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DT Daily: Google eyes cell service, wireless phone charger, free iTunes downloads

Today on DT Daily: Is Google getting ready to launch their own cell phone network? Plus, a wireless phone charger in your pocket, and Apple rolls out some freebies.

Google seems to have a hand in just about every tech category these days, and while Android is a popular mobile phone OS, one thing Google hasn’t done yet is offer cell phone service.

That may be about to change this year. According to an article in Marketwatch, Google may debut a service provider named Vega this year. As you might expect, the service will not be business as usual. Google likely won’t undertake some giant next-gen cell tech buildout, they’ll just buy bandwidth from current providers – as in all of them. And when the cell signal fades out, your Google phone will simply jump to another service contractor – or even to some nearby wifi.

Those are all not actually new ideas, but certain twists Google may incorporate into their version of cell service could go a long way towards eliminating dropped calls and coverage holes.

The way we use cell phones – all the talking, texting, watching Netflix in bed, and so on – is a challenge for the phone’s built-in battery, which is why portable chargers are now a huge industry. But still, they’re kind of a pain to use.

So check out Ampere. Yes, it’s a portable charger, but with an important twist: it’s wireless. Just slip your phone into the sleeve – even the new big phones – and the juice begins to flow. So simple! Ampere also has a USB port for charging up a tablet or non-phone device, and if you lose it, the Ampere app will activate a signal so you can find it. Ampere has already hit their Kickstarter goal, but there are some early bird units still available for a $75 dollar pledge.

For a decade, Apple let iTunes users discover new music with a free track every month. Then, this year, the offer stopped. Now it’s back, and in a big way, with Apple’s “Free on iTunes” page. And instead of one song, now there are 16 to choose from. And along with music, there are also TV shows to load up on, including Fox’s Backstrom, the SyFy series 12 Monkees, and some other solid choices, although it’s usually just the first episode that’s free of course.

But hey, that’s better than nothing and 16 tunes instead of one? We’ll take it. Free on iTunes is still a bit hard to find – even on iTunes – so go here for a shortcut.

Your host today is Greg Nibler. Miss a day? Watch all the episodes of DT Daily right here. And be sure to catch our latest podcast.