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    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    Reuter site - Apps capture life's special memories with digital journals

    This article was sent to you from bombastic4000@yahoo.com, who uses Reuters Mobile Site to get news and information on the go. To access Reuters on your mobile phone, go to:
    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSBRE9B814620131209

    Apps capture life's special memories with digital journals

    Mon, Dec 09 16:00 PM EST

    By Natasha Baker

    AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - New apps are keeping track of people's special moments and memories by producing digital scrapbooks and journals that help users log where they have been and what they have done.

    While some apps like Snapchat catch a fleeting moment and make it disappear, memory apps can record the details of each day, whether it is a visit to a restaurant or event or a precious moment with family and friends.

    HeyDay, a free iPhone app, creates a daily timeline based on photos found on the device that are added to a timeline. It also logs venues using the phone's GPS system. Personal notes can be added to the timeline manually.

    "It's this idea of being able to know exactly what you did on every single day of your life. We want to be the ultimate artifact that puts the entirety of your life in your hands," said Siqi Chen, chief executive of San Francisco-based HeyDay.

    The appeal is emotional and nostalgic, he added.

    "Everyone likes the idea of having a journal or scrapbook but most people don't want to put all that work in. We give that experience in an effortless way," he said.

    The app will also give notifications when people return to a city they have already visited and prompt them to look at photos from their past trips to revive memories. Users can tag people in their lives to remember who they were with.

    The app runs in the background and uses up the battery faster than usual. But Chen said the company is trying to reduce the battery drain.

    LifeCrumbs, a free app for the iPhone and Android, lets people record their memories on a calendar and to include a note and photos. Memories can be kept private or shared on social networks.

    Another journaling app called Day One, for iOS devices, records events and logs the temperature and weather in the area. The app, which costs $4.99, also tracks a person's motion activity such as walking, running and biking, and can log what music was playing on the device during the entry.

    (Editing by Patricia Reaney and Richard Chang)

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Reuter site - Mexico to identify possible telecom antitrust targets 'very soon'

    This article was sent to you from bombastic4000@yahoo.com, who uses Reuters Mobile Site to get news and information on the go. To access Reuters on your mobile phone, go to:
    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSBRE9AA0ZY20131111

    Mexico to identify possible telecom antitrust targets 'very soon'

    Mon, Nov 11 17:06 PM EST

    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's new telecommunications watchdog said on Monday it may identify this month which companies dominate the local market, likely paving the way for tougher regulation against telecom company America Movil and broadcaster Televisa.

    Gabriel Contreras, president of the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), said the watchdog would in the near future inform the companies it had determined to be dominant, adding that it could be as soon as this month.

    "We'll be notifying the players very soon that according to our information ... could be predominant economic agents," Contreras told reporters in Mexico City.

    Billionaire Carlos Slim's telecommunications company, America Movil, controls 70 percent of the mobile phone market, and about 80 percent of the fixed-line business, while Televisa has more than 60 percent of the TV market.

    Nurturing competition in the telecom industry is one of the main priorities of President Enrique Pena Nieto, who earlier this year pushed a reform through Congress that gives the regulator sweeping powers to shake up the market.

    The reform stipulates that players with a market share of more than 50 percent will be declared "predominant."

    Those companies can be subject to a range of measures aimed at leveling the playing field in Mexico, where much corporate power is concentrated in very few hands.

    Lawmakers in Congress say they expect both America Movil and Televisa to be declared dominant in Mexico by IFT.

    Contreras did not say who would be declared dominant, but when asked whether fair conditions in Mexico existed before the IFT took shape in September, he said: "The answer is no."

    The IFT has until March 9 to decide which measures to apply to dominant players, during which time the companies in question can argue their case against tougher regulation.

    America Movil, which in Mexico provides mobile services with the Telcel brand and fixed lines under the name Telmex, has already said it expects to be declared dominant.

    Those companies may be subject to asymmetric regulation, forced to share infrastructure with competitors - and may even be broken up by the IFT, according to the new laws.

    The idea was to order breakups as a last resort, Contreras said, adding that secondary legislation to implement Pena Nieto's reform would set out conditions for using that option.

    Contreras noted that companies did not have to be declared dominant for the IFT to order them to divest assets, nor does the regulator have to wait until March 9 to apply anti-trust measures.

    The secondary laws are due to be passed by early December.

    Slim and Televisa have spent years battling efforts to impose tougher rules on how they operate, using legal injunctions and appeals to thwart regulators. Much of that legal cover has been swept away by the new reform.

    (Reporting by Dave Graham; editing by Matthew Lewis)

    Reuter site - Vodafone to ramp up investment as trading suffers

    This article was sent to you from bombastic4000@yahoo.com, who uses Reuters Mobile Site to get news and information on the go. To access Reuters on your mobile phone, go to:
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    Vodafone to ramp up investment as trading suffers

    Tue, Nov 12 11:21 AM EST

    By Kate Holton

    LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Vodafone will spend 7 billion pounds - more than expected and earlier than expected - to increase the speed and coverage of its networks and reverse a record fall in revenues resulting from its struggling European business.

    The world's second-largest mobile operator, which is using some of the proceeds from the $130 billion sale of its U.S. arm to upgrade its infrastructure, said it would spend 3 billion pounds in Europe, 1.5 billion in its emerging markets and the rest on fixed-line assets, enterprise and its retail arm.

    It will complete the program by March 2016 - a billion pounds more than expected and a year earlier than forecast - to meet the demand of consumers who want on-the-go internet access via smartphones and tablets.

    "We expect that during the next three to five years, Europe will definitely improve," Chief Executive Vittorio Colao told reporters. "Therefore, we prefer to have a stronger, more performing and more differentiated operation by then so that we can come out at a higher speed than everybody else."

    Shares in Vodafone were up 0.6 percent at 228.75 pence at 1405 GMT, outperforming the European telecoms index, which was down 0.7 percent.

    The group, which is seen as a possible bid candidate for U.S. giant AT&T, set out the details of its "Project Spring" spending program as it reported first-half results showing the pressures across the group.

    Organic service revenue, which strips out items such as handset sales, currency and acquisitions, was down a worse than expected 4.9 percent in the second quarter due to regulator-imposed price cuts and fierce competition in Italy, Spain, Germany, Turkey and Britain. Civil unrest in Egypt also hit demand.

    The 4.9 percent second quarter fall was worse than the 3.5 percent drop recorded in the first quarter and well below the last record fall of 4.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

    In the three months to the end of September, organic service revenue was down 4.9 percent in northern and central Europe, down 15.5 percent in southern Europe and up 5.7 percent in its emerging markets such as India and South Africa.

    Credit rating agency Moody's said on Tuesday it expected a fifth year of revenue decline in 2014, though operating margins would stabilize, helped by cost cutting and the end of regulatory cuts to mobile call termination fees.

    STRONGER POSITION

    "We view the decision to accelerate and expand Project Spring positively, given it brings forward the commercial benefits and increases competitive pressure on Vodafone's indebted and sub-scale rivals," Goldman Sachs said in a note.

    Vodafone said the spending plans would take 0.6 billion pounds off its core earnings in the 2015 financial year. It expects the investment to result in incremental free cash flow of over 1 billion pounds in the 2019 financial year, and it otherwise reiterated its 2014 outlook.

    Vodafone will now invest a total of 19 billion pounds over two years, when the Project Spring spending is added to regular investment of 12 billion pounds over that period. Colao said the expected improvement in the European economy would combine with an expected increase in the usage of data-hungry smartphones, making the improved network a necessity.

    "We are laying strong foundations for the future," Colao said. "The two years ahead will see the largest and fastest period of network investment in our 25-year history."

    Colao said he expected Vodafone's strongest rivals, likely to include Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom and Orange, to follow suit while smaller rivals would likely struggle.

    Moody's agreed: "Not many incumbent operators have the financial flexibility to match this, and the challengers ... have even less financial flexibility because of their high leverage."

    Strong growth in data consumption by smartphones, tablets and other devices means network quality is becoming more important in the fight to win and keep customers.

    With that in mind, Vodafone decided to plough some of the proceeds from the sale of its 45 percent in Verizon Wireless into infrastructure. But the bulk of the windfall from Verizon Communications - $84 billion - will be handed to shareholders, and the rest used to cut debt.

    Vodafone said its decision to invest had also been driven by a belief that it should see softer regulation from Brussels, which has spent years forcing down roaming and other call fees.

    The group also recognized additional deferred tax assets of 17.7 billion pounds in relation to the group's historical tax losses. It said this would not have any impact on the tax it pays, but analysts said it could prove attractive to a possible suitor.

    Bankers have told Reuters that AT&T is scouting for targets in Europe, with Vodafone the leading candidate - a bold bid that would provide instant scale across the region - but Colao declined to comment on whether he expected a deal to take place.

    ($1 = 0.6261 British pounds)

    (Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Paul Sandle and Will Waterman)

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