Sundar Pichai discusses Google’s future with Google Wallet, Google Plus, and the Chinese market

Sundar_Pichai_7885Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior VP of products, was recently interviewed by Forbes about the direction the company is taking in key areas. He discussed Google Wallet, how Google plans to utilize Android in the Chinese market, and where Google’s own social network was heading. It was a pretty interesting interview that shed some light on some of Google’s intentions and more or less confirmed some rumors we’ve been hearing.
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Sprint to off the LG G Pad F 7.0 for free on two-year contract on March 13th

LG g pad f 7.0If you’ve been considering adding a tablet to your monthly cellular plan, Sprint will soon be selling LG’s G Pad F 7.0 on a two-year contract. The tablet comes equipped with LTE radios for Sprint’s network and is the first LG tablet that the carrier has offered. The tab is free on a two-year contract, and it runs just $10 a month on Sprint EasyPay.
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Verizon will finally sell the Nexus 6 on March 12th with Android 5.1 and VoLTE

Nexus_6_Cloud_White_And_Midnight_BlueVerizon hasn’t been in any kind of a rush to release the Nexus 6 on their network, but it looks like the wait is almost over. Most Verizon stores are getting promotional materials for the device that are slated to go up on March 11th with a March 12th launch date, which means we’re about two weeks out from seeing the phone officially active on Verizon’s network.
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Oculus offering up a $1 million prize pool for Gear VR development challenge

samsung_gear_vr_officialOculus has announced a new competition for developers with a fairly massive prize pool for great games or experiences. The challenge is focused around Samsung’s Gear VR, and the prize pool totals up to $1 million. There a few different awards, with the top game netting 200k, the top app or experience taking home 100k, and a few steps below that with different variations of prize money. Games are obviously the central focus here, but quality apps are still getting some recognition, which is good to see.
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HTC will be streaming the new HTC One M9 unveiling online

HTC_One_M8_Back_HTC_Logo_TA_01We know the HTC One will be announced this Sunday, but watching that unveiling would be tricky if you weren’t at MWC. Fortunately for those of us that can’t make it HTC has updated their website with links to watch the show this Sunday, bright and early at 10 AM Eastern time. The site details what time the event will happen, depending on where you are in the world, and it’s even got a nifty little link to add it to your Google calendar so you don’t miss it.
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Revamped Android Pay will be announced at Google I/O

google_wallet_softcard_picture1With Apple Pay off to a solid start and Samsung working on a better competitor to the service, it would make sense for Google to push their own mobile payment system front and center to stay competitive, and some rumors are pointing at that happening at I/O later this year.

This new service, called Android Pay, will actually be separate from Google Wallet. Android Pay will supposedly allow vendors to integrate the service into their Android apps so customers can quickly buy things without having to put in their debit or credit card information over and over. On top of that, retailers will also be able to set up tap-to-pay transactions in physical locations using Android Pay. 
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Huawei announces LTE-enabled Smartband, uses next-gen 4.5G radios

huawei_talkband_b1_03Huawei has taken the wraps off of a new Smartband device that features two industry-leading features. It’s the first ever LTE-enabled device of its kind, and it will utilize the company’s 4.5G network, which is labeled as being somewhere between 4G and 5G in terms of speed. The 4.5G network isn’t set to go live until next year, but this band is jumping on board earlier.
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Android snags 81% of the market in 2014 with over 1 billion units shipped

android-vs-iphoneWith 2014 in the books, we’re finally getting the numbers to see how each manufacturer and OS did over the past year. The good news for Google and Apple (and bad news for the likes of Microsoft and BlackBerry) Android and iOS accounted for a whopping 96.3% of all smartphones shipped. That leaves a very small 3.7% for Windows Phone and everything else that’s competing for scraps.

When you break the numbers down between Android and iOS, though, Android came out a clear victor in the market share battle. Android devices accounted for 81.5% of all phones shipped, finally breaking the 1 billion mark for smartphones. Compared to those 1 billion Android smartphones, Apple shipped 192 million phones for 14.8% of the market. 
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