Exclusive: This is the Fitbit Surge, a $250 'superwatch' with built-in GPS

Fitbit is preparing to launch three new fitness trackers in the coming weeks. Two of those will be the Charge and Charge HR. The Charge looks to be a revision of the Fitbit Force, which was pulled off the market after it caused bad skin reactions for some customers. Charge HR will offer a bit extra with the addition of PurePulse, the company's wrist-based heart rate monitoring system. But there's more: Fitbit has also been working on a third, flagship wearable for serious athletes. It's the Fitbit Surge.

Apparently Fitbit thinks Surge is several steps beyond your average "wearable." The company refers to it as a "superwatch" according to marketing materials The Verge has received from a tipster. Set to be priced at $249, the Surge includes built-in GPS tracking — a big draw for runners — PurePulse heart rate monitoring, and promises to provide real time workout data for a variety of activities. You'll get stats on distance, pace, elevation climbed, heart rate intensity, and so on.

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HBO is finally going to let you watch its shows without cable

Starting next year, you'll finally be able to watch HBO on the web without a cable subscription. In a dream come true for cord cutters, HBO CEO Richard Plepler has confirmed the company plans to launch a "standalone, over-the-top" HBO Go subscription offering at some point in 2015. This service will be offered in the United States and there are also plans to bring it overseas. "This will be transformative for our company," Plepler said. He didn't delve into specifics or outline whether there will be differences in what's made available to cable customers and internet subscribers. Plepler only said that HBO will "work with current partners and explore models with new partners."

"All in, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them," he said. Plepler described broadband-only homes as "a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped. It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO."

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Verizon calls off plan to throttle LTE for unlimited data customers

Verizon Wireless won't be throttling the LTE speeds of its remaining unlimited data customers after all. In an eleventh hour reversal, the largest US carrier has just announced that it's "decided not to move forward with the planned implementation of network optimization for 4G LTE customers on unlimited plans."

The plan to start slowing down the heaviest users of LTE data on unlimited plans was set to go into effect this month. Verizon stirred a ton of anger and unrest when it announced it would be expanding its network optimization (read: throttling) practices to cover LTE data in July. 

Read the full article at The Verge
Original story: Verizon will soon throttle LTE data: here's what you need to know

Apple pulls iOS 8.0.1 after users report major problems with update

One week after the launch of iOS 8, Apple released its first update for the new OS — iOS 8.0.1 — on Wednesday afternoon. It was meant to fix a slew of bugs, but that's not what happened. Immediately after the update hit, reports began flooding in that iOS 8.0.1 was breaking cellular reception and other features like Touch ID. Apple eventually removed the faulty update, but not before an untold number of users were able to install it. 

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The best iOS 8 features you may not know about

Apple's latest iOS update is here, and it's full of new features. The company has showcased plenty of the changes already: better photo editing, easy-to-send voice messages, a smarter keyboard, fitness tracking, and the list goes on and on. It's so long, in fact, that we've gathered some of iOS 8's lesser known features here to make sure you don't miss them as you get familiar with the new software today. Improvements are everywhere, and many of them aren't immediately obvious. We'll have a full review of iOS 8 soon, but for now hopefully you'll find something here you didn't know about before.

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Motorola's American dream is over

Motorola won't be assembling phones in the United States for much longer. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the company will close its Texas factory — essential to its Moto Maker assembly process — by the end of this year. Motorola has since confirmed the unfortunate news to The Verge. And the reason is simple: Motorola's smartphones aren't selling well enough to keep the place running. 

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Apple confirms it's buying Beats for $3 billion

Apple has just confirmed plans to purchase Beats Electronics for $3 billion. The acquisition ranks as the largest that Apple has ever made and will see the company take ownership of an enormously successful and profitable line of consumer headphones as well as a burgeoning subscription music service. Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will also join Apple as part of the acquisition, which it will pay for with $2.6 billion in cash and $400 million in stock.

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Facebook buying Oculus VR for $2 billion

Facebook plans to purchase Oculus VR, maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, for $2 billion. The deal is comprised of $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook stock. Facebook announced its surprise purchase via a blog post. Separately, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed Facebook's reasons for the deal in his own post. "Oculus's mission is to enable you to experience the impossible. Their technology opens up the possibility of completely new kinds of experiences," Zuckerberg says. "Immersive gaming will be the first, and Oculus already has big plans here that won't be changing and we hope to accelerate."

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Tesla sales will be banned in New Jersey starting April 1st

Tesla was dealt a crushing blow in New Jersey today after the state's Motor Vehicle Commission passed a rule that will prevent the company from selling its electric cars directly to consumers starting in April. Unlike other automakers, Tesla sells its Model S through company-owned retail stores — a business model that cuts out the franchised auto dealerships that have ruled the market for decades.

Read the full article at The Verge

Keurig is locking down its coffee makers to keep out cheap refills

Green Mountain dominates the single-serve coffee market with its popular Keurig brewers and K-Cups, the little plastic pods that now come in over 200 licensed varieties. The rise of Keurig has even prompted brands like Starbucks, Folgers, and Dunkin' Donuts to release their own K-Cups, which users insert into the Keurig each time they want a cup of coffee. But other, unlicensed companies have also been able to hop on the bandwagon thanks to crucial patents that expired in 2012. That gave competitors the opportunity to produce generic K-Cups and price them lower than Green Mountain's official line. And consumers have noticed: generic Keurig pods have seen a steady rise in popularity.

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Facebook is buying Whatsapp for $16 billion

Facebook has entered into an agreement to purchase WhatsApp, the massively popular messaging client, for $16 billion in cash and stock. A document filed with the SEC today confirms the huge purchase. As was the case with Instagram, the company says WhatsApp will continue to operate independently after the acquisition — separate from Facebook Messenger — but claims the deal "accelerates Facebook’s ability to bring connectivity and utility to the world." 

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Sony's latest MP3 player comes inside a bottle of water

Sony's W Series Walkman is a barebones MP3 player with one key selling point: it's waterproof. But that can be a difficult thing to highlight on store shelves — at least when you're limited to traditional retail packaging. For its customers in New Zealand, Sony decided to try something different. With the help of ad firm DraftFCB, the company came up with a brilliant plan to help set its product apart from alternatives like Apple's iPod shuffle. The earbud / MP3 player combo comes packaged inside a full bottle of water, a clever marketing tactic that immediately highlights its waterproof construction.

Read the full article at The Verge

Target confirms up to 40 million credit and debit cards are at risk following Black Friday hack

Retailers are an appealing target for hackers during the holidays, and Target may be learning that lesson the hard way. According to Krebs on Security, the US retail giant is investigating a major breach that could potentially involve "millions" of customer credit and debit card records. The sophisticated hack reportedly took place over several weeks — starting on Black Friday and possibly extending all the way through December 15th — and is said to involve "nearly all" Target stores in the United States.

Krebs says the breach "involves the theft of data stored on the magnetic stripe of cards used at the stores." Online orders are said to be unaffected. Still, it sounds like a worst case scenario for Target and its shoppers.

Read the full article at The Verge