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In Brief

Google brought its Google Play Movies and TV app to iOS Wednesday, making it easier for users of the service to watch rented and bought videos on their iPad or iPhone. The app also includes Chromecast support, making it possible to beam titles to Chromecast-equipped TV screens. However, there’s one thing amiss: Users won’t actually be able to rent or buy any movies or TV shows through the app — Google apparently wasn’t willing to send Apple checks for its 30 percent cut on in-app purchases.

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On The Web

Apple’s sales of the iPhone continue to do very well domestically, with the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c boasting record numbers last year, but the Cupertino company struggles to bring its products to countries that are just now embracing smartphones. A feature in the New York Times on Sunday showed the intricacies of Apple’s iPhone sales in India, employing monthly plans and special discount deals to sell phones — key in an area where incomes can be just a few hundred a month. It’s a good glimpse into the brand’s attempt to crack developing markets and gain crucial users.

Duck Life

A quirky little racing game where you have no control over your duck during the actual race, you instead train your duck to be the best little athlete it can be before each race begins. Read more »

On The Web

Microsoft is the “most trusted and essential tech brand,” according to 4,551 U.S. adults recently surveyed by Forrester Research. But all is not lost, fanboys: Apple had the highest overall ranking for being unmistakeable and remarkable. It’s just that Apple  is not viewed as essential as Microsoft. The survey gauges customer preference of one brand over others, their willingness to pay a premium and other factors.

In Brief

The NSA developed a tool 6 years ago to let it attack the then-new iPhone, according to documents from that time, revealed on Monday by journalist Jacob Appelbaum and Der Spiegel. The tool, DROPOUTJEEP, gave the agency “the ability to remotely push/pull files from the device, SMS retrieval, contact list retrieval, voicemail, geolocation, hot mic, camera capture, cell tower location, etc.” Other documents also published on Monday describe software implants for extracting phonebook, SMS, call log and geolocation information from SIM cards, as well as for targeting the now-defunct Windows Mobile OS. Der Spiegel said in September that the NSA could hack into iPhones, as well as Android and BlackBerry devices.

In Brief

Google and Audi are gearing up to reveal a partnership at the Consumer Electronics Show next week, according to the Wall Street Journal. The tie-in would see the creation of infotainment systems, based on Android, that rival Apple’s upcoming iOS in the Car feature. This fits well with an EE Times report earlier in December that said Google would launch an industry consortium around such technology at CES, using Miracast to wirelessly screencast Android apps from the phone to the in-car screen.

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