Friday tech news roundup for February 21

whatsapp-logoFacebook buys WhatsApp for $19 BILLION
Yes, that’s billions. WhatsApp is a mobile messaging app—and apparently the most popular one for smartphones (and yet, I don’t have it!). It reportedly has 450 million users, adding a million more each day. According to CNN, “WhatsApp allows people to connect via their cellphone numbers. But instead of racking up texting fees, WhatsApp sends the actual messages over mobile broadband. That makes WhatsApp particularly cost effective for communicating with people overseas.” The speculation is that the acquisition will boost Facebook’s already strong position in messaging world and open up a new angle for making money. Currently, the app is free for the first year, and one dollar a year after that—and given that it may reach 1 billion people by the end of the year, it won’t take long for Facebook to make their money back. For more speculation on why this could be a bargain-priced acquisition, check out this piece.

Kickstarter hacked, some customer info leaked
This hit the interwebs last week, so if you didn’t know and are a Kickstarter supporter, be sure to change your password. Kickstarter says that payment information wasn’t leaked, but personal information like usernames, passwords (especially weak and obvious ones), mailing addresses, and phone numbers were breached.

But if you’d like to support a cool new Kickstarter project…
BringrrBringrr got some good press this week. Bringrr is a nifty-looking gadget that fits into your car’s cigarette lighter and, when you head out for work or to run errands, scans for items you might be missing by using Bluetooth. This means it’ll check to see if you’ve forgotten your smartphone, but if you buy BringTags—small Blutetooth-emitting tags you can put on items you don’t want to forget—Bringrr will check for those too. With the phone app you can also find any lost items via a speaker in the tags or utilize the Bringrr community to keep a virtual “lookout” for the item. As someone who has returned to the house more than once to get her son’s inhaler, I think I could get some good use out of this!

Candy Crush is going public
The super-sweet game was the top earning title on any mobile platform last year. According to TechCrunch, the game brings in 1.2 billion daily plays from 128 million daily users. Given the overwhelming success of the game, it’s not a big surprise that King, the developer, wants to expand. This week they filed paperwork for an IPO in the U.S. and are looking to raise $500 million.

Check out this Indigogo Bluetooth controller ring
Fin is a ring you wear on your finger and, thanks to a teeny tiny optical sensor, detects hand and finger movements. With it, you can send commands to devices connected to it with just a few swipes or taps of your fingers. Seriously, it looks pretty awesome. While they have met their funding goal, they are doing a bonus round to make it to their “stretch goal.” The reason? They want to make the ring available to the visually impaired at a discounted price. When you watch the video, you’ll see why:

Best of Toy Fair 2014
On Sunday, the American International Toy Fair opened in New York. Quickly after, followed the “best of” lists and, perhaps even more fun, the “craziest toys” lists. Here are two good ones for your reading enjoyment:

    • 1. Gizmodo’s

Best of Toy Fair 2014

    • list

 

    • 2. Mashable’s

15 Unforgettable Toys from the 2014 International Toy Fair

    (seriously, an anteater bug sucker? Cute, but a little odd..)

7 Gmail features you didn’t know existed
A friend posted this on Facebook this week and I thought it was pretty awesome. If you use Gmail, I highly recommend this fast read—I’m pretty positive it’ll be worth your time!

About Missy Kellor

Missy works on the Corporate Communications team and reports stories to TDS employees and customers. This is right up her alley because she’s an extrovert and also a big fan of research (really, she’ll look up just about anything that strikes her interest). Missy is a native of Madison, Wis. with an undergraduate in Anthropology and a master’s degree in Life Sciences Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interest in the Internet as a mass media shaped her work towards a PhD in Journalism and Mass Communications. She’s also worked as an editorial assistant, copywriter, and production artist. In her off hours, Missy is a crafter, Pinterest addict, reader, wife, and mom of two kids. You can find Missy on G+ and on Twitter.
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