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Nokia Puts WhatsApp Hard Key On $72 Asha 210 For Asia, Africa; Qwerty S40 Handset Gets Facebook Button In Europe, Latam (Original)

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Nokia has announced another handset in its Series 40-based Asha portfolio of low end mobiles which compete with the budget end of Android and cheap BlackBerrys. The 2G-plus-Wi-Fi Asha 210, due to ship before the end of Q2, packs a physical Qwerty keyboard and comes painted in Nokia’s now trademark eye-popping colours (yellow, cyan, magenta), plus black and white. But the most notable addition to this BlackBerry-esque device is a hardware key on the front that short-cuts to messaging app WhatsApp — which, extending the BlackBerry comparison, is the phone’s BBM replacement.

As well as the ability to fire up WhatsApp by long pressing on this dedicated key, Nokia said Asha 210 buyers will get a free subscription to the messaging service for the lifetime of the device. On the Series 40 platform, WhatsApp normally charges a $0.99 annual fee after a first year of free use. Last week the messaging service said it now has north of 200 million monthly active users (this compares to BBM’s more modest 60 million). Tapping into the hugely popular social messaging craze is clearly Nokia’s aim here.

Nokia describes the Asha 210′s WhatsApp hardware key as a “world first”, although we’ve seen the mobile maker (and othersstick a Facebook button on a phone before. …

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Reliance Communications Partners With Twitter To Offer Free, Unlimited Access To The Service In India (Original)

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For those in the United States and other locations that are lucky enough to be able to purchase huge data packages for their smartphones, thinking about deciding to “tweet or not to tweet” based on the cost that it could incur is a foreign concept, pun intended. For cell customers in India, it’s a very real situation, and Reliance Communications has partnered with Twitter to bring free, unlimited access to the social network to its prepaid GSM subscribers.

This is yet another example of how important Twitter has become in our daily lives and how integral the communication platform is to locations all over the world. The service will be bundled with live cricket match updates, the most popular sport in the country.

A customized version of the Twitter app has been created, reminding customers that they’re getting free access thanks to Reliance Mobile. If someone taps a link to an outside site, they will be reminded that doing so might incur extra charges.

Reliance is the first operator to partner with Twitter in India, and its Chief Revenue Officer of Wireless, Nilanjan Mukherjee, had this to share:

We are delighted to be the first operator to partner with Twitter in India on Twitter Access and offer the first of its kind unlimited Twitter access on our superior network.

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Foursquare Redesigns Its Venue Pages For The Web To Capitalize On Its 50M Monthly Unique Visitors (Original)

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Foursquare today launched redesigned venue pages to focus on its Explore and Discover functionality, bringing them more in line with its homepage. The changes, which come two weeks after the company raised another round of funding and released an updated iOS app, are designed to capitalize on the traffic that Foursquare gets from Google, which has doubled the site’s traffic over the past year. This is an important play for Foursquare, as it’s competing with Google Local, Yelp and Facebook, which today launched its redesign for local business pages.

Foursquare’s lead engineer for the web, Mike Singleton, told me that the site now gets over 50 million unique visitors on the web, which is 17 million more than actually use its app. That means that Foursquare is quietly breaking through as a place for information about venues, its most prized asset:

People are coming from Google for different reasons, we needed to give them the information they needed at a glance, which was difficult.

Since focusing on its Explore functionality, Singleton says that its usage has doubled, especially on the website. The new venue page has all of the information that people need in a quick glance, the pages are more visually appealing, and owners of the venues should be proud to show them off, perhaps by linking to them on their website over competitors like Yelp.…

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Facebook building $1.5 billion data center in Altoona, Iowa (Original)

DNP  Facebook building $15 billion data center in Altoona, Iowa

Facebook has already set up shop in North Carolina and Oregon, but it's heading to Iowa for its next -- and biggest -- data center. According to the Des Moines Register, the town of Altoona will be home to a 1.4-million-square-foot facility (code-named Catapult), and it will reportedly be the "most technologically advanced center in the world." Why Altoona, you ask? The city is already home to several data hubs, as its fiber-optic cable system, access to power and water utilities and affordable land are big draws for companies. Facebook will complete project Catapult in two $500 million phases, though the entire cost will reportedly ring in at $1.5 billion. The social network is also seeking wind energy production tax credits, which is no doubt connected to its Open Compute Project for promoting energy efficiency. That's all we know so far; suffice to say a center this big won't be built overnight.

Filed under: Internet, Facebook

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Via: TechCrunch

Source: Des Moines Register

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Twitter gets in the TV biz, partners with BBC America (Original)

It seems like everyone wants a piece of the rapidly evolving media landscape that is television, and apparently Twitter is no exception. A recent tweet by BBC America indicates a partnership with between it and Twitter for a new kind of in-Tweet video.…

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Why Twitter Music Is Totally Going to Work (Original)

At first glance, Twitter?s entry into the music business today may be a bit of a head-scratcher. The service had barely launched before people were questioning why Twitter would even want its own music app. But really, it?s simple: Twitter Music is all about getting you to spend more quality time with Twitter. It?s about everybody?s favorite buzzword: engagement.

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BBC America & Twitter Announce Content-Sharing Partnership (Original)

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BBC America has announced via a tweet that it will partner with Twitter to offer the “first in-Tweet branded video synced to entertainment TV series.” News of the deal comes after a few days after a report that Twitter is in talks with Viacom and NBCUniversal to host TV clips and sell advertising on the site.

BBC America’s tweet didn’t offer any specific information about the deal or which of its TV shows would be involved, but it did namecheck hit series Doctor Who and Top Gear.

This has been a busy week for Twitter as it seeks to move beyond being a microblogging platform.In addition to the TV network tie-ups, the company also just launched Twitter Music on Good Morning America.

As Jordan Crook notes, the decision to debut the standalone app on network television is a sign that Twitter is aiming directly for a mainstream audience, instead of seeking to first build an audience of early-adopters.

The company has been building out its site as a multimedia platform with a series of acquisition: Twitter Music was built by startup We Are Hunted, while video-sharing service Vine was launched in January after Twitter bought it in a low-profile buy out.…

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Facebook Voice Calling Now Available To All US Users Thanks To Today’s Android Rollout (Original)

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Now the Facebook can really start to replace your phone. Today Facebook rolled out its free VoIP voice calling feature to US users of Home and its Android Messenger app. That means even less reason to open your standard “phone” app, and more data for Facebook about who you care about the most. Now all iOS and Android users in the US can Facedial their friends.

Previously VoIP for Android was available in 23 other countries, but its roll out to the United States makes it 24. Facebook tells me the rollout will happen over the course of today, and doesn’t require any formal app updates.

To start a VoIP call in Messenger you click the I icon on someone’s profile and then tap “free call”. In Home, you can start a call from a Chat Head by clicking the three dots beside a person’s name, opening the conversation in Messenger, and then following the steps above.

Facebook first began testing its open sourced version of VoIP with iOS users in Canada and the US in January, and has been slowly rolling it out to more countries and Android since. But today is the culmination of that rollout (excluding less critical developing markets).…

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Where’s Twitter Music For Android? Why Today’s Tech Companies Are Still Going iOS First (Original)

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Where is Twitter Music for Android? With today’s launch of Twitter’s new music discovery platform, the company has again made a move to sideline the install base of around half of the U.S.’s smartphone audience by failing to deliver a native application for users of non-Apple devices. It’s a strategy that still remains prevalent among tech companies today, both large and small. The companies’ reasons vary: for many smaller startups, there simply aren’t enough developers to build for iOS and Android simultaneously. Meanwhile for others, the iOS-first decision is more of a strategic play.

Twitter Music is now the second major new mobile application that Twitter has brought to Apple device owners first. The company previously launched its Vine video-sharing application as iOS-only in January, and it still remains exclusive to that platform today.

The interesting thing about Music’s launch – a move announced on ABC’s “Good Morning America” –  is that Twitter is attempting to reach a mainstream audience with the app. In the U.S., that audience is just as likely to be on Android as iOS – if not more so, in fact. Google’s Android platform now accounts for 51.7 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers, while Apple’s iOS reaches 38.9 percent.…

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Hands on: Latest SoundTracking update combines the joys of Instagram and instant music (Original)

You can be your group's music guru and provide everyone with a taste of your life's soundtrack with SoundTracking. The latest update to the app links it to Instagram, so you can attach your favorite tunes to your favorite filtered photos.…

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