Google Translate for Android updated in wake of Japan crisis

By on March 18, 2011 at 1:31 PM.

Google Translate for Android updated in wake of Japan crisis

In the wake of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan, Google has issued an experimental version of its Translate application for Android. “Download this experimental version of Google Translate for Android to translate text automatically between Japanese and over 50 other languages,” writes Google. “You can also use Conversation Mode for speech-to-speech translation between English, Spanish and Japanese.” The app, which is posted on Google’s “Japan Crisis Response” page, will run on Android version 2.0 or higher and is available here or by scanning the above QR code. More →

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Boost Mobile to waive fees for texts and calls to Japan

By on March 17, 2011 at 8:45 PM.

Boost Mobile to waive fees for texts and calls to Japan

In response to the tsunami and earthquake, Boost Mobile has announced that it’s joining other U.S. carriers in waiving fees for texts and calls to Japan. It will credit international fees for text messages and surcharges made for voice calls to Japan for a one-month period. Boost Mobile says its airtime rate of $0.10 per minute still applies for customers on its Pay As You Go Plan. Credits will be retroactive from March 11th and will be honored through April 11th, 2011. Hit the jump for the official statement. More →

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iPad 2 and iPhone 4 shortages expected in wake of Japan earthquake, tsunami

By on March 17, 2011 at 10:49 AM.

iPad 2 and iPhone 4 shortages expected in wake of Japan earthquake, tsunami

Two of Apple’s component suppliers, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co and Toshiba, have reportedly shut down some of their operations in Japan in the wake of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, this could result in shortages of Apple’s iPad 2 and iPhone 4 in March, through the rest of the first quarter, and into June. Toshiba manufactures 40% of the world’s flash memory, and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co is believed to be Apple’s go-to company for BT resin — which is used on circuit boards. Munster says Apple’s strategy to buy from multiple component suppliers could help soften the blow. “This strategy has proven to be an effective way for Apple to leverage its balance sheet and its position as one of the largest buyers of many of the components it uses; moreover, this strategy may prove particularly helpful if supply is limited and pricing increases,” wrote Munster. “Finally, we believe Apple buys futures on important components, which will help offset near-term pricing swings. Our conclusion is that Apple is well positioned to suffer proportionally less than its competitors.” Apple’s stock traded down sharply yesterday on the news of an analyst downgrade and potential supply shortages. More →

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Street Fighter and Sonic for iPhone on sale, all proceeds donated to Japan relief

By on March 16, 2011 at 12:00 AM.

Street Fighter and Sonic for iPhone on sale, all proceeds donated to Japan relief

iOS gamers: You can now do your part to donate to Red Cross for Tsunami relief efforts in Japan by downloading any Sonic the Hedgehog title and/or Street Fighter IV for iPhone or the iPod touch. Sega’s games include Sonic Spinball ($0.99), Sonic the Hedgehog ($1.99), Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ($2.99), and Sonic the Hedgehog 4th Episode 1 ($3.99) — 100% of the proceeds from any downloads through March 20th will be given to Red Cross’ Disaster Relief in Japan. Similarly, Capcom cut the price of Street Fighter IV to $0.99, and all of revenues from downloads through March 22 will be given to charity in Japan. We haven’t had a chance to play any of the Sonic titles, but we’ll be downloading a few today. Street Fighter IV takes us back to our Sega days, though, and it’s definitely worth a download. Hadouken! More →

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T-Mobile makes calling and text messaging Japan free

By on March 15, 2011 at 6:02 PM.

T-Mobile makes calling and text messaging Japan free

T-Mobile has become the latest U.S. wireless company to make calling, texting, and donating to the Japan relief effort free. The company has just announced that all voice calls and text messages from the U.S. to Japan will be free until March 31st; T-Mobile will also make this courtesy retroactive to March 11th. Additionally, the carrier is waiving any text messaging charges associated with donations made to various relief efforts — your messages won’t count against your text messaging plan quota either. All around a solid effort on T-Mobile’s end to help connect people with family and friends at this difficult time. The full press release is after the break. More →

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Apple to postpone iPad 2 release in Japan in wake of earthquake, tsunami

By on March 15, 2011 at 2:52 PM.

Apple to postpone iPad 2 release in Japan in wake of earthquake, tsunami

In the wake of last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, Apple, Inc. has announced that it will postpone the release of its iPad 2 tablet in Japan. The iPad 2 was scheduled to launch in twenty six international markets — including Japan — on the 25th of March; the company will go forward with its release in the other twenty five markets. “Our hearts go out to the people of Japan, including our employees and their families, who have been impacted by this terrible tragedy,” wrote an Apple spokesperson. The company has yet to communicate a new launch date for the product. More →

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MetroPCS offering free calls and text messages to Japan

By on March 15, 2011 at 5:29 AM.

MetroPCS offering free calls and text messages to Japan

Following on the heels of AT&T and Verizon Wireless today, MetroPCS has announced that its customers can send free text messages and place free phone calls to landlines in Japan. MetroPCS says the offer extends throughout the next 30 days, and that it will “support free calls to mobile numbers in Japan for a timeframe to be determined.” It’s unclear if that means calls to mobile numbers in Japan will be free for more than, or less than, 30 days. More →

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Sprint to provide free calling, text messaging to Japan

By on March 14, 2011 at 10:20 PM.

Sprint to provide free calling, text messaging to Japan

In an email correspondence with blog Phone Scoop earlier today, Sprint confirmed that it too would provide its customers with free calling and text messaging to Japanese phone lines. The news comes just hours after both AT&T and Verizon Wireless announced similar policies for both their wireless and wireline subscribers. Although the U.S.’s fourth largest carrier — T-Mobile — was the first to offer this courtesy when an earthquake struck Haiti back in January of 2010, the company has, up to this point, been silent. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have all committed to waiving fees assessed to users making a donation to the Japanese relief effort via text message. More →

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Verizon to provide free calls, texts from wireless and wireline phones to Japan

By on March 14, 2011 at 11:31 AM.

Verizon to provide free calls, texts from wireless and wireline phones to Japan

One of the nation’s largest telecommunications companies, Verizon Communications, has announced that it will be providing its customers free text messages, along free with wireless and wireline calls, from the United States to Japan. The company announce its intentions via a short tweet earlier today:

We’re about to announce free calls to Japan from wireless and residential landline phones. Free messaging to Japan too.

The move comes hours after AT&T announced that it was providing its customers with a similar courtesy. Verizon Wireless has provided instructions on how users can donate via text to the Japanese relief effort — both press releases are after the break. More →

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AT&T: Calls and texts to Japan free through March

By on March 14, 2011 at 8:06 AM.

AT&T: Calls and texts to Japan free through March

In response to last week’s tsunami, AT&T has announced that its wireless customers, in the United States and Puerto Rico, can call or text Japan for free through March 31st. AT&T has also said it will not charge its wireless postpaid customers for international long distance calls or texts to Japan that were placed after March 11th.  Similarly, AT&T wireline customers can seek credit for up to 60 minutes of direct calls placed to Japan during the March 11th to March 31st time period. Anyone who wishes to donate $10 to the Red Cross can do so by texting “redcross” to 90999. More →

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Google launches Person Finder for Japan following devastating earthquake

By on March 11, 2011 at 11:00 AM.

Google launches Person Finder for Japan following devastating earthquake

Following a devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake that struck 230 miles off the coast of Tokyo, Japan, Google has announced a free Web-based tool that will help people locate friends and loved ones. The massive earthquake — one of the largest ever recorded — struck overnight and was following by a series of intense aftershocks. Tsunamis measuring over 20-feet tall were triggered, and the power of the tremendous quakes will send massive waves all the way to the west coast of the U.S. and beyond. Google’s Person Finder tool is already home to over 7,000 records, intended to help those with friends and family in affected regions locate loved ones with whom they may have lost contact. Hundreds have already been confirmed dead in Japan and many more have been reported missing. Our thoughts are with those affected and we urge readers to provide any aid possible if they are in a position to do so. More →

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