Google to sell basic version of modular smartphone in January

Google will begin selling a basic version of its Project Ara modular smartphone in January, the company said this week.

Apple, Samsung, others commit to anti-theft tools for smartphones

Many of the world's top phone manufacturers, including Apple and Samsung, announced that they have committed to include basic anti-theft tools for smartphones made after July 2015 for sale in the U.S.

Microsoft's Clippy returns in Windows Phone 8.1 'Easter egg'

Microsoft has sneaked Clippy, one of its most beloved and hated characters, into the latest version of its mobile software.

Bigger than Facebook? Chinese tech giant Alibaba plans U.S. IPO

The largest tech IPO of the year will come from a company that many Americans have never heard of.

Gmail makes adding photos into messages quicker with new feature

Adding pictures into a Gmail message will now be faster than ever thanks to a new feature introduced Tuesday that lets users quickly upload photos that have been backed up from their smartphones.

Google wants to fit an entire camera into a contact lens

Google has applied for a patent that details a way to fit a camera into a contact lens.

Google Glass: How to buy one, today only, without an invitation

Not sure what to spend that tax refund on? Well, Google has an idea.

Samsung Galaxy S5 finds success in simplicity

With the Galaxy S5, Samsung proves that less can be more.

Google buys drone maker Titan Aerospace; Facebook had shown interest

Google has acquired New Mexico-based drone maker Titan Aerospace, the company said on Monday.

After Heartbleed bug, OpenSSL president calls for more support

The president of the OpenSSL Foundation said the organization needs more support from companies and governments that use its software so that it can be better equipped to spot and fix flawed pieces of code such as the Heartbleed bug.

T-Mobile petition calls for other carriers to end overage fees

T-Mobile is on the offensive against its rivals again, calling for the top U.S. wireless carriers to end their use of overage fees.

LA Hacks hackathon draws hordes of young developers to UCLA [Updated]

The basketball court at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion was teeming with young hackers this weekend as students descended on the school for the second annual LA Hacks event.

Dropbox responds to backlash over Condoleezza Rice board appointment

The week seemed to start off on a triumphant note for hot Silicon Valley start-up Dropbox. The company held a media event Wednesday to unveil a slew of new applications designed to demonstrate its expanding vision as it marches closer to an anticipated initial public offering.

Amazon reportedly plans to release a smartphone this year

After years of rumors, could finally be getting into the smartphone business.

NSA denies reports it exploited 'Heartbleed' to spy on consumers

The National Security Agency denied a report that it has exploited the "Heartbleed" bug to spy on consumers for the past two years.

Salesforce Tower's 61 stories will change San Francisco's skyline

Salesforce Tower in S.F. will be tallest in the West, for a while announced Friday that it will be the main tenant in a 61-story building under construction in San Francisco.

Sony warns Vaio users of fire risk from defective batteries

Sony is issuing a warning to users of its Vaio Fit 11A, telling them to stop using the laptops because the batteries could overheat and catch fire.

Wearable tech gains momentum; sales expected to triple this year

The global wearable computing market is rapidly expanding beyond early-adopter status. 

Amazon Fire TV stands out with extra gaming features [Video]

With the arrival of the Amazon Fire TV, the heat is turning up in the market for video-streaming devices.

German engineer who created 'Heartbleed' bug says it was an accident

Say hello to Robin Seggelmann.

Limited number of Google Glass will be available to buy on Tuesday

If you've been unsuccessful getting your hands on a pair of Google Glass, now's your chance.

How and why the 'Heartbleed' bug got its name

Over the last couple of days, the word "Heartbleed" has entered the popular lexicon thanks a gaping hole discovered in a commonly used piece of security software.

Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Gear Fit [Video]

The Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Gear Fit will make their U.S. debuts on Friday. 

The GS5 is the latest version of Samsung's flagship phone, while the Gear Fit is a brand new product aimed at consumers who are interested in tracking their fitness.

Join The Times' Michelle Maltais and me as we unbox the two new gadgets at 3:30 p.m. PDT. Post any questions you may have about the devices in our comments or tweet them to us.

LIVE DISCUSSION: Join us at 3:30 p.m. PDT as we unbox Samsung's new devices

The GS5 features a 5.1-inch full 1080p HD display, a 16-megapixel camera, runs Android 4.4 KitKat and uses a 2.5-gigahertz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor. The device also features a fingerprint scanner and a heart rate monitor.

The new Samsung smartphone will be available for $199.99 with a two-year contract from AT&T and Sprint. Verizon customers can get the device for $249.99 with a two-year contract -- they can then get $50 back by mailing in a rebate form. AT&T, Sprint and Verizon...


Protecting against Heartbleed: Live chat

Earlier this week, Tumblr sent out a note encouraging users to change the passwords for all of their online accounts immediately due to the discovery of a major bug known as "Heartbleed."

As Times tech reporter Salvador Rodriguez reported, the Heartbleed bug makes it possible for "hackers to retrieve code from websites and other online services that would give them access to other information, including user data and passwords. "

Heartbleed affects services that use the widely popular OpenSSL security library, which is used to secure websites using HTTPS encryption.

What does it really mean? How vulnerable are you? What can you do to protect yourself from Heartbleed? Join tech reporter Chris O'Brien and social media editor Stacey Leasca for a live chat on Heartbleed. Send us your questions on Twitter using the hashtag #AskLATimes. We will answer them live at noon PDT.


Yelp now letting users search with emoji icons

Websites scramble to squash 'Heartbleed' bug, reassure users


T-Mobile is offering customers iPads capable of connecting to LTE networks for the same price as Wi-Fi-only iPads -- essentially a $130 discount.

T-Mobile to sell LTE iPads at the same price as Wi-Fi-only models

T-Mobile announced that it will sell iPads capable of connecting to LTE networks at the same price as iPads that can only connect to Wi-Fi networks, essentially offering customers a $130 discount on the Apple tablets.

The Seattle-based carrier said the special prices would be available for a limited time starting Saturday. Customers can get the discounted iPads, as well as other tablets, for nothing down followed by 24 monthly payments that vary depending on the tablet chosen.

Under this promotion, for example, customers can get the LTE 16-gigabyte iPad mini with Retina display, which normally retails for $529, for a total of $398.88. T-Mobile is offering several other iPads as well as tablets from Samsung and Google.

VIDEO: Unboxing the Amazon Fire TV

Additionally, T-Mobile is offering tablet customers 1-gigabyte of data per month for free when they also sign up for a voice plan. This is in addition to a free 200 megabytes of data that T-Mobile offers all customers. The free gigabyte...

Soon, Facebook's mobile users will have to download a separate app to send messages to their friends.

Some upset with upcoming change to messages on Facebook mobile app

Facebook began notifying users of its mobile app Wednesday that it will soon disable the app's messaging feature.

The Menlo Park, Calif., tech giant is instructing users to download the Facebook Messenger app -- a distinct entity from its main app -- if they wish to continue messaging friends from their smartphones.

The Facebook Messenger app has been available for a number of years, and users who have both apps installed already can only message others through the separate app. But soon, all users will be forced to download the second app if they want to be able to message friends.

VIDEO: Unboxing the Amazon Fire TV

Facebook said its Messenger app is a faster and better experience than the messaging feature on its main app. The company also said that users get responses 20% quicker through the Messenger app than its main app.

The company said that separating the messaging feature from its main app will allow it to improve the performance of both by removing the need for two...

Drew Houston, chief executive of Dropbox, announces new apps and a new direction for the company at a news conference Wednesday.

Drew Houston on Dropbox: 'We are going after something really big'

SAN FRANCISCO -- Dropbox, fueled by an injection of new funding and a $10- billion valuation, is moving beyond online storage into a new wave of apps for email, photos and collaborative working.

The company unveiled the new apps at a news conference Wednesday.

The apps are designed to get more people to use Dropbox and then to remain more loyal to the service by creating a "home" for digital stuff on the Web. They include a new app called Carousel, which lets people privately and securely share photos and videos with friends. 

Houston called the new apps "great experiences that don't just store your stuff but bring it to life."

The San Francisco start-up is already one of the best funded and most highly valued of private companies in Silicon Valley. Now it's using that foundation to build a new "chapter," Houston said.

Houston's expanding ambitions come as Dropbox prepares for an initial public offering, probably next year. It also recently lined up a $500-million credit facility in...

Dropbox embarked on its "next chapter" by unveiling new apps at a splashy news conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Dropbox looks to extend lead in online storage with 'next chapter'

SAN FRANCISCO -- Dropbox is unveiling new ways for people to hold onto and share their digital stuff as it tries to build on the popularity of its online storage service.

With an initial public offering in the works, Chief Executive Drew Houston said his company is moving into its next chapter, which positions Dropbox as a “home” on the Internet to house documents, photos and videos across all devices and share them with friends, family and co-workers.

With rising competitive pressures from technology giants Google and Microsoft and from start-up rival Box, which recently filed to go public, Dropbox is looking to give people new reasons to use Dropbox.

The company hinted at its growing ambitions, saying a new photo app called Carousel and the expanded rollout of its Mailbox app were just the beginning of Dropbox launching a new wave of independent apps to help users save on time and frustration.

"We're moving from one app called Dropbox to this whole family of apps,"...

The "Heartbleed" bug was discovered in the OpenSSL encryption software.

Internet sites scramble to patch 'Heartbleed' bug, reassure users

As word spread this week about the dreaded "Heartbleed" bug, consumers and Websites struggled to understand the implications and sort through some of the more apocalyptic pronouncements being made about the problem. 

Consumers started to receive a trickle of notices from services they use online alerting them to potential issues and recommended steps, such as changing passwords. But given the scope of the issue, security experts projected that it could take years to sew up all the holes created by the Heartbleed bug.

"This is one of the worst security issues we've seen in the last decade and will remain within the top 5 for many years to come," said Adam Ely, founder and chief operating officer of Bluebox Security.

Added Jeff Forristal, Bluebox chief technical officer: "OpenSSL is extremely pervasive on all manners of devices, systems and servers. It is going to take the ecosystem significant time to get everything updated, and we will be looking at a long tail situation that could...

Android and Apple iOS users can now search on Yelp using emoji icons.

Yelp now letting users search with emoji icons

Why waste time typing to search for a restaurant when you can simply search using emoji icons?

A feature recently added to the Yelp mobile app allows users to search for local shops and restaurants by using emojis, cartoon icons that have grown in popularity in recent years.

Users can quickly find burger shops by searching with the burger icon, karaoke lounges with the microphone emoji, billiards bars with the 8-ball icon and much more.

VIDEO: Unboxing the Amazon Fire TV

Yelp said the feature was created by a couple of engineers during a recent hackathon, which tech companies often hold to innovate new features for their services.

"We enjoyed it so much we wanted to share the fun with Yelpers," a Yelp spokeswoman told The Times in an email.

The San Francisco company is the latest to jump on the emoji craze.

For April Fools' Day, Google's Chrome team made it possible for users to substitute words with emojisin articles written in English. Twitter also recently made it possible for...


Not sure if a site is safe from 'Heartbleed'? Use this tool to check

A bug named "Heartbleed" was recently discovered and likely affects most websites on the Internet. Fortunately, an online tool makes it easy for users to quickly check whether a website is secure or not.

Heartbleed is a bug that affects OpenSSL, a technology that is used by many Internet services to keep user data secure. Hackers can take advantage of the bug to steal a key code that can then be used to steal information, including user passwords.

A fix has been created for the bug, but many websites across the Internet have still not implemented it to their services.

VIDEO: Unboxing the Amazon Fire TV

Experts recommend users change the passwords for all their online accounts to protect themselves from the ramifications of the Heartbleed bug. But before changing their passwords for specific websites, users should first check that those sites have fixed the Heartbleed problem.

Users can easily check if a site is secure by going to this website:

There, type...

Technology experts at work at the London 2012 Olympics in London. Security experts recommend that users change the passwords for all their online services to protect themselves from the dangers of the Heartbleed bug. However, it is also recommend to wait a day or two before doing so.

How to protect yourself from the Heartbleed bug

A bug named Heartbleed, which has ramifications likely to affect every user on the Internet, was recently discovered by security researchers and announced this week.

Heartbleed is a vulnerability within the OpenSSL technology that is used by many websites and online services to encrypt and keep user data secure. The technology is estimated to be used in about two out of three servers on the public Internet.

The bug makes it possible for hackers to easily steal a service's encryption keys, which then allows them to steal other information, including user passwords and much more. In all likelihood, your favorite social network, your bank, your email provider or some other website you frequent uses OpenSSL -- if they don't all do.

PHOTOS: Top 5 tech acquisitions of 2014 so far

Fortunately, the bug was not disclosed until a fix was created for it, but now all these service providers need to adopt the fix before they can be secure from hackers.

So what can users do to keep themselves safe?

A recently discovered bug called "Heartbleed" in OpenSSL, a technology used by many online services, may have left user data across the Internet vulnerable to hackers.

Internet users advised to change passwords due to 'Heartbleed' bug

Following the discovery of a major bug known as "Heartbleed," Tumblr has sent out a note encouraging users to change the passwords for all of their online accounts immediately.

The Heartbleed bug makes it possible for hackers to retrieve code from websites and other online services that would give them access to other information, including user data and passwords. The bug affects services that use the widely popular OpenSSL security library.

OpenSSL is the technology that secures websites that use HTTPS encryption to keep data protected. Users might recognize this from the URL of many of the websites that they use on a regular basis.

"The little lock icon (HTTPS) we all trusted to keep our passwords, personal emails, and credit cards safe, was actually making all that private information accessible to anyone who knew about the exploit," Tumblr said in a blog post

PHOTOS: Top 5 tech acquisitions of 2014 so far

The Heartbleed bug affects only one version of OpenSSL, and a fix for the...