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Watches, Robots Suitcases: Mobile Gadget Highlights

Tech companies showcased countless connected gadgets at the world's biggest wireless telecom fair, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which wrapped up on Thursday. Here is a selection of highlights:

 

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Car Industry Welcomes Google, Apple but Battles Loom

It could be the battle of the titans. Auto giants at the Geneva Motor Show say they welcome the potential move of Silicon Valley players into their sector but experts warn of major disruptions.

Google has long made headlines with its plans for a self-driving car, but Apple is now also reportedly readying for a plunge into the industry to begin developing an electric car.

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Health Checks by Smartphone Raise Privacy Fears

Authorities and tech developers must stop sensitive health data entered into applications on mobile phones ending up in the wrong hands, experts warn.

As wireless telecom companies gathered in Barcelona this week at the Mobile World Congress, the sector's biggest trade fair, specialists in "e-health" said healthcare is fast shifting into the connected sphere.

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Being at the Big Game -- Without Actually Being There

Imagine sitting on Center Court at Wimbledon, ringside at a Las Vegas heavyweight boxing title fight, or amongst the VIPs at an NBA game -- all from the comfort of your own home.

Far-fetched? Maybe. But in a few years, sports fans more accustomed to watching sport on television may be able to don virtual-reality headsets that allow them to experience the action closer than ever before.

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Sony Plans to Launch Virtual-Reality Headset in 2016

Sony plans on putting its virtual-reality headset on the market next year.

The gaming and electronics company announced Tuesday at the Game Developers Conference that its VR system nicknamed Project Morpheus will debut in the first half of 2016.

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Italy Adopts Plans to Shift into Internet Fast Lane

Italy's government adopted a six-billion-euro plan Tuesday to modernize its Internet network and improve access to broadband in hopes of shedding its reputation as one of Europe's online laggards. 

The plan that the government's economic development minister labelled a "digital revolution" aims to boost broadband access by 2020 in compliance with European Union objectives.

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Newly Found Online Security Flaw Stems from 1990s

A newly discovered Internet security flaw could leave many websites vulnerable to hackers because of weak U.S. encryption standards in the 1990s, researchers said Tuesday.

The flaw dubbed "FREAK" could leave thousands of websites open to attacks if the problem is not patched, according to papers released by French and U.S. researchers.

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Build-Your-Own Google Handset Reconstructs Smartphone

With a smartphone that slots together piece by piece like Lego, US Internet giant Google is trying to reinvent the mobile as most phone makers are honing sleeker handsets.

The company aims to challenge its rival Apple's thin iPhones with the Google Ara project, giving smartphone aficionados the option to build their phone themselves.

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Dating App Tinder Premium Plan Aims at Under-30 Crowd

Smartphone dating app Tinder launched a premium paid subscription version on Monday, but drew criticism over a pricing system that charges older users more.

Tinder Plus, which has been tested since late last year, has subscription fees varying by age and country.

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Old-Economy Sectors are Now Tech, Too

Forget about old economy and new economy. Everything is now part of the tech economy, a prominent US research panel said Monday.

New technologies ranging from cloud computing to data analytics are transforming virtually all industries, including old-economy sectors like manufacturing, said the report by the National Academy of Engineering.

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