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For mobile developers looking to engage their users, push notifications have become a key tool in drawing users back into apps. Notification provider Urban Airship told me it has hit 5 billion push notifications since it delivered its first message a little over two years ago. Read more »

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Foursquare has increasingly shifted its sights from the present to the future, looking at how it can help recommend relevant places where people should go. But we’re seeing that the location-based network is also finding a lot of opportunities in leveraging the past. Read more »

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Just months after introducing what looked to be one of the most promising challengers to the iPad, Hewlett-Packard said it is getting out of the webOS business and discontinuing its Touchpad and webOS phones. The company is now looking to “optimize” the value of webOS. Read more »

Upcoming Events

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Foursquare has talked about evolving beyond the check-in, but that doesn’t mean the check-in is dead. Now the location-based social network is adding event check-ins for locations featuring movies, sporting events and concerts. Event check-ins automatically tell people what you’re doing, not just where you are. Read more »

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Verizon’s turning on its LTE network in 15 cities and expanding 4G coverage in 10 cities, bringing more than half the U.S. population under its next-generation wireless network on Thursday. Since its launch in December, Verizon’s LTE network now covers 160 million people in 117 cities. Read more »

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IAC introduced its mobile incubator program Hatch Labs in March, calling it a technology sandbox where innovative mobile ideas can be prototyped. The first graduate, Blu Trumpet, is now launching and is taking on the problem of app monetization for publishers and app distribution for advertisers. Read more »

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Zynga is expanding its mobile ambitions by apparently picking up New York City-based developer Astro Ape Studios. The gaming powerhouse, which is preparing to go public, has been increasingly looking to shore up its mobile efforts, which has not be as successful as its Facebook business. Read more »

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The money in mobile apps is increasingly tilting toward freemium apps and that is helping companies like Tapjoy, which said it now has 10,000 apps that are using its monetization and distribution platform. The company is also delivering more than 1 million ad completions every day. Read more »

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Mobile advertising companies are turning their small ad real estate into showcases for immersive 3D ads that could potentially achieve much greater engagement than traditional static and dynamic banner ads. Amobee today is announcing new 3D ads that use technology from Cooliris. Read more »

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How about that for some big news on a Monday morning? The $12.5 billion deal for Motorola Mobility has huge implications across the mobile and living room markets and could signal a stronger position for Android as it fends off patent infringement claims from Google rivals. Read more »

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Google is delving into the Android hardware business and is buying Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. The news is a shocking turn for the fast-growing Android ecosystem, which was built on Google’s platform but didn’t include any actual hardware built by the company. Read more »

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Come August 20 and 21, the next Instagram and Hipstamatic could emerge in New York City, ready to do battle in the increasingly tough photo app market. Those are the dates for the Photo Hack Day, billed as the largest photo hackathon for developers. Read more »

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Millennial Media is using its 50th mobile intelligence report to look at some of the changes that have occurred since the company began its reports in March 2009. It marks an era in which the smartphones have gone from techie tools to almost mainstream devices. Read more »

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Google is upping the competition with Facebook by turning on games for its Google+ social network, the company announced today. The first titles include Angry Birds from Rovio, Bejeweled Blitz from PopCap and most notably Zynga Poker from longtime Facebook game developer Zynga. Read more »

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Android Market is paced by a number of very prolific app makers and it also sees more updates per app than the App Store, according to app ratings analytics and discovery firm Mobilewalla. The company found that Android users are also focused more on popular apps. Read more »

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Microsoft is looking at speech technology in the Mango update of WP7 to help the platform get back into the smartphone game. But with Apple also positioned to announce Nuance technology in iOS 5, it shows that speech is becoming table stakes in the smartphone wars. Read more »

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BankSimple, the next generation mobile bank start-up, has raised $10 million as it prepares to launch. The new financing is led by existing investor IA Ventures and also includes Shasta Ventures and should help the company scale up for a public debut later this year. Read more »

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Wi-Fi provider Towerstream is turning its superfast Manhattan Wi-Fi zone into a distribution platform for daily deal apps in a bid to monetize its wireless network, the largest in Manhattan. The company is partnering with BlisMobile, which will handle the app distribution through its AppZone service. Read more »

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Speech technology is poised to be a game-changer for smartphones, especially as they get embedded into operating systems and hardware. Nuance CTO Vlad Sejnoha said speech is transforming from an alternative to text input into a powerful tool that can connect users more quickly to information. Read more »

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Gamification, that buzz word panned as hype by some, has increasingly won over companies, investors and even research firms like Gartner, which now predicts half of all companies will use gamification by 2015. So what’s next? How about gamification certification? Read more »

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Tech stocks are being punished by the downgrade to America’s triple-A credit rating, with leaders like Apple, Google, Cisco and HP taking it on the chin. Debt concerns and fears for the global economy are dragging down stocks, particularly tech shares that have been performing well. Read more »

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UPDATED: GetJar just passed 2 billion downloads and has been pushing its independent app market hard, specifically on the Android front. It has recently started giving out free apps, similar to Amazon’s App of the Day and has also pushed out an Android client. Read more »

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Google and Microsoft traded more barbs today in their patent squabble. Google said Microsoft’s offer to jointly bid on the Novell patents was a trick. Microsoft said today Google is only interested in using patents against others. The rhetoric, however, doesn’t improve Google’s fighting position. Read more »

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LocalResponse, a targeted marketing company, has bought social TV start-up Philo as it looks to expand its service to TV check-ins. The company will soon be able to deliver targeted tweets to users as they watch a commercial on TV. Read more »

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