iFive: Twitter Kills QuickBar, Skype's Mac App Comp., Samsung's NFC Plans, Acer Wants to Be Apple, Google's Face Recognition

... just kidding ...

1. Last week Twitter, keen to access new revenues, added an extra banner to the top of its smartphone app--the "QuickBar" was ostensibly there to keep users abreast of the latest trends, but really was a way to give prominence to promoted paid tweets. Users hated it. There was a tiny digital revolution of sorts. And now, in a post titled "So a bar walks into an app..." Twitter has revealed it's updating its code to ditch the controversial trick, and will work on a better way to do the same thing.

2. Skype just refreshed its Skype for Mac app, and introduced an Apple-flouting UI that occupies too much screen real estate and has Mac Skypers clamoring in disgust. So Skype has taken an unusual step and launched a competition to get users to redesign the app--with prizes of free Skype calls to phones, iPads, and a MacBook. There're two problems, though: Due to odd competition laws, if you live in places like New York you can't enter. And the winner's not announced until the end of June. We're stuck with that terrible UI for months.

3. We think NFC is a coming big thing for smartphones, and so does Samsung: It's just partnered with Visa to bring NFC credit card payments to the 2012 Olympics in London (where NFC Underground and bus tickets are already popular). There's even going to be a special Samsung-branded Olympic phone, but you'll be able to use any NFC phone to pay for goods at over 60,000 locations in London.

4. Boardroom fun at Acer has seen CEO Gianfranco Lanci resign this week over a difference of opinion with the board. Lanci helped direct Acer to being king of the low-price netbook game, but the board of directors has revealed it thinks the company should've been more Apple-like--targeting the lucrative smartphone and tablet markets. Acer's profit margins are at stake, and the firm's just seen its worst stock price tumble in over a decade.

5. The Google facial recognition app story has taken another odd turn--after CNN released news, then Google denied it. CNN has now denied the denial, and says that the interview was pre-arranged, there was a Google PR person in the room as well as an engineer, there's an audio recording of the event that proves Google revealed its face-recognition plans, and no one objected at the time. In other words, a Google-powered face recognition app really is in the works.

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