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Hands-on with Amazon’s Fire Phone: 3D, battery life and other first impressions

GeekWire’s Tricia Duryee and I just emerged from some hands-on time with Amazon’s new Fire Phone, and an interview with Ian Freed, the Amazon executive who led the project — a 4-year initiative inside the company. Here are some of our impressions and key takeaways from both sessions … Dynamic Perspective/Gestures: This is shaping up as the signature… Read More

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Cellular service provider Solavei files for bankruptcy

Solavei emerged on the scene two years ago with a high-profile list of investors, celebrity endorsers and an ambitious business model that relied on customers to spread the word about the company’s cellular phone service, earning cash along the way. From the beginning, Solavei’s multi-level marketing approach drew criticism, sparking hundreds of comments on GeekWire…. Read More

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Missing from the Amazon Fire phone: A special voice or data plan from AT&T

Ahead of Amazon’s big phone unveiling today, reports had suggested that the smartphone could come with a special wireless plan called “Prime Data.” But any mention of a special rate plan was completely absent from today’s presentation in Seattle. Amazon boss Jeff Bezos described in detail how someone could navigate through services on the phone using… Read More

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Shares of Amazon jump nearly 3% after unveiling of new Fire Phone

Wall Street seems to like the Fire Phone, the Amazon.com smartphone that was announced today at an event in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. Shares of Amazon.com jumped nearly $10 in trading this afternoon following the announcement of the device, which will begin shipping on July 25. The stock increased nearly three percent to $334, giving the… Read More

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No cross-town love from T-Mobile’s John Legere, who predicts the Amazon phone will fail on AT&T

T-Mobile’s John Legere still must be bitter from having to move his press conference to accommodate Amazon’s big unveiling, which was coincidentally planned for the same day in Seattle. It also doesn’t help that new leaks this morning say that the Amazon’s first smartphone will use AT&T as its exclusive wireless carrier (and not T-Mobile). Either way, Legere… Read More

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Nuance sale talks put valuable speech-recognition patent portfolio up for grabs

Nuance Communications, a company with deep expertise in speech-recognition industry, may be up for sale. The Burlington, Mass.-based company has been in talks with various suitors, including private equity firms and Samsung, reports The Wall Street Journal, which quoted people familiar with the deal. This is not the first time that the company has been a target, and… Read More

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Mayday button could broaden appeal of Amazon smartphone

The rumored 3D interface for Amazon’s expected smartphone may get the buzz later this week. But there is another potential killer feature for those tech-averse consumers. Eight months ago, Amazon launched the Kindle Fire HDX, and with it, the “Mayday” button, which allows users to connect to a live chat advisor who can help with whatever… Read More

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GeekWire Radio: Amazon music, Lively shutdown, and the new world of tech design

We’ve got a lot to discuss on this week’s GeekWire radio show, starting with our thoughts on Amazon’s new Prime Music streaming service — the online retailer’s latest push into the world of digital media, and a prelude to its expected smartphone unveiling next week. As detailed in this review by GeekWire’s Blair Hanley Frank, the new service is a nice… Read More

Medio CEO Rob Lilleness. Photo via Medio.

Nokia acquires mobile analytics company Medio for ‘Here’ location platform

Nokia today announced its acquisition of Medio Systems, a Seattle-based mobile predictive analytics startup. Nokia ‘Here‘ location platform — which is not part of Microsoft’s Nokia devices acquisition — will use Medio’s predictive technology to bolster its real-time maps and location services with personalized recommendations, dynamic routes and other features. “We are entering the age of what I call… Read More

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A T-Mobile and Sprint tie-up will look more pink than yellow

What do you get when you mix the third-and-fourth-largest wireless phone carriers together? You get a combined wireless carrier that serves about 100 million subscribers and a coverage area that nearly blankets the U.S. (It’s closest rivals AT&T and Verizon Wireless are both nationwide and have 100 million subscribers apiece.) In the map below, provided by Mosaik… Read More

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Bootstrapping vacation rentals startup Dwellable raises $2M from Seattle angels

For years, Adam Doppelt refused to take venture capital financing, using a strict bootstrapping ethos to build companies such as restaurant locator Urbanspoon and tech talent identifier CubeDuel. “Just build little things, and then see what happens,” Doppelt told GeekWire in an interview nearly three years ago. Well, Doppelt’s latest “little” startup — the online… Read More

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Sprint, T-Mobile reportedly moving closer to $50B merger

Sprint’s merger with T-Mobile is moving closer to reality. Sources tell Bloomberg that Sprint is set to offer 50 percent stock and 50 percent cash for Bellevue-based T-Mobile US as soon as next month in a major deal that would combine the nation’s third and fourth-largest wireless carriers. Bloomberg notes that T-Mobile US parent company Deutsche Telekom… Read More

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Hey AT&T, don’t throttle me!

There’s a great debate that occasionally rages here in the GeekWire offices. Unlimited cellular data plans, or lower-cost metered plans? GeekWire co-founder Todd Bishop dumped his unlimited data plan with AT&T in 2012, and has preceded to flog me both privately and publicly ever since. I’m wasting money, he says. I’ve stuck with the higher… Read More

Masayoshi Son (Photo via Wikipedia)

Sprint chairman hints again at T-Mobile merger plans, praises John Legere

Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son isn’t giving up on a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, based on his comments at Re/code’s Code Conference. When asked about Sprint’s lackluster LTE coverage, Son said that both Sprint and T-Mobile are lacking the nationwide spectrum needed to compete. “Neither one of them has a sufficient network today,” he said…. Read More

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Mary Meeker’s full Internet trends presentation: Mobile booming while online slows

Mary Meeker, the former Wall Street analyst now working at Kleiner Perkins, gave her highly quotable and tweetable Internet trends report today at the Code Conference. The material is mostly all her own, meaning that her team gathers the data from various sources to find valuable information that many start-ups and tech giants will use to guide the ship…. Read More

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Microsoft buys Paris startup Capptain to better analyze mobile app usage

Microsoft is buying Capptain, a small Paris-based startup that helps mobile developers get a better sense of how people are using their applications. Terms of the deal — announced today on the Capptain Web site — were not immediately known. The Capptain service analyzes user behavior within apps, and then compiles push notifications with specially-targeted messages,… Read More

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The next battleground for Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Google: Artificial Intelligence

  Digital personal assistants today can help you send messages, place phone calls, schedule meetings or find answers from the Internet. But there’s evidence that all the major tech giants are investing heavily in artificial intelligence to try and make digital assistants do a whole lot more helpful. At least that is what Raj Singh, the founder and CEO… Read More

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Smart address book Addappt expands to Android, adds new iPhone features

Addappt, a smart address book created by veterans of LinkedIn and Microsoft, rolled out a new version of its iPhone app today and expanded to Android — the latest steps in its attempt to address the age-old challenge of easily keeping contact information up to date. The app’s flagship feature is the ability for friends to update their information in your address… Read More