TechBytes: Smart Phones as Credit Cards

In today's TechBytes, BlackBerry ban, Google faces competition, amazing apps.

Aug. 2, 2010— -- Your cell phone bill and credit card bill may soon be one and the same. AT&T and Verizon Wireless are said to be planning a venture to replace credit cards with smart phones, taking aim at Visa and MasterCard. Bloomberg News has reported that they will test the technology at stores in Atlanta and three other cities. It would work like Visa's contactless technology, allowing customers to pay by simply waving their phones.

BlackBerry Ban

The BlackBerry is facing a blackout in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The countries are planning to block e-mail, messaging and web-browsing on the devices, claiming they're a security threat. The devices have a highly encrypted data system that makes them more difficult for governments to monitor. The UAE's ban begins in October. Saudi Arabia's starts later this month.

Is Google Over?

Is Google over? That's the question Fortune magazine is asking in this week's cover story, wondering if the company will come up with another big idea.

Google is still the undisputed king of search. But online search is slowing and it's most successful new product -- the Android cell phone software -- doesn't generate much revenue.

Google is also facing stiff new competition, most notably from Facebook. "Google has just about everything that Facebook does, they just don't integrate it as elegantly as Facebook does," Fortune magazine's Seth Weintraub said. "That's the big question, can they nail it?"

The new issue of Fortune hits newsstands today.

Amazing Apps

And, finally, today's amazing app, Hipstamatic, turns your iPhone into a vintage point-and-shoot camera. Choose from different lenses, retro flashes, and various films. The app turns your pictures into '50s- and '60s-style snapshots. Download Hipstamatic for your iPhone for $1.99. Additional film and lens settings are $.99 each.

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