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Published: Sun, 26 Feb 2017 16:38:33 -0800

Last Build Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2017 16:38:33 -0800

 



Lenovo to integrate Amazon Alexa in Moto smartphones

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 15:00:14 -0800

Lenovo is working with Amazon to get the Alexa voice assistant into a range of Motorola smartphones, and in the process, looking to depose Google's voice assistant technology.

The partners will first focus on developing an Alexa "Mod," a block that will attach to a Moto Z modular handset. The companies will then integrate Alexa directly into a variety of Moto handsets and devices, Lenovo said during a press conference in Barcelona on Sunday.

The Moto Z is much like Google's Project Ara, where individual parts like speakers and projectors can be added to boost the functionality of the handset.

The exact details of the Alexa Mod for Moto Z weren't provided, but an onstage image showed a speaker that could hook up to the handset. It looked like a flatter and curved version of Amazon's Echo or Echo Dot.

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HMD's new Nokia 3310 turns back the clock -- and turns heads

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 14:52:48 -0800

This year’s Mobile World Congress is starting to look like an oldies tour.

It’s a time-honored tradition in pop music for acts long past their prime – some with only a few of their original members – to play a few of their greatest hits at state fairs and other cheery venues. As one star of a bygone era leaves the stage, the next takes over.

On Sunday, for the second time in two days here in Barcelona, a licensed manufacturer introduced a handset bearing a venerable phone brand that evoked that company’s glory days.

Following BlackBerry’s introduction of the KEYone, a smartphone from partner TCL with the familiar physical keyboard of BlackBerries past, Nokia licensee HMD Global launched a (slightly) modernized version of the Nokia 3310, a rugged, beloved feature phone first introduced in 2000.

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Cloud companies are eyeing cell services, Nokia CEO says

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 14:04:06 -0800

Enterprises and cloud companies will start trying their hands at cellular this year, Nokia President and CEO Rajeev Suri predicts.

“Enhanced reality” and events such as concerts may be where cloud giants first get into mobile services, Suri said at a Nokia event in Barcelona on the eve of Mobile World Congress.

“The first webscale players will enter the wireless access domain with mainstream technologies,” Suri said. Webscale usually refers to operators of big clouds, like Google, Facebook, and Alibaba. Suri didn’t name any names.

For enterprises, an emerging technique called network slicing will allow them to virtually run their own private services on mobile operator networks. Meanwhile, systems that bring LTE to unlicensed or shared frequencies, like LAA (Licensed Assisted Access), will also help open doors to private cellular networks. Nokia is already working with some energy utilities on these kinds of deployments, and at MWC it will join Qualcomm in demonstrating a private LTE network, Suri said.

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Samsung's disjointed OS strategy poses a hurdle for users

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 14:00:01 -0800

Samsung's Windows-based Galaxy Books, unveiled Sunday at Mobile World Congress, point to a critical weakness in the company's multiple-OS strategy.

The company uses Windows 10 in PCs, Android in smartphones, and Tizen across wearables and smart appliances. This has led to a lack of coherence among Samsung devices, in contrast to the near-seamless product integration that has fueled Apple's success as the world's most valued company.

The specific issues with the Galaxy Books are relatively small, but are nevertheless symptoms of the larger problem: walls among devices and an inconsistent user experience across the company's product line. The lack of a broad app ecosystem for Samsung devices has not helped.

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Nostalgia rules as classic phone brands come alive at MWC

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 12:59:04 -0800

Classic phone brands from yesteryear are coming alive in Barcelona.

Nokia, Blackberry and Moto were among the unlikely headline makers ahead of the Mobile World Congress trade show, which starts on Monday. Moto is owned by Lenovo, and the unit is still called Motorola Mobility.

The new smartphones mixed up retro ideas with new features. A new Nokia 3310 candy-bar phone is the modern version of its classic namesake, while the new Blackberry KEYOne handset has a hard keyboard, which made previous smartphones under the brand popular.

The Blackberry and Nokia brands have tremendous cachet, and fans will root for these brands to win again, said Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates.

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Akyumen's Hawk smartphone packs a projector

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 11:18:00 -0800

Over the past decade there have been several attempts to cram video projectors into smartphones. All ultimately failed, but a Silicon Valley startup reckons it has the recipe right and is hoping for a warm response from consumers when its phone debuts later this year.

The Akyumen Hawk is a 5.5-inch Android handset that packs a low-profile projector into the upper half of the phone. The 35-lumen projector has enough power to display an image over a distance of about a meter in a normally lit room and at up to 100 inches in a more dimly lit room.

Akyumen says the secret to its phone is a proprietary projector that stays cool even after hours of use. And indeed, during a demonstration in Barcelona on Sunday, the phone was only slightly warm despite the projector being used for at least 20 minutes.

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Samsung mulls iris scanners on smartphones to log into Windows PCs

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 10:05:02 -0800

Soon, your Samsung phone may be able to recognize your iris and log you into your Windows PC.

Iris-scanning via phone is not yet a feature available for Samsung's latest Galaxy Book 2-in-1s, which were announced at Mobile World Congress. But the company wants to quickly bridge the gap between its Galaxy smartphones, which run on Android, and its Windows PCs and 2-in-1s.

Software called Samsung Flow links the company's Android smartphones to Windows PCs. Samsung and Microsoft are looking to collaborate on logins via Windows Hello -- designed to use biometric authentication to log into PCs -- and one big Flow feature is the ability to use Galaxy smartphones to wirelessly log into the new Galaxy Book.

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Samsung's Galaxy Tab S3 is like a giant Note7

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 10:00:00 -0800

Samsung always arrives at Mobile World Congress with a new Galaxy device, and this year is no different. However, instead of the S8 smartphone, which won’t be arriving for at least a few more weeks, it’s brought a new tablet, the Galaxy Tab S3.

It’s been 18 months since the Tab S2 made its debut, so naturally there are a lot of changes. So many, in fact, it’ll be easier to talk about what hasn’t changed first. Put the S2 and the S3 side by side and it’s nearly impossible to tell them apart. Samsung has used a nearly identical design for its new tablet, with a black, bezel-heavy frame that houses a home button/fingerprint sensor on the bottom with a pair of capacitive keys alongside it. Also like the S2, the Tab S3 features a 9.7-inch Super AMOLED 2048x1536 screen, but that’s where the similarities end.

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Hands-on with Samsung's Galaxy Tab S3: A tablet that works as hard as it plays

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 10:00:00 -0800

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S has always felt like a me-too device, an Android tablet built more out of necessity than love. On the surface, it might seem like the Galaxy Tab S3 continues this trend, but this update to the 18-month-old Galaxy Tab S2 doesn’t merely bring Samsung’s flagship tablet up to speed.

Indeed, with a bundled keyboard and new and improved S Pen in tow, the Tab S3 is also a bid to fill the sizeable productivity hole left behind by the Note7.

And it just might work. While we’re all waiting to get our hands on the Galaxy S8— possibly the most anticipated Android phone of all time—Samsung has borrowed some of the best features from the Note 7 to create a tablet truly worthy of the Galaxy name. 

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Samsung unveils Galaxy Book, a Windows 10 tablet aimed at the Surface-curious

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 10:00:00 -0800

If Samsung can beat Microsoft’s pricing, then it may just have a wily competitor to the Surface Pro line. On Sunday, Samsung announced Galaxy Book, a 2-in-1 Windows 10 tablet that’s packed with productivity and entertainment features, and immediately evokes thoughts of the Surface Pro 4 the moment you see it attached to its Pogo keyboard.

Unlike the Surface, which boasts just a single screen size (a 12.3-inch, 2736x1824 display), the new Galaxy Book comes in 10.6- and 12-inch versions. The smaller Galaxy Book features a traditional TFT LCD display at 1920x1280, but the 12-inch model rocks a breathtaking, HDR-capable AMOLED display at 2160x1440.

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Huawei's P10 camera-phone comes in more colors than the rainbow

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 09:39:10 -0800

Huawei Technologies calls the P10 a smartphone, but its CEO doesn't have much to say about its communication capabilities.

Richard Yu, CEO of the company's consumer business group, might instead have been talking about a new camera when he boasted of the device's Leica-style portraiture and, in fact, like its predecessor it was "co-engineered" with camera-maker Leica.

The device runs Android 7.0 on a Huawei Kirin 960 processor with four 2.4GHz ARM Cortex A73 cores and four 1.8GHz ARM Cortex A53 cores and has 4GB of RAM and 32, 64 or 128GB of flash depending on the model.

It has a 5.1-inch Full-HD screen and a 3,200 mAh battery with USB-C charging. It measures 145.3 millimeters by 69.3 mm by 6.98 mm, and weighs about 145 grams.

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Nokia now has three budget Android phones, but everyone will want the 3310 nostalgia model

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 09:39:00 -0800

Years have passed since its last hit phone, but the Nokia name still commands respect. As one of the pioneers of the modern mobile handset, Nokia is something of an elder statesman in today's market, revered but long thought to be too old and out-of-touch with new trends. But parent company HMD Global is convinced that there's still something left in Nokia's tank, and its new slate of Android phones unveiled at MWC looks to prove that.

The headline-grabber is the retooled 3310, a modernized version of the rugged candy bar handset that was made obsolete by the iPhone. While it's not an Android phone, it will definitely appeal to smartphone users as a secondary phone free of distractions.

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Moto adds some premium flair to the budget G5 and G5 Plus

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 08:41:00 -0800

Ever since Lenovo took Motorola Mobility off Google's hands, it's shown a willingness to take risks, most notably with the surprisingly successful Moto Z and its family of magnetic mods. Its G series phones are on the other end of that spectrum: safe, affordable, and surprisingly capable.

The G5 and G5 Plus unveiled at Mobile World Congress continue that trend. Still aimed at the budget market, the new new metal-wrapped phone comes in two varieties, the G5 and G5 Plus, but the visual differences aren’t as stark as their names would have you believe. The base G5 features a 5-inch Full HD 1080 x 1920 LCD display, while the G5 Plus has a slightly bigger 5.2-inch one.

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Nokia will use its Withings health devices to send data to your doctor

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 07:30:00 -0800

When Nokia bought French fitness technology company Withings last year, it was unclear exactly what the former smartphone maker had in mind. Withings makes smart scales, activity-tracking watches, and other devices to monitor your wellness, and it continued to update those even after the sale. But now Nokia’s plan is clear: The company will relaunch every Withings product with the Nokia name, overhaul the corresponding Health Mate app, and launch a platform for doctors and patients to share data from Nokia’s health devices. It’s ambitious, to say the least.

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Huawei goes all out at MWC with new P10 phones, Android Wear watches

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 07:03:00 -0800

The annual battle of flagship phones that is Mobile World Congress may be missing its most formidable competitor, but a new contender has emerged. After keeping a relatively low profile at last year’s event, Huawei is taking advantage of the void left by Samsung to introduce the P10 family—two high-end handsets that look to cement Huawei’s standing as a major player in the smartphone game.

The two phones might have different names, but they’re equally sleek and powerful. Both include fingerprint sensors on the front—a curious decision in the age of shrinking bezels—and feature diamond-cut all-metal designs with 2.5D glass. A strip across the top on the back houses dual Leica-branded 12MP and 20MP rear cameras, and on the front you’ll find an 8MP front camera.

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HP’s Pro x2 convertible takes on the iPad with vertical accessories

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 06:00:00 -0800

HP’s Pro x2 convertible would normally be a bit too corporate for PCWorld, but we’re covering it for two reasons. Announced Sunday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, it’s among the first Surface clones to appear sporting a selection of 7th-generation Kaby Lake CPUs. It’s also taking on the iPad in areas where the popular tablet dominates. In retail, for instance, you can see iPads in Square payment terminals at checkout counters, and some airlines use them for check-in and documentation. It’ll be interesting to see whether the Pro x2 will be able to carve out some new territory.

(image) HP

The Pro x2’s retail accessory includes a stand so it can be used for checkout.

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HP’s Elite x3 Windows phone gets a job with Mobile Retail and Mobile Scanning Solutions

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 06:00:00 -0800

HP’s Elite x3 Windows phone is getting a job, with two similar scanning accessories designed to turn it into a workhorse for vertical industries—businesses such as retail and healthcare, which have specialized needs. Announced Sunday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, these accessories reinforce HP’s strategy since the Elite x3 launched a year ago: Put it into the hands of corporate employees, and the market share will follow. 

One of the accessories, pictured above, is the Mobile Retail Solution, a barcode scanner that looks like a special cover for the phone. It’s designed to be used in retail storerooms, shipping warehouses and the like, where the barcode helps track products as they move from shelf to truck or display case. Before you blanch at the $999 price, note that it comes with an Elite x3 phone, which accounts for $699 of the cost.

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Google will start adding Assistant to Nougat and Marshmallow phones this week

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 05:35:00 -0800

Assistant might be the future of voice-controlled intelligence on our Google devices, but Google hasn’t made it easy to get it. There are versions of it on Google Home, the new LG watches, and in Allo chats, but if you wanted the full mobile Assistant experience, you had to commit to buying one of the Pixel phones.

That’s all about to change with a coming Play Services update. Right on the heels of LG’s declaration that the G6 would be the first third-party phone to feature Assistant, Google announced that it would be bringing its voice-activated concierge to all phones running Nougat and Marshmallow.

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Before 5G, some mobile users may get almost-5G

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 05:01:00 -0800

The mobile industry is so anxious for 5G that it’s now planning something that’s almost 5G, but will be ready a year earlier.

On Sunday, many of the world’s biggest equipment vendors and mobile operators joined hands to accelerate the 5G NR (New Radio) specification that will define many elements of 5G. The new technology they plan to produce will handle some of the planned uses of 5G but will be ready for large-scale trials and deployments in 2019 instead of 2020, they say.

There’s a lot at stake with 5G for both carriers and the companies that supply their networks, who are all gathering this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The next generation of technology will give operators new services to sell, like multi-gigabit broadband and special offerings for the internet of things and connected cars, and it should help vendors emerge from a years-long sales drought following the rollout of LTE.

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Hands on with the LG G6: A nice phone, but not especially innovative

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 04:00:00 -0800

The LG G6 has a particularly tall and narrow display. 

That’s it. That’s “the thing.” That’s the marquee feature that is meant to grab your attention and make you think that this is your next gotta-have-it phone.

Oh, sure, the G6 has all the other things we expect from a high-end flagship in early 2017. It has a high-end processor, the Snapdragon 821, as waiting for the 835 would have meant shipping the phone months later. It’s also got USB-C with Quick Charge 3.0, waterproofing, and dual rear cameras. There’s even wireless changing support, if you happen to get a U.S. model.

But the tall 18:9 display, that’s the thing that really makes this phone different from every other phone available.

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LG officially unveils the G6, and it's everything we thought it would be

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 04:00:00 -0800

If you didn’t know that LG was releasing its G6 flagship smartphone at Mobile World Congress, you must have not had Internet service for most of 2017. LG itself has been releasing bits of information about its newest smartphone for weeks, and a steady stream of leaks and spy shots have conspired to elucidate pretty much every aspect of the phone thus far.

Well, now the G6 is finally here, and with an extra-tall display and Google Assistant built into the OS, it’s every bit the flagship it was promised to be. Even without any surprises—and even with a soon-to-be-outdated processor—the G6 is a beast that puts LG back on the Android map.

Why this matters: LG needs a hit. Last year’s modular G5 swung and missed big time with its series of attachments, and the V20 failed to capitalize on the Note7 recall. On paper, the G6 ticks off all the right boxes, bringing a sleek, modern design with a big battery, giant screen, and excellent camera. But it remains to be seen whether LG’s 18:9 aspect ratio display is enough to lure buyers, especially with the Galaxy S8 launch looming on the horizon.

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The new BlackBerry has a physical keyboard and will arrive in April

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 11:13:00 -0800

The new BlackBerry KEYone smartphone, unveiled Saturday, is the first smartphone to carry the brand that doesn’t come from BlackBerry.

It will go on sale globally in April, said Nicolas Zibell, CEO of TCL Communication, the phone’s manufacturer and licensee of the brand, at a launch event in Barcelona on the eve of Mobile World Congress.

Like the BlackBerries of old, the KEYone has a physical keyboard with raised keys. A neat twist is that it also acts as a touchpad of sorts, and each letter can be used as a shortcut, with a short or long keypress, for 52 shortcuts in all.

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For Honor review: Satisfying melee kneecapped by microtransactions and online woes

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 01:16:00 -0800

After two weeks circling opponents, sword held stiffly above my head, waiting for an opening, I think it’s time to slap an official score on For Honor. It’s not the score I wanted to give, and it’s not even a score I’m confident will apply long-term—Ubisoft has leaned heavily on games-as-a-service the past few years, with numerous instances of a stuttering launch experience turning around to an unabashed success. Looking at you, Rainbow Six Siege.

Maybe For Honor will find itself added to that list someday. It has the potential—there’s an excellent core concept here. But oh, there’s also so much reason to be disappointed. Worst of all? There’s no reason for it. Reverse a few key choices and this all could have been averted.

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71% off Cambridge SoundWorks OontZ Angle 3 PLUS Wireless Bluetooth Speaker - Deal Alert

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:24:00 -0800

Designed and Engineered by Cambridge SoundWorks to deliver richer fuller bass; the PLUS delivers surprising bass from such a small speaker, excellent bass performance across each type of music genre.  The PLUS battery technology and power saving design allows this speaker to play up to 30 hours from a full charge with volume set up to 2/3 of maximum playing volume.  IPX5 water resistance makes the unit splashproof, rainproof, dustproof, and sandproof.  Check out the dramatically discounted OontZ Angle 3 PLUS from Cambridge Soundworks now on Amazon.

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Google shuts Spaces, the content-sharing app you probably never heard of

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:15:00 -0800

Last year Google announced a new app called Spaces with a simple goal: simplify the way we share things with people online. Sort of like a virtual room where you could connect with people to engage in specific topic of conversation, the experimental service was one of many in Google’s catalogue that failed to gain many users.

To the surprise of no one, Google has now announced it will be shuttering Spaces. In a post on Google+, product manager John Kilcine broke the news, saying that while Google has “learned a lot about how people come together to share ideas and content around any topic,” Spaces will be moving into read-only mode in the coming weeks before shutting down its iOS and Android apps completely on April 17.

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Uber rejects claims it stole Waymo's self-driving car tech

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:04:33 -0800

Uber is dismissing allegations that it stole trade secrets from self-driving car rival Waymo, calling them “a baseless attempt to slow down a competitor.”

“We look forward to vigorously defending against them in court,” the company said in an email on Friday.

The day before, Waymo, a spin-off from Google’s self-driving car initiative, filed a lawsuit against Uber, claiming that the company had stolen designs for a key technology that makes computer-led driving possible.

According to the lawsuit, Uber allegedly built a LiDAR system for its own self-driving car that lifts confidential designs from Waymo’s own technology. LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, can essentially help an autonomous car map its surroundings.

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Microsoft Store has slashed the Asus ZenBook Flip's price by $200

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 12:30:00 -0800

If all you need is a portable laptop that’ll easily handle streaming video, browsing the web, and chatting on Skype, you’re in luck. Right now, the Microsoft Store is offering the 256GB version of the Asus ZenBook Flip for just $500.

This price matches the lowest we’ve seen for this 13.3-inch 2-in-1 convertible, and currently undercuts third-party sellers on Newegg and Amazon (who offer this same model for $575) as well as Asus’ own store ($600).In addition to the $200 savings, you get the Microsoft Store Signature Edition of the Flip: meaning very little, if any, preinstalled bloatware. 

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This week in games: Play Prey as a toilet paper roll, install Doom on a Porsche, and more

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 12:00:00 -0800

We already wrote about it earlier this week but here’s a reminder: The Ghost Recon Wildlands demo marketing stunt open beta runs this weekend, so if you’re bored on Saturday and want to give the game a spin before plunking down $60, now’s your chance.

What else happened this week? Overwatch teased a new hero, Battlefield 1 teased a new...something, Prey showed off its toilet paper physics, Humble decided to sell a billion hours of Civilization for $15, and someone installed Doom on a Porsche 911. Sort-of.

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Google discloses unpatched IE vulnerability after Patch Tuesday delay

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 10:44:56 -0800

Google's Project Zero team has disclosed a potential arbitrary code execution vulnerability in Internet Explorer because Microsoft has not acted within Google's 90-day disclosure deadline.

This is the second flaw in Microsoft products made public by Google Project Zero since the Redmond giant decided to skip this month's Patch Tuesday and postpone its previously planned security fixes until March.

Microsoft blamed the unprecedented decision to push back scheduled security updates by a month on a "last minute issue" that could have had an impact on customers, but the company hasn't clarified the nature of the problem.

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FCC puts the brakes on ISP privacy rules it just passed in October

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 10:43:00 -0800

The new chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission will seek a stay on privacy rules for broadband providers that the agency just passed in October.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will ask for either a full commission vote on the stay before parts of the rules take effect next Thursday or he will instruct FCC staff to delay part of the rules pending a commission vote, a spokesman said Friday.

The rules, passed when the FCC had a Democratic majority, require broadband providers to receive opt-in customer permission to share sensitive personal information, including web-browsing history, geolocation, and financial details, with third parties. Without the stay, the opt-in requirements were scheduled to take effect next week.

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