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Twitter has reportedly put on hold a plan to encrypt its users’ direct messages. The plan was mentioned in a New York Times piece in October last year, in the context of big tech companies getting really annoyed with NSA surveillance, but was never officially announced. Now, according to The Verge’s sources, the project has been dropped, despite the fact that it would have shut out hackers and made it harder for spies to snoop without a court order. Twitter apparently gave no explanation for this, though The Verge theorizes that the plan may have been shelved because the firm is rethinking its direct messaging strategy.

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In Brief

Facebook is putting its interest in curation to work, as its alternative mobile app Facebook Paper will partner with the TED  brand and curate the “Ideas” vertical during the TED 2014 conference in Vancouver this week. According to an email from Facebook, the partnership will bring exclusive content surrounding the TED talks, as well as news and insights related to the talks and conference, to Facebook Paper. This is also the first branded partnership for the app since its launch a few months ago. 

In Brief

iPhone 5C
photo: Apple

Apple is expected to launch an 8GB model of its iPhone 5c handset as early as tomorrow, based on a Monday report from Engadget. The site has an alleged document from O2 Germany suggesting the entry-level edition will cost 60 Euros less than the current 16 GB iPhone 5c. Engadget also has an image depicting an 8GB version of the phone. If true, the move could support expectations that its iPhone 5c hasn’t been selling well and the company is looking to boost sales by making the phone more accessible to those with tighter budgets.

We often think about the implications of building new mobile apps on the front-end: user experiences, delivery, and development and testing needs. But the mobile-first world requires some significant changes to the back-end infrastructure needed to deliver, support and manage it, and those changes will permeate the private data centers and public clouds of the future. Read more »

In Brief

Secret has finally spoken up about that rumored funding round it had last week, clarifying the number and offering some pertinent user statistics for the 45-day-old app in a Medium post that went live Friday. The company confirmed that it raised $8.6 million from the likes of Google Ventures, Alexis Ohanian, Pete Cashmore and others — a slightly lower number than the reported $10 million from last week. In addition, it noted two interesting facts: 75 percent of people with more than five friends open the app daily, and 90 percent of users that engage in a conversation come back within the week.

In Brief

Vodafone may buy Ono, a major Spanish cable company, for around $10 billion. According to sources quoted by Reuters and Bloomberg, Ono has postponed a planned IPO announcement to allow further negotiations over the Vodafone bid. Two previous offers have been rebuffed for being too low. The British mobile carrier group is on a fixed-line acquisition spree after Verizon bought out its stake in Verizon Wireless for $130 billion — it bought Kabel Deutschland in Germany last October for $10.4 billion, and it plans to use that buy as a “hub” for further non-mobile expansion.

In Brief

After debuting on Nokia Lumias with PureView cameras, the company is bringing its image refocus feature to all Lumia phones running Windows Phone 8. The software takes an image from the camera and produces an interactive picture where you can choose and change the focal point. This demonstration pic illustrates the refocusing function after the image was taken. The visual effect is similar to the standalone Lytro plenoptic camera that debuted in 2012.

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