Here are today's top stories from Tech News Today for January 14, 2014:
- A federal appeals court today ruled against the FCC -- and also its rules for net neutrality. The United States Court of Appeals in D.C. ruled said that the FCC doesn’t have the authority to impose its Open Internet rules on Internet providers like Verizon because of how the FCC itself classifies such companies -- the FCC does not classify Internet providers as a common-carrier service like telephone companies are. If the ruling were to stand, it would mean Internet providers could charge rich web sites more to provide faster service, while throttling the little guys. The FCC may appeal. Read more at wsj.com.
- Motorola might start letting you build your own tablets, at least the way you can with a Moto X. Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside tells the blog Pocket-lint that the company is considering offering tablets that can be customized on the Moto Maker web site. Buyers could choose colors, materials, and specs, such as the amount of storage and accessories. Read more at pocket-lint.com.
- Evleaks, who often gets his hands on leaked photos of prototype smartphones, posted a picture today that’s suppose to be Nokia’s secret Android phone, code-named ‘Normandy.’ The picture appears to show a home screen with Microsoft’s Metro UI on top of Android. Wow. Android with a Windows Phone interface. Microsoft is currently in the process of buying Nokia’s Devices & Services business. Nokia owns 92% of the global Windows Phone market. Read more at bgr.com.
- Oh good, a New Jersey story that doesn't involve a bridge. This ohe's about the New Jersey state government shuuting down... drone abuse. The State Senate approved a bill that restricts how police, firefighters and other first responders are allowed to use drones. For starters: No weapons on drones. Also: Police have to get a warrant before using a drone for surveillance. And they have to delete any information gathered after two weeks unless it’s part of an official criminal investigation. The bill now goes to Governor Chris Christie for signature. Read more at cliffviewpilot.com.
- Don’t tell Leo, but now employers can pay employee salaries using Bitcoin. A company called BitPay, which claims to be the world’s largest payment processor for virtual currencies, released a beta payroll API. It enables employers to offer a net payroll deduction paid in bitcoin to accompany each paycheck. The service is currently available only in the United States. Read more at businesswire.com.
- In more Motorola news, the company launched its Moto X phone in Europe today. It comes in wide range of colors, like black or white. Interestingly, the European model won't offer any Moto Maker customization options like the US version... and it's more expensive. An unlocked Moto X in Europe costs up to $624 unlocked. It launched in the US at $599 and eventually dropped to $399. Phones ship in France, Britain and Germany in February. Read more at economictimes.indiatimes.com.
- Apple doesn’t use its iBeacon indoor positioning system for transactions yet, but most Apple-watchers expect them to. Yesterday, a company called iMobile3 beat Apple to it. The company announced iBeacon support for its PassMarket product. PassMarket is a search engine for collecting mobile wallet “passes” from merchants. PassMarket’s system makes brick-and-mortar shopping like shopping online. Customers using the system can “check out” with their purchases by simply walking up to the register -- iBeacon knows they’re standing there thanks to a partnership with beacon maker Twocanoes. Customers can pay with their PassMarket wallet app on iPhone without using a credit card. PassMarket also says their system is more secure than, say, Target’s, because credit card data is stored in a single, secure vault at the payment processor, not at the store. Read more at pymnts.com.
- Google now makes it easy to find images that you have the right to use on your blog. A new menu item under Search Tools lets you sort images you've pulled up in a search by usage rights, such as "labeled for resuse" or "labeled for commerical reuse". Microsoft added a similar feature to Bing last July. Read more at thenextweb.com.
- It just got easier for people to make augmented reality content. The Spanish augmented reality company Catchoom today launched a new platform called CraftAR. It lets you link digital assets to real-world objects - for example, additional information about an object that’s displayed when a user is looking at that object. It also enables the creation of 3D models through scanning real objects and tools for embeding augmented reality experiences into mobile apps. Read more at thenextweb.com.
- YouTube today brought back the central inbox for video comments. Users complained loudly recently when Google switched YouTube to a Google+ centric comment system and removed the central inbox. So Google “fast-tracked the development of a new comment management page that lets you see, respond to and moderate your comments all in one place,” according to Google. Read more at techcrunch.com.
For insight, analysis, and discussion of these topics and more, check out Tech News Today for January 14, 2014.