Techmeme
April 14, 2014, 10:55 AM

Top News

Peter Bright / Ars Technica:
Windows Phone 8.1 review: a magnificent smartphone platform  —  It's a 0.1 update that feels like a 2.0 update.  —  For the growing number of Windows Phone users, Windows Phone 8 was a frustrating release.  The major difference between Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8 was invisible to end users …
Tom Warren / The Verge:
Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview now available to download  —  Windows Phone 8.1 now available to download  —  After 18 months since the last major Windows Phone update, Microsoft is finally releasing Windows Phone 8.1 to developers today.  The software maker detailed the update …
Jessica Dolcourt / CNET:
Cortana vs. Siri vs. Google Now: An early look at how Cortana stacks up (hands-on)  —  Can Windows Phone's new voice-activated assistant stand up to Siri and Google Now?  We put an early version to the test.  —  The iPhone has Siri.  Android has Google Now.  And Windows Phone now has Cortana.
Ina Fried / Re/code:
Early internal document reveals Android was initially designed without touchscreen support  —  Here's What Android Looked Like Before the iPhone  —  One of the more interesting documents that came to light during the Apple-Samsung document last week was an early internal Google document …
Kaylene Hong / The Next Web:
Facebook is reportedly prepping an e-money service, and is close to getting approval in Ireland  —  Facebook wants to be more than a social network — it is planning to facilitate financial services in the form of electronic money and remittances, the Financial Times reports (as spotted first by Benedict Evans).
Nick Wingfield / New York Times:
A profile of Benchmark venture capitalist Richard Barton  —  The Art of ‘Something From Nothing’  —  SEATTLE — Entrepreneurs are lucky to have one big score.  Richard Barton has had a string of them, by repeatedly asking the same simple question: What piece of marketplace information do people crave and don't have?
Natasha Lomas / TechCrunch:
As phone designs homogenize, some manufacturers experiment with unused rear space  —  Phones Go Back To The Future  —  I'm no fan of LG's rear smartphone control keys — but turns out the company had its finger on the pulse of looming hardware disruption when it ushered in those backside smartphone controls last summer, with the G2.
Richard Padilla / MacRumors:
Alpine Planning to Release Aftermarket CarPlay Console This Fall  —  Car electronics manufacturer Alpine will begin selling a standalone aftermarket console that will support Apple's CarPlay vehicle integration feature, reports Japanese business newspaper Nikkei.

Sponsor Posts

Microsoft:
Teachers use Bing home page lesson plans to encourage critical thinking skills  —  Find out how free lesson plans based on images like this Siberian tiger from Bing's home page encourage students to explore subjects in creative and thought-provoking ways.
Intel:
Disrupting the Data Center to Create the Digital Services Economy  —  I had the pleasure of joining Tom Krazit on stage at the Gigaom Structure'14 conference to share Intel's vision of the data center in support of the growth of the digital services economy.
VMware:
Top Five Reasons Why Your Organization Should Consider Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery  —  Few organizations can afford the downtime caused by a disaster.  Those capable of weathering such events usually have the datacenters …
Zoho:
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David Carr / New York Times: