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Nokia launches its new Z launcher tablet

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November 18, 2014

Nokia recently launched its N1 Android tablet, showing the world that the sale of its mobile division to Microsoft wasn't to be its impending death.

While the company agreed not to make phones anymore it is still going to be on smartphones thanks to its own new device, the Z Launcher.

Nokia was made famous by its easy-to-use platforms on its earliest mobiles, so why not try that again in a modern launcher context?

The Z Launcher is available now in beta version for Android, allowing anyone to take advantage of this intelligent home screen that adapts to your phone use.

We've given it a go to see if it really can learn and if it's smart enough to replace our current launcher.

The most striking feature on the Z Launcher beta has to be its use of hand written lettering to find certain things, called Scribble. For instance, if you're looking for Facebook, you simply write an F with your finger on the screen.

You're then presented with all F related items including apps, contacts and more all based on the regularity of your utilization. While this is great for finding what you use regularly, it's not so helpful if you're searching for something less used, trapping you in a bit of a loop instead.

With the F we were met with a guy we contact regularly, despite his name having no F letters. His job title, pulled in from somewhere online, has an F so that made him relevant.

We did notice that when opening Twitter from a pull down notification the homescreen didn't register that as being opened and didn't leave the app on the homescreen. Something to fix after the beta version perhaps?

At this early stage the only customization, aside from icon moving, is found in the form of background images. While these can be changed from within Settings there isn't an option to change the top digital and analog clock.

Since these are just a few repeats of what's already at the top of the homepage, they seem like a waste of space that could be used to hold more app icons.

That said, once the Z Launcher learns more, it does also show alerts in the top section. So if you like a certain band it'll let you know when that is coming up.

Changing the four quick access apps along the bottom of the screen is easy. You simply find the app from a list, either by going into the apps or writing a letter, then press, hold and drag it onto the icon you wish to replace.

You're also able to hide notifications from the list of six apps commonly used which will just pull in another in its place.

While the Nokia Z Launcher site says it's currently in testing with the Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy S3, S4 and S5, we're testing it using the LG G3 and it appears to be working fine.

Although with the Nexus 9 and 10, it's not currently available as far as we can see. Presumably it works best with Android 5.0 since that's what it will come with on the Nokia N1 tablet when that launches.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson's intention to put on hold his company's plans to deploy high-speed fiber-optic lines throughout the United States has raised the Federal Communications Commission's curiosity in the project.

Specifically, Stephenson got on the FCC's radar with comments he made last week. The FCC on Friday sent a letter to AT&T seeking more information about the company's fiber deployment plans, including the current rollout, the breakdown of the technology used and both its former and current plans on the number of households it plans to reach.

Stephenson was supposed to make his announcement on Wednesday, a day after President Obama came out in support of tougher regulations that would treat broadband services like a utility.

"We can't go out and invest in that kind of network without knowing the rules governing the network," Stephenson said.

The FCC added it would explore all of its options, including Obama's preference for placing broadband services under "Title II" regulations, which would give governments a say in how Internet service providers could price their offerings.

Proponents of the initiative say Title II represents the best way to ensure Net neutrality, or unbiased handling of all Internet traffic by Internet service providers.

AT&T and other ISPs have argued that the additional regulations would hurt innovation and capital investment.

The comments and subsequent letter come as AT&T is attempting to get approval from the FCC on its $48.5 billion deal to acquire DirecTV.

The approval process at the FCC was already put on hold for a separate matter relating to consumer protection provisions.

The Dallas telecommunications giant said it would work with the FCC. "We are happy to respond to the questions posed by the FCC in its review of our merger with DirecTV," the company said in an emailed statement.

"As we made clear earlier this week, we remain committed to our DirecTV merger-related build-out plans."

AT&T had previously thought of deploying fiber-optic lines capable of achieving speeds of 1 gigabit per second to 100 cities in 2015.

But Stephenson said he would limit the deployment to 2 million additional homes that were committed as part of the DirecTV deal.

The GigaPower service is only in a few select cities, including Austin, Texas. In addition to its rollout plans, the FCC wanted to look at whether AT&T's investment plan in fiber is unprofitable; whether the 2 million homes it has committed to would be an unprofitable venture; and all documents related to those plans following the acquisition of DirecTV.

The FCC gave AT&T until November 21 to respond. We'll keep you posted on these and other developments.

The iPhone has gained its high level of popularity for a good reason. Itís simple, light and very easy to use.

Nevertheless, there are people who want to get rid of some restrictions set by Apple and break free into the world of unlimited mobile apps.

Those users do a simple step called Jailbreak, removing the limitations placed by Apple to change the iPhone software. Keep in mind that this is very different from phone unlocking.

The jailbreakers' frustration comes from the numerous possibilities that they have on the Mac, and also the many restrictions they have on the iPhone, such as when they can't change the default look or download programs that are not on the list in iOS App Store.

Thatís why more and more people prefer to jailbreak their phones. In this article, we will list five pros and cons of jailbreaking your smartphone.

The 5 pros of jailbreaking your phone:

  • The first and most important reason is that it's literally your phone. You paid for it, thatís why you should be able to do whatever you want with it.
  • The second advantage is that you will have hundreds or even thousands more apps to install.
  • The third pro is that you will be able to download them from anywhere you want, not only from the Apple Store. It can be games, special apps, songs, videos, etc.
  • Fourth, you will be able to customize the look and feel of your smartphone to make it more personal, install your favorite music outside App Store, etc.
  • Last but not least, you will be able to block annoying spam messages or adverts in Safari and upgrade your keyboard at the same time.
  • You can do all of the above completely free of charge. Although the list of pros could be much longer, it is fair to write the cons as well.

    The 5 cons of jailbreaking your phone:

  • The first disadvantage is that this is an invalidation of your phoneís warranty since Apple will refuse helping you if something is broken. We strongly suggest performing a back-up of your data and contact information.

  • Then one big drawback and probably the worst are potential security issues. If what you install from the App Store is most likely to be tested and safe, jailbreaking will expose your phone to the high risk of catching a virus by downloading a new app.

  • Another big disadvantage is that if your iPhone is jailbroken, one can install a spying app on your phone and track all of the incoming and outgoing information. This action can reduce the capacity of your battery. While some people donít seem to care much, others, especially travelers, can find it quite alarming.

  • Also, if you perform a jailbreak incorrectly, it can affect your phone in the most unpleasant manner. It can break the phone and turn it into a useless device.

  • Last but not least, if you are not sure how to do it correctly, ask someone else. If it's not done correctly, you will most likely live to regret it.
  • Remember that you already have a great phone, which works just right and a vast majority of users around the world are satisfied with it. And you should take that at full face value.

    Mrs. Grane is an IT specialist and a contributor to working women. Right now she is a part-time blog editor for parental control mobile monitoring service at†

    In other mobile news

    After several weeks of talking about the new iPhones, attention has now turned to Apple's new payment solution dubbed Apple Pay.

    Some reports surfaced this week that some major retailers such as WalMart and Rite Aid are now blocking Apple's contactless payment system as they are preparing a competing product of their own.

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    To be sure, Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed the issue during a talk at a Wall Street Journal conference. Video clips of the talk were broadcast online.

    Cook called the initial resistance from retailers a skirmish and went on to tout how quickly iPhone users are adopting Apple Pay.

    "In the first seventy-two hours we'd gone over the one million mark on activations of the new cards," Cook said. "If you sum up everyone that's in the contactless mobile payments at the point of sale, we're already number one."

    Apple also may be looking for a payments partner in China. According to Cook, Apple is targeting a potential wedding with Alibaba's AliPay.

    Cook added that Alibaba Group's Executive Chairman Jack Ma is exactly the kind of person that Apple likes to partner with.

    "I have the utmost respect for Jack," Cook said. "We love to partner with people that are smart, that have flexible teams and make great products."

    Cook's remarks come after a number of retailers began rejecting Apple Pay. Those retailers are part of a joint venture called the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCE), which is developing something called the Current C Platform.

    Current C is testing in limited locations around the U.S. with a full rollout expected by 2015.

    A press release from MCE states that Current C aims to simplify and expedite the customer checkout process by applying qualifying offers and coupons, participating merchant rewards, loyalty programs and membership accounts, and offering payment options through the consumerís selected financial account, all with a single scan.

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    Source: Nokia.

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