Developer Conference from this year. Who's on camera? Tumblr founder and Instapaper creator Marco Arment and Macworld editorial director Jason Snell to name a few. The filmmakers know that the list skews Cupertino-heavy at the moment and have told TechCrunch that their wish is to get Google's senior VP of Android and Chrome apps Sundar Pichai, and Android's user-experience chief Matias Duarte in the film as well. The team is hitting Kickstarter to help finance the rest of production costs, and for a cool $50, you can get an unedited version of any one interview if you're so inclined.

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NFC, Bluetooth, WiFi, mobile data, plain 'ole voice calls. Your phone has no shortage of ways to connect with things, but that hasn't stopped a group of Finnish scientists finding a way to communicate through your smartphone's built-in compass. Just because they could. While NFC can send data up to 20 centimeters away, these magnetic messages diffuse within a few centimeters -- this limitation could help make wireless payments more secure. Researcher Kostakos Vassilis, talking to New Scientist , said that this magnetic messaging system would mean the phone exchanges nothing until it is within two centimeters (roughly 0.8 inches) of the payment terminal. When the devices get close enough, a secure code could then be delivered through a magnetic field, activating a wireless payment app or NFC connection.

Through the data encoded through a varying magnetic field, the team at the University of Oulu in Finland were able to deliver web addresses (and even an anachronistic MIDI music file) from an electromagnet to the phone. At 40 bits per second, heavy data lifting isn't going to happen here, but the group says it'll outline more uses later this summer. We're hoping it'll involve Wooly Willy.

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When I was a tiny tot, I watched Knight Rider and pretended I was Michael Knight, talking to KITT on my watch. Yet now that there are real-life watches that can do even more things, I don't find myself quite as excited as my 5-year-old self was. Smartwatches have been around for over a decade already (remember Microsoft SPOT?), but the category hasn't evolved at the same pace as smartphones. It's not because there's a shortage of digital wrist-worn timepieces. The problem is that there's no common platform for third-party apps, which means there's little potential for growth.

There also doesn't seem to be any vision. Some watches act as Android phones with SIM cards and tiny touchscreens, while others try to establish their own platform to entice developers. Still others have even tried to put fitness bands and smartwatches into one device, to limited success. Even worse, most of the watches on the market today are what you might call "fashionably challenged" -- they simply aren't attractive enough to entice the masses. Google's solution is to extend its Android platform -- which has very strong market share and developer support -- to the wearables genre with Android Wear.

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M-Go running on Samsung devices

Samsung revealed that it was shuttering its book and music stores not long ago, and today it's saying goodbye to its last paid content portal, the Video and Media Hub. The tech firm has announced that it's closing the shop on August 1st to "focus on exciting new video products" -- and, no doubt, to stay on Google's good side. You won't be left high and dry as a customer, unlike what we've seen with other recent service closures. Samsung has struck a deal with M-Go (one of its partners for 4K video) to let you transfer any purchases to M-Go for no extra charge; make the move and you'll get both $5 in credit as well as 50 percent discounts on up to two movie rentals.

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Until now, Vine's stats only indicated likes and revines for those carefully crafted six-second masterpieces. With an update rolling out today, Twitter's video app tacks on a real-time loop count tallying plays across both mobile and embedded footage on the web. There's also a redesigned feed with larger videos and polished likes and comments. In the activity tab, new items are easily recognizable alongside the older stuff, and notifications are now included for post milestones (100 likes, for example). The new version is headed to both Google Play and iTunes, so both Android and iOS users will be able to snag the latest.

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