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Anne Sinclair’s new book dives into family history

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Tinder’s paid subscription service could ruin everything that made the app great

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Tinder, the outrageously popular free dating app, is going through a huge change. It is in the middle of launching a paid subscription product called Tinder Plus, which is being tested in parts of Europe. 

Many Tinder users think the update ruins everything that made the original version great, namely because it will limit the number of swipes users have. 

Morgan Stanley isn’t optimistic about Tinder Plus either. An analyst note says “Tinder will not have much success monetizing” through its subscription strategy. It goes on to estimate that only 5% to 6% of users will pay for the premium version.

Tinder is popular in large part because it is so easy to use: You swipe right if you like someone and left if you don’t. Users have an unlimited number of swipes, so it feels as much like a mobile game as it does a dating app (important for those who are still hesitant about online dating). In fact, lots of users keep the app in the “Games” folder of their phones. 

And Tinder does not require the lengthy, time-intensive profiles of OkCupid or Match.com. All you can see about other users is a maximum of five photographs and a short bio.

Here is what you see on Tinder: a photo, name, age, shared friends, and interests. 

Other apps — some of which are not free — make dating seem like a chore. But Tinder is effortless. It is easy to pick up, swipe, and ignore. 

You can see in the chart below that Tinder dominates the US dating app market.

Tinder has not seen any serious dips in popularity since it emerged on the scene in January 2013. It only dropped out of the US App Store’s top-250 rankings once.

Here is a chart from App Annie that shows Tinder’s iOS App Store ranking. The blue line is the app’s overall ranking in the US App Store. 

The app has continued to grow, even after 2013’s sudden rise. Monthly active users have tripled in the past year.

 

But early signs indicate that Tinder Plus, which according to TechCrunch is being deployed to 40% of users in countries like the UK, Brazil, and Germany, will not be received in the same way as its predecessor.

Tinder Plus is an in-app subscription (not a separate app) that adds some interesting features to Tinder. Today’s users encounter only people who are nearby. With Tinder Plus, the dating radius will expand. You can connect to people in other cities using a feature called “Passport.” You can also undo any accidental swipes. These are actually cool features, and nobody is freaking out about them (yet).

This is what it looks like when you encounter someone using Passport to swipe people in other places:

The biggest complaint is over what will happen to the free version of the app. Once the paid subscription service officially rolls out, Tinder users will have limited swipes. It is unclear how many right swipes people will have each day, as the numbers are still being tested.

Fans of Tinder are already complaining about the update. Take a look at the long list of disappointed customer reviews on Tinder’s UK App Store page, days after the company began testing Tinder Plus on European users:

App Store reviews are not always an accurate indicator of an app’s popularity, as an angry user is far likelier to leave a rating than a satisfied one. But the App Store does show a dip in Tinder’s customer rating, now averaging at 1 1/2 stars compared with the rating of 3 1/2 stars that includes previous versions of the app without Tinder Plus.

Most of the angry App Store reviews talk about what Tinder has taken away instead of what it has added. The swipe limit seems to have really upset some hardcore Tinder fans.

Here, via TechCrunch, is what Tinder users are so angry about:

So why is Tinder deciding to transform the casual dating app into something resembling a premium dating app? What you might not know about Tinder is that it is not a small startup. In fact, it never has been.

Tinder originated as an experimental project from inside IAC, the giant company that owns some of the internet’s most popular websites. As well as Tinder, IAC owns the popular dating sites Match.com and OkCupid. IAC’s Tinder experiment has been a success — now it is time to make some money.

The Tinder Plus model works for sites like OkCupid: Pay extra for cool new features. But Tinder is not like IAC’s other dating sites. In fact, you could argue that it is not a dating site at all. Tinder’s casual, game-like nature has been a major part of its appeal. A subscription model makes Tinder more serious, more like its competitors. And if early App Store reviews are anything to go by, Tinder users are not taking kindly to Tinder Plus.

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2 charts that show the disastrous effect Uber has on taxis

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The rise of Uber is destroying the traditional taxi business, according to this compelling chart from data compiled by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. It tracks sale prices of taxi “medallions,” the expensive licenses that give companies the right to operate a yellow cab:

The data was compiled by Donut Shorts, a Twitter account for investors

Stocks that track the taxi business are down too (more on that below).

The scariest part — for taxi companies — is the bottom part of the medallion chart, where the blue bars indicate sales coming from foreclosures.

Medallions used to confer on companies a type of monopoly or cartel — you could not operate a taxi in New York without one. Now, however, Uber lets anyone drive a taxi for the entry-level price of merely owning your own car. For many drivers there is simply no point in owning a medallion or working for a medallion company. And so the transaction value of those medallions has dropped off a cliff, even though the economy in New York has gone through the roof.

We haven’t seen anything like this in the UK yet, but there are early worrying signs for traditional cab fleets.

Addison Lee, which has a massive fleet of private-hire drivers in London, recently cancelled its planned private equity sale. And then there came word that the company would cut about 90 jobs.

Uber’s arrival in London already caused protests from Hackney Cab drivers. When Uber launched in Birmingham, drivers there said they didn’t care. “We are not particularly bothered about Uber coming to Birmingham,” Mohammed Taj, a member of Birmingham’s Black Cab Drivers’ Association (BBCD), told the Daily Mail.

The stats from New York suggest cab companies ought to start being bothered a bit more.

Larry Meyers of PDL Capital, writing on Seeking Alpha, points out that the data is not perfect. The number of medallion transactions is minimal, and NYC has increased the number of available medallions. So there is no proof that the correlation of Uber’s arrival and the collapse of medallion prices are cause-and-effect. He is bullish on Medallion Financial Corp., the loan company that finances taxi companies ($TAXI) and you can read his case here.

Holders of TAXI better hope he’s right, because right now the stock appears to be suffering from Uber overhang:

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2 charts that show the disastrous effect Uber has on taxis

Here’s your first look at Samsung’s new phones: The Galaxy S 6 and Galaxy S 6 Edge

| March 1, 2015 | 0 Comments



Samsung is starting from scratch.

Over the last four years, its flagship Galaxy S phones have sported the best displays and most powerful chips in the industry, but all of that was wrapped in cheap-feeling plastic casings. Meanwhile, Apple, HTC, and Xiaomi have been pumping out gorgeous phones made out of premium materials.

That will change in April when Samsung launches the Galaxy S 6, its new flagship phone announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The Galaxy S 6 is made entirely of metal and glass and will come in two variations: The “regular” Galaxy S 6 and the Galaxy S 6 edge, which has a curved screen.

Samsung started designing the Galaxy S 6 from the ground up about a year ago under a program it called Project Zero. Whereas the last few Galaxy models were designed with the previous model in mind, the Galaxy S 6 is entirely new. Samsung even abandoned some of its earlier principles in order to highlight the design of the Galaxy S 6. It’s not waterproof. You can’t swap out the battery. And there’s no slot to insert extra memory.

Both models do all the same stuff, except the Galaxy S 6 edge has a few extras. It lets you swipe over from the curved portion of the screen to view a list of your favorite contacts and get alerts when you have a missed call or text from one of them. Other than that, Samsung says the curved screen doesn’t serve any function other than to look good. (It’ll also be more expensive, but Samsung hasn’t said how much either phone will cost yet.)

The Galaxy S 6 will come in a variety of shimmery colors — white, black, gold, blue, and dark green. Samsung used a special process to make the glass shift colors when viewed at different angles, and there’s an aluminum frame around the edge holding it all together.

Besides the physical design, Samsung has cleaned up its software too. The phone isn’t bogged down with a bunch of unnecessary features and extras. The new version of Samsung’s TouchWiz skin for Android is cleaner and easier to navigate. All the basic apps like email, calendar, and music have a new look. Plus, the phone will ship with some of Microsoft’s Android apps like OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype.

On the hardware site, Samsung improved the phone’s 16 MP camera with optical image stabilization and some software features like one that lets you track a moving subject and remain focused on it. The phone also includes a special plug that lets you charge it faster than normal, up to 50% in 25 minutes. Samsung also included wireless charging for the first time. It works with standard wireless chargers, or you can buy Samsung’s own charger, which looks kind of cool:

Samsung also improved the fingerprint sensor embedded in the home button. Last year’s model required you to swipe your finger across the button just right in order to unlock the device. The Galaxy S 6’s sensor is more like the Touch ID sensor on the iPhone, which means you can place your finger on the button in any orientation and it’ll register. In our tests, the Galaxy S 6 fingerprint sensor worked just as well as the one on the iPhone.

The new fingerprint sensor also enables Samsung’s new mobile payments platform Samsung Pay, which will launch this summer. Visa and MasterCard have already signed up as partners, and Samsung says its in discussions with credit cards and banks like Bank of America and American Express to bring them on board in time for launch.

Samsung Pay will have one key advantage over Apple Pay though. It’ll work with regular magnetic credit card readers, which in theory means it’ll be compatible with far more retailers’ payment terminals. Apple Pay only works if the retailer has a special NFC payment pad. (Samsung Pay will also support NFC.)

The magnetic card reader technology is powered by LoopPay, a startup Samsung bought a few weeks ago. However, Samsung Pay is only for making purchases in physical stores, you can’t use it to make purchases online or through shopping apps like you can with Apple Pay.

Now comes the hard part. Samsung has been struggling to compete at the high-end of the smartphone market as new companies emerged that make phones that are just as good, but cost half as much. So far, Samsung phones haven’t been able to differentiate themselves enough to justify their extra cost. The hope this time seems to be a premium design will do the trick.

The Galaxy S 6 and Galaxy S 6 edge go on sale this April on all the major carriers. Pricing will vary by carrier.

SEE ALSO: More coverage of Mobile World Congress 2015

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Here’s your first look at Samsung’s new phones: The Galaxy S 6 and Galaxy S 6 Edge

The most important features in Samsung’s sleek new Galaxy S 6 smartphones

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Samsung just announced its two new smartphones, the Galaxy S 6 and Galaxy S 6 edge, which will be available in April.

The company emphasized that it started from scratch when designing both phones, which means they look and feel quite different than the company’s previous Galaxy phones. 

The Galaxy S 6 edge (yes, the “edge” is lower-cased) is almost exactly like the S 6 inside and out — except for its curved design. The phone’s screen is curved on both sides, giving it a distinguished design. 

But it’s more than just an aesthetic change, Samsung has improved its software and added in a few other important, yet more subtle features.

SEE ALSO: More coverage of Mobile World Congress 2015

Let’s start with the design. The Galaxy S 6 comes in four colors: black, white, blue, and gold.

The Galaxy S 6 edge will be available in green instead of blue.

Samsung says it used a special color filament when creating the phones to make them shimmery.

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The most important features in Samsung’s sleek new Galaxy S 6 smartphones

How Samsung’s new Galaxy S 6 phones compare against the iPhone and their biggest Android rivals

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Samsung just announced its newest smartphones: the Galaxy S 6 and Galaxy S 6 edge. They’re both very different from the phones Samsung has released in the past — the company gave each device a completely new design and improved on a few key features rather than adding a bunch of new capabilities. 

Here’s exactly how the Galaxy S 6 and S 6 edge stand up to their biggest competitors in terms of hardware and features. We’ll have more precise comparisons after our full review.


SEE ALSO: More coverage of Mobile World Congress 2015

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How Samsung’s new Galaxy S 6 phones compare against the iPhone and their biggest Android rivals

The fingerprint sensor on Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 is just as good as the one on the iPhone

| March 1, 2015 | 0 Comments



Until now, the iPhone had a key advantage over other smartphones: Its fingerprint sensor called TouchID was better and more accurate than anything else on the market.

Samsung just matched Apple with the fingerprint sensor on its new flagship phone, the Galaxy S 6.

Just like TouchID, all you have to do is place your finger on the sensor embedded in the Galaxy S 6’s home button and the phone will unlock without needing a passcode. You can store up to four fingerprints on the device. 

I tested the fingerprint sensor on a Galaxy S 6 the other day and couldn’t trick it. It could even read my fingerprint no matter what position I put finger on the home button.

This is a big improvement over the fingerprint sensor Samsung used on last year’s Galaxy S 5. That device required you to swipe your finger over the home button just right to unlock the phone. I had a lot of trouble with it when I reviewed the phone, as did just about every other reviewer.

The Galaxy S 6’s fingerprint sensor will also be a key part of Samsung Pay, Samsung’s mobile payments platform that will launch this summer. Samsung Pay is very similar to Apple Pay, and you’ll need to confirm all payments with your fingerprint before it goes through.

Samsung told me that it didn’t develop the fingerprint sensor on its own, but licensed the technology from an unnamed supplier. Apple makes its own fingerprint sensors based on technology from Authentec, a company it bought in 2012 for over $300 million.

The Galaxy S 6 and the curved-screen Galaxy S 6 Edge will launch in April.

SEE ALSO: More coverage of Mobile World Congress 2015

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The fingerprint sensor on Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 is just as good as the one on the iPhone

Samsung just unveiled a new payments platform that could be bigger than Apple Pay

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Samsung just unveiled its new mobile payments system, Samsung Pay, which will work with both the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge.

Both phones will ship with the technology built-in, but the platform isn’t actually launching until this summer.

Samsung Pay has a big advantage over Apple Pay, however. Apple Pay requires specialized near-field communication (NFC) pads to work, while Samsung’s system will work with any terminal with a standard magnetic stripe credit card reader and NFC.

This means it will probably be a lot easier for retailers to support the platform quickly. 

The reason Samsung’s new phones are able to do this is because they have LoopPay’s technology built in (Samsung acquired LoopPay at the end of February.) LoopPay uses a tiny metal coil to generate a magnetic current to the credit card reader, unlike NFC, which requires to you tap a device against a specific compatible sensor.

This graphic from LoopPay shows how many retailers in the US are capable of accepting its transactions versus Apple Pay. 

Samsung hasn’t mentioned specific partners just yet, but Mastercard will support Samsung Pay when it launches.

Like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay will use tokens — which means transactions will use a one-time use token rather than your credit card number when you make payments.

This type of technology is usually bit tricky to implement into magnetic stripe readers, but MasterCard says it’s found a way to make it work for Samsung Pay. 

EMV is the technology that puts a tiny chip inside your credit card to protect your data. The United States doesn’t use this system yet, and it’s unclear when it will. Fox Business reports that many companies are having trouble updating their payment terminals.

Magnetic stripe credit card readers, on the other hand, only exchange information one way — when the card is swiped, the terminal reads the card and approves the transaction. This means that unlike EMV and token-based NFC transactions, each transaction isn’t unique.

But, MasterCard says its transactions going through Samsung Pay will create unique tokens whether you’re using an NFC terminal or a magnetic card reader. With EMV and NFC, there’s a two-way exchange of data between the terminal and the phone or credit card. This is what keeps each transaction unique to prevent information from being stolen.

“We had to do some stuff on the phone to create a dynamic approach to every transaction,” James Anderson, senior vice president of shared platforms and services at Mastercard, told Business Insider.

When Samsung Pay launches, the experience will be very similar to that of NFC, but instead of tapping your phone against the terminal, you just need to hover it over the credit card reader. 

While Samsung Pay sounds like it has promise, it may cause confusion for some Android users. Over the past several years, Google has been pushing it’s own mobile payments service called Google Wallet, which hasn’t really gained much traction since its launch. 

But Google just announced that it has acquired Softcard, a mobile payments company backed by AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. Until now, Google had a hard time getting Google Wallet loaded on Android phones by default just like all of its other services (Gmail, Google Maps, etc.) since carriers wanted to promote Softcard.

Now that Google doesn’t have that problem, however, there’s a chance Samsung phones will come with both Samsung Pay and Google Wallet, which may create some fragmentation. 

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Samsung just unveiled a new payments platform that could be bigger than Apple Pay

Why Samsung’s most gorgeous Galaxy phones yet will leave you with mixed feelings

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Samsung  just added not one, but two new devices to its flagship smartphone line – the Samsung Galaxy S 6 and the Galaxy S 6 Edge. This new line of phones represents a huge shift in design for Samsung, as the company has moved from plastic to full metal and glass bodies. Take a first look at Samsung’s beautiful new flagship phones.

Produced by Will Wei

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Why Samsung’s most gorgeous Galaxy phones yet will leave you with mixed feelings

Boris Nemtsov killing spurs thousands to march

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Boris Nemtsov killing spurs thousands to march

Will Smith movie ‘Focus’ tops the box office

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Will Smith movie ‘Focus’ tops the box office

Bruce Willis laments sudden end to action-thriller ‘Wake’

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Who may replace Kelly Osbourne on ‘Fashion Police?’

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Who may replace Kelly Osbourne on ‘Fashion Police?’

Zelda Williams makes emotional speech at Noble Awards about her dad Robin Williams

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6 Tricks for Staying Top of Mind With Your Network

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Interventional radiology treatment relieves chronic plantar fasciitis

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Genetics reveals where emperor penguins survived the last ice age

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Genetics reveals where emperor penguins survived the last ice age

‘Duck Dynasty’s’ Phil Robertson blames hippies for STDs in speech

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‘Duck Dynasty’s’ Phil Robertson blames hippies for STDs in speech

Windsor Castle security farce as tourist wanders alone into private areas

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Windsor Castle security farce as tourist wanders alone into private areas

Tom Hanks honored with American Spirit Award and talks WWII

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Tom Hanks honored with American Spirit Award and talks WWII

Who’s running Microsoft these days? Satya Nadella’s brain trust

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Who’s running Microsoft these days? Satya Nadella’s brain trust

We asked a bunch of fitness experts about the Apple Watch — here’s what they had to say (AAPL)

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We asked a bunch of fitness experts about the Apple Watch — here’s what they had to say (AAPL)

Leonardo DiCaprio renting out luxe pad for $25K a month

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Leonardo DiCaprio renting out luxe pad for $25K a month

William Shatner feels ‘awful’ about missing Leonard Nimoy’s funeral

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William Shatner feels ‘awful’ about missing Leonard Nimoy’s funeral

Astronaut gives a heart-warming send off to Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy

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Astronaut gives a heart-warming send off to Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy

Chile’s president visits teen who asked to die

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‘I am having a baby!': Model Lily Cole reveals she’s pregnant with her first child… after…

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She wore a billowing pink dress to the Elle Style Awards – and now we know why. Model Lily Cole has announced that she’s expecting her first child with boyfriend Kwame Ferreira.

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‘I am having a baby!': Model Lily Cole reveals she’s pregnant with her first child… after…