Mobile

Google has bought a small Swiss app developer called Bitspin, known for its Timely alarm clock app. Timely has a neat gesture-based user interface, a “Smart Rise” mode that gently introduces the alarm sound ahead of time in order to wake the user from a deep sleep, and the ability to synchronize alarms between devices. The Zurich-based outfit said in a weekend post that the app would “continue to work as it always has,” but I daresay we’ll also see the stock Android alarm get a bit smarter soon.

New products shown at CES this week should offer hope for more sales and HTC surely needs them. The company experienced a second consecutive quarterly operating loss on revenues of NT$42.9 billion (US $1.43B), according to Bloomberg. Without profits from the sale of its stake in Beats, HTC would have posted another quarterly net loss as sales have continued to trend down, but it eked out a small after-tax profit of NT$0.31 billion. For a visual look at HTC’s woes, check out this chart of HTC’s monthly revenues for the past 24 months that ZDNet put together: December’s year-over-year revenues were 42.36 percent lower in 2013.

Cash-rich Vodafone is keen on becoming India’s largest mobile carrier by buying out Tata Teleservices, according to a report in the Economic Times. Vodafone is currently the number two player, not far behind Bharti Airtel (155 million subscribers to Airtel’s 196 million), and Tata DoCoMo is around sixth place with 90 million subscribers. However, according to the report, Japan’s NTT DoCoMo – Tata Teleservices’ partner – has the right of first refusal for Tata’s majority stake in the venture. If NTT doesn’t want to buy out Tata, Tata could potentially force NTT to sell out alongside it. Vodafone declined my request for comment.

Got a new or replacement Surface Pro 2 from Microsoft to kick off the new year? Check the chip inside and you may find a holiday treat in the form of a slightly faster Intel Core i5 processor. In a statement to The Verge, Microsoft confirmed what at least one Microsoft Surface community forum member noticed in his replacement device: A 1.9 GHz Core i5 4300 chip in place of the 1.6 GHz Core i5 4200. On Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 product page, the exact chip is never specified; instead, the company says its tablet comes with a “4th generation Intel Core i5 Processor.”

Apparently this woman’s worth was not quite enough for BlackBerry. Just a year after being named global creative director by former CEO Thorsten Heins, BlackBerry has announced that it will be parting ways with R&B singer Alicia Keys come January 30, according to CTV News. Just how directly Keys was involved with BlackBerry isn’t clear, though arguably the biggest news out of her tenure came when she allegedly sent out a tweet from her iPhone, which she claims was hacked. There’s no word on whether BlackBerry is looking for a replacement, but somewhere, Ashanti waits in hope.

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