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TITLE: Mobile World Congress Kicks Off, 950GUEST: Natali Morris

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It's Monday, February 24, 2014 and this is Tech News Today.

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Welcome to Tech News Today, I'm Mike Elgan - I'm Jason Howell.

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Tech News Today explores the most important stories of the day in conversation with the world's leading journalists.

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Our guest co-anchor today is Natali Morris, a contributor to The TODAY Show, CNBC and The Queen Latifah Show. She's also the co-founder of ReadQuick, a speed reading app for iOS, and a former anchor for CNET TV. Natali Morris
NataliMorris.com, @natalimorris

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CONVERSATION 1SHOWLINKS

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It’s after 7pm in Barcelona, Spain, where Mobile World Congress is winding down Day One. Nokia rolled out three Android phones this morning called the Nokia X, Nokia X+ and the Nokia XL. Sony announced a new Xperia Z2 Android waterproof smartphone, which has a 5.2-inch screen and the ability to capture image-stabilized 4K video with its 20.7 megapixel camera. Sony also announced its Xperia Z2 tablet, which the company claims is the world’s thinnest and lightest tablet. China’s Huawei unveiled a wearable wristband device called the TalkBand B1, which has a pop-out earpiece for making calls via Bluetooth. These are just a few of the many announcements that have already taken place at the event.
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13970_7-57619336-78/what-mattered-at-mobile-world-congress-day-zero-samsung-gear-firefox-phones-fierce-convertible-competition/

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Q: What do you think have been the most interesting Mobile World Congress announcements so far?

Q: What’s your opinion on Samsung’s decision to drop Android and use Tizen for smartwatches?

Q: Speaking of Android alternatives, Firefox OS is partnering with Alcatel, ZTE, and Huawei. Does this OS have a prayer of success?

Q: I’m kind of impressed by Huawei’s TalkBand B1. The earpiece is kind of wacky, but overall it seems like some creative thinking. What’s your impression?

Q: What are you expected from Samsung’s big announcement?

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cnet.com * @lturrentine

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CONVERSATION 2SHOWLINKS

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Netflix will pay Comcast for a direct connection, which should boost Netflix performance for Comcast customers. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. The move has been slammed as a blow against net neutrality. That claim is probably an exaggeration, but the deal does raise concerns. In fact, such arrangements are commonplace with the exception of one detail: Netflix is paying. Usually, so-called “peering” deals are seen as a mutually beneficial arrangement to improve service and no money changes hands. Another reason this is big news is that Netflix is a big user of network capacity, gobbling up about 30 percent of all Internet traffic during peak hours. http://blog.streamingmedia.com/2014/02/media-botching-coverage-netflix-comcast-deal-getting-basics-wrong.html

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* Frost & Sullivan Principal Analyst Dan Rayburn sharply criticized the media’s coverage of the deal, and had some interesting points to make. For starters, he said that contrary to media reports, the deal could lower costs. He also pointed out that so-called peering deals are commonplace, and have been going on for years.

Q: Natali, as a broadcaster are you concerned about this trend?

Q: The deal comes less than two weeks after Comcast agreed to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc. in a $45.2-billion transaction that would create a broadband behemoth reaching 30 million of the nation's 92 million high-speed Internet customers.

* Another point to consider is whether the FCC’s coming net neutrality rule changes will now cover peering deals, but they probably won’t.

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CONVERSATION 3SHOWLINKS

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The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that Google is working with LG Electronics to create a smartwatch. http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2014/02/23/google-readying-android-smartwatch-with-lg/

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Q: Google working with LG? This sounds like a Nexus product, doesn’t it?

Q: What can a Google LG partnership bring to the market that the dozens of other smartwatch makers can’t?

Q: How does this affect Google’s relationship with Android hardware makers, such as Samsung?

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wsj.com * @RolfeWinkler

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CONVERSATION 4SHOWLINKS

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Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore announced nine new hardware partners over the weekend. The company also said they plan to lower some requirements for the device with the intention of enabling lower-cost Windows Phone handsets for emerging markets. http://venturebeat.com/2014/02/23/microsoft-announces-new-windows-phone-partners-spring-update-for-windows-8-1/

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-23/microsoft-targets-cheaper-phones-to-tap-global-internet-growth.html

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Q: Microsoft’s list of new partners includes Foxconn, Gionee, JSR, Karbonn, Lava, Lenovo, LG, Longcheer, and ZTE. There are several odd things about this list. First, haven’t LG and ZTE made Windows Phone handsets before? Why would they be added?

Q: How is Foxconn a handset partner. They’re a contract manufacturer, aren’t they?

Q: Lenovo was a bit of a surprise. They just bought the Motorola handset business from Google. They’re going to make Windows Phone handsets, too?

Q: Most Americans have probably never heard of some of these companies, such as Gionee, JSR, Karbonn, Lava and Longcheer. Are these significant players?

Q: What are some of the requirements Microsoft is removing to enable lower-cost handsets?

Q: Microsoft also announced new enterprise functionality. Can you tell us about these?

* The company has decided to remove some earlier requirements for Windows Phones, like physical camera, back, and search buttons. It’s also adding support for Snapdragon 200 and 400 chip sets, as well as dual SIM.

* Microsoft plans to offer more enterprise functionality on Windows Phone. Features like enterprise Wi-Fi, S/MIME, VPN, and enhanced mobile device management

* Spring update called “Update 1″ internally

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CONVERSATION 5SHOWLINKS

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Apple fixed a security flaw in iOS Friday, but temporarily left its OS TEN open to attack, according to a story by James Temple on Recode. Security researchers say the bug, called “Go to fail,” could have made Apple’s own Safari browser and Mail application vulnerable. Apple said they’re working on a patch. http://recode.net/2014/02/22/apple-patches-one-security-hole-leaves-open-another/

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James Temple is a senior editor at RecodeJames Temple
Senior editor, Recode

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Q: Can you tell us more about this Go To Fail bug?

Q: Researchers claimed to be shocked by Apple’s practices related to how Apple communicated to users about the bug. What’s their complaint?

Q: Apple pundit John Gruber even suggested that the NSA might be behind this. Is this a possibility?

Q: What should Mac owners do to protect themselves?

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recode.net * @jtemple

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CONVERSATION 6SHOWLINKS

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WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum announced at Mobile World Congress today that his app will add voice calling by June. He also confirmed that WhatsApp still has no plans for advertising. The company is being acquired by Facebook. In related news, Koum announced yesterday that a network router knocked out WhatsApp for more than three hours on Saturday. http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13970_7-57619391-78/whatsapp-to-add-voice-communications-in-second-quarter/

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/22/us-facebook-whatsapp-idUSBREA1L1522014022

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Jamie Rigg is an Associate Editor at EngadgetURL

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Q: This appears to be a huge challenge to Google, which offers Google Voice and also phone-based Hangouts. But it also challenges Microsoft, which owns Skype. How will this affect the Microsoft-Facebook partnership?

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engadget.com * @jmerigg

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That's our show. Thank you, Natali!

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* * * FIN * * *

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On Tech News Today: Mobile World Congress finishes Day One * Comcast makes a deal with Netflix * And is there a Nexus Smartwatch at hand?

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