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Google will be countering Apple's WWDC 2014 announcements with its own annual developer conference this week in San Francisco, an event rumored to include an Android Wear smartwatch from Samsung as well as new TV and automobile products from the search giant. Google I/O kicks off Wednesday, so we'll be sure to keep an eye on the proceedings and report back here with any big developments. In the meantime, here's what you might have missed over the weekend...
Microsoft-owned Skype announced Friday plans to retire older versions of Mac and Windows clients, some of which would be considered fairly recent releases by anyone else. Mac users running version 6.14 or older will need to download the newest release in order to continue using Skype in the coming months, a change the company says is being made to pave the way for the "next generation" of desktop software. And really, everyone should be on the newest version anyway, which enables sending and receiving instant messages when contacts are offline as well as viewing consistent and complete chat history and syncing read/unread status across multiple devices.
Remember Path? The private social networking app you probably don't use is now splintering into two with last Friday's debut of Talk, yet another messaging app that promises to do things a little differently. Billed as "a more personal messaging experience," Path Talk introduces a concept known as "Ambient Status" that lets friends know what you're doing and even if your device is low on battery without user interaction. Conversations can also include multimedia content including photos, voice, maps, music, movies, books, video, and stickers, while Quick Replies offer a way to swipe to ping someone back. But will it be enough to lure messaging users away from their favorite solutions? Only time will tell.
Last week's T-Mobile US media event wasn't just about Uncarrier 5.0, the company's new initiative that offers a loaner iPhone 5s for seven days. CEO John Legere also leapt ahead to Uncarrier 6.0, a new offering that enables Simple Choice customers to stream music from Pandora, Rhapsody, iHeartRadio, iTunes Radio, Slacker, and Spotify absolutely free over T-Mo's data pipes. That's a pretty amazing offer for fans of music streaming, although it currently doesn't apply to some of the newer challengers including Beats Music, Google Play Music All Access, and Amazon Prime Music, which the carrier teases could be added by customer votes on its website.
Have problems keeping track of your MacBook AC power adapter? A new Kickstarter hopes to remedy that problem with a custom "duck head" holder, a plastic widget that piggybacks onto Apple's AC power adapters and allows the removable prongs to attach to the side of the unit for safekeeping. In addition to Apple's MagSafe-equipped AC chargers, the widget also works with the iPad 12W power adapter as well as those for older iBook and Powerbook models and even the first-generation AirPort Express. The creators hope to have the widgets in the hands of backers within four months, and a pledge of only $5 will get you one of the first Duck Head Savers to roll off the assembly lines.
As noted by tipster Brandon Walker and independently confirmed by MacLife.com, cloud storage provider Bitcasa appears to be countering the imminent threat of Apple's iCloud Drive with a special offer targeted at free users of its own service. "Valued Bitcasa customers" are eligible for an exclusive deal of 100GB of cloud storage for only $20 per year, a cost-effective gap between the free up-to-20GB plans and the Premium service offering 1TB for $10 per month (or $99 per year). Back in November, Bitcasa sparked controversy by jacking up its unlimited "Infinite Storage" plan from $99 per year to $99 per month (or $999 per year), and technically free users start with 5GB and have to refer friends in order to take advantage of the full 20GB offer.
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