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January 10, 2013

Technology News Briefs — Jan. 10, 2013

Rumors of Less Expensive iPhone Continue

Rumors continue to circulate that Apple is working on a less expensive iPhone in a bid to better compete with Samsung which offers a selection of both high- and low-end handsets.

Sources told the Wall Street Journal that Apple, which has been considering the production of a cheaper device for years, has finally begun work on “a less expensive version of its flagship device.” The new iPhone could launch later this year, a source told WSJ.

According to the report, the cheaper phone may look like the current iPhone, but would be made with less-expensive materials.

One possibility, the report said, is Apple using a different shell made of polycarbonate plastic — a large departure from the aluminum used for the iPhone 5.  A share of the other parts could be recycled from older iPhone models.

Samsung Smartphone sales are being forecast to grow 35 percent this year. This means shooting from the 215 million sold last year to 290 million. Apple sales are predicted to grow by 33 percent to 180 million.

T-Mobile Launches HD Voice

T-Mobile announced the availability of the Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plan for $70 a month and HD Voice at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada Jan. 9. Both are available now.

According to reports, the HD Voice helps to eliminate background noise and enhances the speaker’s voice.

There is a catch, however. Users need a compatible Smartphone — in fact, those on both ends of the call must have compatible devices to use HD Voice. So far, the feature works with the HTC One S, the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Nokia Astound and, perhaps, with some iPhones.

T-Mobile also announced the impending release of the LTE compatible Galaxy S III.

The carrier is expecting to launch the LTE network, one that will reach 100 million people, by mid-2013. It is expected to serve 200 million people by the end of 2013.

Secret of Twitter Success Revealed

What is the secret to getting tens of thousands of Twitter followers overnight?

Being beautiful, of course.

Katherine Webb, the girlfriend of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, went from relative obscurity on Twitter — she had only a few hundred followers — to having more than 200,000 followers in a few short days.

While watching her boyfriend and his team play against Notre Dame, last year’s Miss Alabama was picked up by ESPN’s television camera where she was sitting in the stands at Sun Life Stadium with McCarron’s mother.

She was only on television for a minute, but that brief appearance combined with the announcers extolling her beauty was enough to start the ball rolling.

She can be found at