It took just under 2 weeks for Mark Zuckerberg to fall well off the 40 richest billionaires list.
The company's shares fell to $28.18 today, down from the $38 IPO price from May 18th, easily the biggest failure for an IPO of this nature in the last decade.
Zuckerbeg, for his part, has been losing about $16 million per hour of his fortune, which now stands at $14.4 billion. Of course, Zuckerberg still remains extremely, extremely rich, and has zero complaints, but his fortune has declined in the last week by a figure that is equal to the annual GDP of more than 20 countries on earth.
Facebook, as a company, started with a value of $104 billion but has since been torpedoed to its current $61 billion valuation which many believe is a lot more reasonable for the social networking giant.
Google and Samsung have announced the launch of the first desktop 'Chromebox' this week.
The Chromebox will cost just $329 and comes in a small case, familiar to past owners of Mac Minis.
Powered by Google's cloud-based ChromeOS operating system, the mini-desktop has an 1.9GHz dual-core Intel Celeron B840 (Sandy Bridge) CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 16GB SSD and WiFi a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0.
With just an 8-inch footprint, the device packs a decent amount of ports including 6 USB ports, a 3.5mm combination headphone / mic jack, DVI output, gigabitEthernet and two DisplayPort connectors.
Perhaps most notably, the device will run on ChromeOS 19, the latest version of the OS which makes it a lot more usable and Windows-like. Instead of being browser-only like in the past, the new OS update will look more like the traditional Windows systems in terms of app and window management. Finally, boot time is a remarkable 5 seconds.
Amazon's European streaming video service LoveFilm has proudly announced an exclusive multi-year licensing agreement with NBCUniversal.
Known as the "Netflix of Europe," LoveFilm has been quietly expanding its streaming library with exclusive deals, including those with Disney, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., Entertainment One and StudioCanal.
The titles available to LoveFilm users due to the new Universal deal include hits like Kick-Ass, American Reunion, Despicable Me, Safe House, Senna and the brand new Battleship.
Furthermore, the unreleased Bourne Legacy and Snow White and The Huntsman will be available, making the selection top notch.
"LoveFilm is proud to offer its members access to the highest-quality content across multiple platforms from another of the world's most respected studios," added Jim Buckle, managing director of LoveFilm. "NBCUniversal is also LoveFilm's latest exclusive streaming deal in our quest to deliver the widest choice of content on as many platforms as possible."
Last year, a historical flood in Thailand left 13 million people homeless and a significant amount of factories with over 3 feet of water.
Many of those factories were used to produce hard drives and the flood led to high demand and small supply, an unfortunate situation for consumers. In April, the research firm IDC said that although supply is coming back quickly, the HDD makers are in no rush to drop the prices back to pre-flood times. They were right.
Full supply has returned to the market, but prices have yet to come back to earth. In fact, higher prices have now become the "new normal."
Before the flood, the average 2TB HDD was selling for anywhere between $70 and $90 from top manufacturers like Seagate and Western Digital. When the flood first hit, those prices were jacked up to over $250 in most cases, before falling back to $150-170. As of today, the average price is hovering around $120, a 40-70 percent increase from pre-flood times.
For their 'troubles,' both Western Digital and Seagate are bringing in record profits and their stock prices are exploding. Seagate, for one, has seen its stock shares grow 182 percent since the flood and its profit margins grow to over 25 percent, its highest in a decade.
Last week we reported on Facebook hiring former Apple engineers in an effort to begin creating their own smartphone.
Today, Paul Amsellem, a marketing 'expert' for the Mobile Network Group, has said he predicts Facebook will buy Nokia in the next year on route to creating the 'FacePhone.'
The phone itself will hit the market within 18 months, and will run on Windows Phone 8.
Says Amsellem: "Facebook will launch the FacePhone. And whether it has a blue color and a logo with a big F on it, it will definitely be disruptive. Even at this moment, Facebook doesn't know what it will look like, but they need to do it."
Here is where Amsellem's predictions gets a bit rougher, however. The expert says Facebook will eventually acquire Nokia for $10 billion, or if that falls through, they can acquire RIM (maker of the BlackBerry) for $6 billion. Nokia currently has a value above $10 billion and would almost certainly need to sell at a premium. RIM has a value below $6 billion and is continuing to collapse, so a $6 billion buyout could make sense, if the company could get over its Canadian pride.
Amazon has announced today the launch of its Instant Video service on the Xbox 360.
With the release of the new app, Xbox Live Gold subscribers that also have Amazon Prime subscriptions will have access to all of Amazon's 17,000 movies and TV episodes.
Amazon Prime costs $79 per year and gives active Amazon buyers free 2-day shipping on most items and discounted $3.99 shipping on overnight or even same-day.
New to the Xbox is "Watchlist," which allows you to "manage your queue and purchased content into a playlist from your computer."
Additionally, you can use Kinect to navigate the app with voice and motion gestures or use the remote if you do not have a Kinect. You won't be able to purchase content through the app, just yet, but you can use WhisperSync, meaning you can start an episode/movie on your computer/Kindle Fire/etc and finish it on the 360 right from where you left off.
Over the weekend, a German console site called PlayNation revealed pictures of the alleged PS4 spec sheet along with some additional data on the console, which is set for release at the end of next year.
We did not run the story originally, as most of these stories end up being complete hoaxes, but we have decided to post the specs and data here today to see what our readers think.
The site posted documents allegedly leaked directly from Sony on the PS4, which is codenamed "Orbis." The console will have strong integration with the Vita handheld, and will also introduce a new service dubbed "Iris."
Here's the spec sheet:
CPU Cell Broadband Engine X @ 3.2GHz 16PPE's 128 SPE's
GPU Custom Nvidia/SCEI "quantum Leap" @2GHz
Memory 10GB XDR2 + 10GB GDDR6
Storage Capacity 250GB/320GB Model depending
OS Sony Aether Video Resolution 2160p 2D 1080p 3D
Media Formats PS4 Game Disc PS3 Game Disc PS2 Game Disc PS1 Game Disc HD Blu Ray Disc DVD CD Controller Input Dualshock 4 Dualshock 3 PS Iris PS Vita PS Omni PS Certified Xperia Sony Tablet PS Move PS Eye Sixaxis Connectivity USB 3.0 HDMI 1.4 Bluetooth 4.0 WiFi b/g/n DLNA Ethernet PS Vita Memory Cards SD/MMC/etc
Although Nintendo has suggested they are looking to change the Wii U name to avoid confusion amongst buyers, they are running out of time to do so.
The console will be officially unveiled at the E3 event next month, and for now Nintendo has been done little to imply a new name is coming.
Over the weekend, Nintendo added the Wii U logo to its official press site and gave the console its own official Facebook page, as well. Of course, these can be changed in the near future but that begs the question of why Nintendo would add them in the first place with E3 so soon.
Before the Wii launched, the console was known as the 'Revolution,' but Nintendo switched the name six months before release. The Wii U is set for a November release.
Nintendo has had a rough year following the release of the 3DS handheld, which many believe had too similar a name to their previous generation handhelds to differentiate, along with much too high of a price tag.
The latest report out of China has implied that Foxconn's Shenzhen plant has now received orders to build trial run sets of the oft-rumored HDTV.
Of course the report comes from anonymous sources; however, there has been evidence for months that Apple is working on such a device.
The alleged device will be powered by a Siri-esque search system, and has the potential to be the first TV to allow a la carte channel selections for those who do not want to pay for a full cable or satellite subscription that includes hundreds of channels they may never watch.
Apple has never confirmed such a product, much like they do not confirm upcoming iOS devices until launch day.
According to a new report by The New York Times, Facebook is frantically expanding it efforts to create their first branded smartphone, and hopes to have one available in 2013.
Codenamed 'Buffy,' the project has been adding group members, including seven former Apple software and hardware engineers. The engineers worked on the iPhone and one worked on the iPad during their time with the company.
Apparently, CEO Mark Zuckerberg "is worried that if he doesn't create a mobile phone in the near future that Facebook will simply become an app on other mobile platforms."
Facebook is partnering with HTC to create the device, which will have its own exclusive platform. The OS itself will be based on Google's Android, says the report.
With the recent acquisition of Instagram and the creation of Facebook Camera, the company already has the basics for an Android-based Facebook ecosystem. Additionally, the company is purported to be looking into purchasing Opera Software, the maker of the popular Opera browsers, to create its own browser.
Struggling smartphone maker RIM is said to be planning a restructuring that will cause 2000 employees to be laid off.
The company has only 16,500 employees around the globe so the layoffs will be significant, says the report from Globe and Mail.
If accurate, the layoffs "will sweep across departments, ranging from senior positions in RIM's legal division to human resources, finance, sales, and marketing" and hit before June 1st.
RIM reported horrible earnings in the first quarter, including an 80 percent drop in BlackBerry device shipments. Rival operating systems like Android and iOS have seen extremely strong year-over-year growth, adding to RIM's woes. Perhaps worst of all, RIM's upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices are expected to be completely outdated compared to its rivals, even with over a year of preparation.
Over the past 6 months, the company has seen its former co-CEO Jim Balsillie resign, its CTO David Yach leave and COO of Global Operations Jim Rowan resign, as well.
Bharti Airtel, the top mobile carrier in India, says it added 2.01 million new mobile subscribers in April, strong growth for the company and the nation.
Airtel has 183.3 million total subscribers.
Reliance Communications, the second largest carrier, does not disclose its figures through Industry body Cellular Operators Association of India. Vodafone, number three in the nation, added 820,000 new subscribers to bring its total to 151.3 million.
In fourth, Idea Cellular added 1.49 million mobile customers during the month and fifth-placed Telenor India jumped 1.12 million to 43.6 million.
For comparison's sake, the largest carrier in the U.S., Verizon Wireless, has 110 million subscribers. And second place carrier AT&T has 104 million.
Ericsson, the world's largest mobile network equipment maker, has been fined by the U.S. Department of Commerce for violating export restrictions by shipping equipment to Cuba.
The company's Panamanian subsidiary was fined $1.75 million for the violation and the two groups reached an agreement earlier this week.
According to sources, Ericsson had been operating a "scheme" in which broken equipment was shipped from Cuba to the U.S. for repair after employees masked the origin of the shipment. The equipment was then sent back to Cuba from the U.S., after similar masking including falsification of documents.
Ericsson de Panama voluntarily disclosed the violations after uncovering the shipments which were set up by three former employees. The employees were fired.
In total, the penalty covered 262 violations of federal regulations from the years of 2004-2007, for $320,000 worth of equipment.
Despite its previous deal falling apart, it appears that Dell will complete their anticipated purchase of Quest, a security software maker.
Dell will offer $23-$26 per share for the software company, similar to the previous deal that fell apart thanks to Dell's awful quarterly earnings.
Back in March, Quest received a $23 per share offer from Insight Venture Partners. Quest did not accept the offer, however, saying during its shopping period it received multiple offers: "The alternative proposals are reasonably expected to lead to a superior proposal."
Dell has been actively purchasing software companies over the past year, making five high and low profile acquisitions including SonicWall and Wyse.
The company is also said to be in talks to purchase BMC Software with its $17.2 billion cash hoard.
The Chronic Dev Team has released the latest version of their untethered jailbreak for iOS devices running 5.1.1.
Says the blog post: "After copious amounts of work and many sleepless nights, Absinthe 2.0 is finally here to jailbreak your device."
As with past updates, Absinthe 2.0 was a "large collaborative effort between Chronic Dev Team and the iPhone Dev Team." Together, the groups call themselves the "Jailbreak Dream Team."
By jailbreaking your device, you gain access to the Cydia app store, (for apps that may not have been allowed into the official store) as well as access to ability to customize the operating system and "sideload" apps that have not been purchased through the store. Although jailbreaking is perfectly legal, Apple warns it will void your warranty with them, unfortunately.
IBM has understandably blocked the voice-activated digital assistant from its work networks.
As 'Big Blue' confirms, Siri has been blocked due to the fact that Siri sends everything you ever say to her to an Apple data center. IBM CIO Jeanette Horan says: 'The company worries that the spoken queries might be stored somewhere.'
While some might call IBM paranoid, Horan has reason to worry, thanks to this passage in Apple's Software License Agreement: 'When you use Siri or Dictation, the things you say will be recorded and sent to Apple in order to convert what you say into text.'
Additionally, Siri collects other info, like your contact's names and other 'unspecified user data,' in order to help the assistant give you better responses.
It is unclear how long Apple stores the data, but you have to agree to the user agreement before you can use it.
Cisco has decided to pull the plug on its failed Cius tablet.
The Cius, which was released in 2010 and aimed at enterprise customers, had a focus on business video conferencing and specifically boasted about its compatibility with other Cisco apps like WebEx, Jabber, and Quad.
There was little marketing for the device on the consumer side, and it is clear now that it did not resonate well with business users, either.
If you were in the market for a Cius, Cisco says it will still sell your company one "in limited fashion to customers with specific needs or use cases."
Continuing to focus on enterprise, Cisco says they will work to bring their most popular apps to other tablet platforms like Android, iOS and most likely Windows 8.
Thanks to a contract negotiation dispute between Amazon and the Independent Publishers Group, the giant e-tailer pulled 5000 titles from the Kindle Store back in February.
As of today, however, the books have returned after the two parties reached an agreement.
Earlier in the year, when it came time for the contract to be renegotiated, IPG's president Mark Suchomel said Amazon proposed new terms that were "substantially changed" from the previous terms, meaning lower revenue for the authors. Suchomel is said to have offered terms comparable to other publishers in the marketplace, but Amazon did not agree and pulled the electronic books whilst keeping the physical titles available for sale.
There was no word on the intricacies of the new deal, but clearly they must be more favorable to everyone involved then in past negotiations.
The dispute is not the first Amazon has had with publishers in recent years, as many used to accuse Amazon of having a monopoly on the market. Apple and the major publishers were recently sued by the DOJ for allegedly colluding to break Amazon's "stranglehold" on the market.
Apple has announced the start of a "Free App of the Week" promotion, finally.
Starting with 'Cut the Rope: Experiments,' the company will offer a new free app each week.
In the past, the company offered some discounted or free apps through their Facebook page but never a prominent promotion in the actual store.
Furthermore, Apple has added new "Editor's Choice" picks in the App Store, removing the old "Staff Favorites" section. As expected, the U.S. version of the store has Facebook Camera as its top Editor's Choice.
Apple has opened the Editor's Choice section to the Mac App Store, as well.
According to a new Pocket-Lint report, Facebook is looking into purchasing Opera Software, the company behind the Opera browser.
By purchasing Opera, the company would then create its own "Facebook Browser" that will come with built-in plug-ins and features that will help you more easily keep up with the latest updates in your social life.
Of course, Facebook would be taking on some major heavyweights in Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and Apple. The company will likely prove to be little competition to the leaders, however, despite its 900 million users.
Opera is used by many millions around the world, and its mobile browser is free and popular, as well. By acquiring the company, Facebook would save the hassles of building a fully functionally browser from scratch.
The browser company claims to have 200 million worldwide users.
Felix Roque, the mayor of West New York in New Jersey, has been arrested after hacking a site that was calling for a recall on his election.
Roque allegedly had his son Joseph hack the site and then threaten the creator. Both have been arrested.
Started in February, the recallroque.com site was created by other Hudson County government officials.
Joseph Roque conducted Google searches for "hacking a Go Daddy site," "recallroque log-in," and "html hacking tutorial" and was finally able to gain control of the account. On February 8th, the wanna-be hacker cancelled the domain name and killed off the site.
The very next day, Mayor Rogue called the owner of the site, claimed that he knew the man was responsible for the site and also said he had "a friend in high level of government who had shut the Recall Website down." The Mayor then threatened that "everyone would pay for getting involved against him."
Roque and his son have now been charged with counts of "unauthorized access to computers in furtherance of causing damage to protected computers; causing damage to protected computers; and conspiracy to commit those crimes."
More rumors and info are abound in regards to Google's still unconfirmed new Nexus tablet.
According to CNBC, the tablet has been passed around the Google headquarters for some time and will come out over the summer.
The device is said to be aimed at killing the Amazon Kindle Fire, which runs a custom version of Android and has a fully different ecosystem than Google's. Amazon has its own browser, its own app store, its own cloud storage, its own music store, its own ebook store and its own streaming movie store.
If accurate, the source says the tablet will cost between $200 to $250 and include a much-higher resolution screen and a front-side camera for video chat.
Rumor has it the device will be unveiled at the Google I/O conference on June 25th for July mass release.
Thanks to a new partnership between charity Teach First and search giant Google, English teachers specializing in computer science will receive free "teaching aids, such as Raspberry Pi's or Arduino starter kits".
Google's chairman Eric Schmidt said thanks to the investment, the UK will no longer risk "losing a generation of scientists."
Schmidt has openly criticized the UK's move away from teaching how to create software and moving more on how to use it.
Says the chariman: "Put simply, technology breakthroughs can't happen without the scientists and engineers to make them. The challenge that society faces is to equip enough people, with the right skills and mindset, and to get them to work on the most important problems."
Teach First takes "exceptional" grad student teachers and puts them in a six-week training program "before deploying them to schools where they teach classes over a two-year period," says the BBC.
Google has revealed the interesting data this week.
The search giant has to remove more than 1 million links to infringing content each month, including links to movies, music, software and video games from its search results.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft sent the most requests during the month, sending a full 543,378.
As part of the DMCA, the company must remove links if they have been reported by copyright holders. Google admits it complies with over 97 percent of requests, which must be submitted via an online form and is then approved by a Google algorithm or a dedicated team.
For those other 2-3 percent, the requests are rejected "because the form is incomplete, the web page doesn't exist or we look at it and say we don't think it is infringing."
Outside of Microsoft, the BPI and NBC sent the next most requests, totaling about 300,000. The sites with the most links removed were filestube.com, torrents.eu and 4shared.com.
In total, Google 1.24 million requests from 1,296 copyright owners.
Facebook has unveiled their latest application for iOS today, called 'Facebook Camera.'
The app will make it easier for Facebook users to take pictures, edit them, and share them on the social networking site.
Says Dirk Stoop, a Facebook product manager for photos: "We can basically show you more photos on the app, so we can make a more immersive experience around your photos. On the side of publishing these photos, Facebook Camera lets you upload much higher resolution photos at up to 2,048 by 2,048 pixels wide."
As most active users know, the default for current pictures is much lower, usually in the 800x800 range.
Building on its acquisition of Instagram, the company has also added photo filters to Facebook. There will be 15 filters and also include cropping and straightening tools within the app.
Facebook recently acquired Instagram for $1 billion. The photo sharing app has 40 million users on Android and iOS.
Cnet is reporting today that the FBI is in the process of creating a new unit that will be able to spy on your conversations that take place using wireless communications, like Skype.
The new unit will be called the "Domestic Communications Assistance Center."
Reads the source: "DCAC's mandate is broad, covering everything from trying to intercept and decode Skype conversations to building custom wiretap hardware or analyzing the gigabytes of data that a wireless provider or social network might turn over in response to a court order. It's also designed to serve as a kind of surveillance help desk for state, local, and other federal police."
Talks for the new unit have been around for over four years, and will be "the technological component of the bureau's 'Going Dark' Internet wiretapping push, which was allocated $54 million by a Senate committee last month."
President Barack Obama has mandated today that all major federal government agency sites must become optimized for mobile devices within a year.
By "optimized," the President means at least two key services must be available on mobile phones and tablets.
Additionally, the agencies must create websites to report "on their mobile progress." These sites must be published within 90 days.
Reads the White House press release:
Innovators in the private sector and the Federal Government have used these technological advances to fundamentally change how they serve their customers. However, it is time for the Federal Government to do more. For far too long, the American people have been forced to navigate a labyrinth of information across
different Government programs in order to find the services they need. In addition, at a time when Americans increasingly pay bills and buy tickets on mobile devices, Government services often are not optimized for smartphones or tablets, assuming the services are even available online.
Bill no. S06779 will look to block anonymous speech online.
Lawmakers in the state want to cut down on "mean-spirited and baseless political attacks" and also "turn the spotlight on cyberbullies by forcing them to reveal their identity."
The bill itself is described by lawmakers as "an act to amend the civil rights law, in relation to protecting a person's right to know who is behind an anonymous internet posting."
If the legislation were to ever be passed, an admin/owner of any website hosted in New York can, by request, remove comments "posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agreed to attach his or her name to the post and confirm that his or her IP address, legal name and home address are accurate." Furthermore, all website admins must have valid contact information "clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted."
There will be, of course, potential First Amendment issues with the bill, says Kevin Bankston, a staff attorney with the Center for Democracy and Technology. The lawyer says "this statute would essentially destroy the ability to speak anonymously online on sites in New York and provide a heckler's veto to anybody who disagrees with or doesn't like what an anonymous poster said."
It announced that it will sell back all 7 percent of the stake in Sharp Display Products Corp, walking away from the joint venture after breaking even on its investment.
Sony is moving away from investing in the production of LCD panels, and opting instead to buy them from suppliers. It's TV division is responsible for enormous losses, as Sony has had serious woes in the market for flat-planel televisions the past several years.
Now with a new CEO in charge, Kazuo Hirai, Sony is seeking to stem losses and turn its fortunes around. In the TV business, it will buy its panels from other manufacturers and focus on its own technology to differentiate it from others in the market.
It also recently ended a flat-panel venture with South Korean consumer electronics giant, Samsung.
The Competition Commissioner had found last August that Sky enjoyed a monopoly on running movies first in the UK for years. It had estimated the cost to the public of this monopoly at £60m-£70 million per year. It has not backed off on that stance, however.
The entry of Netflix and Amazon's LoveFilm into the market has provided Sky with adequate competition in the space. Also, the viewing habits of people in the UK are starting to change, making which service shows movies first on PPV irrelevant.
"Competition between providers of movie services on pay TV has changed materially and, as a result of these changes, consumers now have much greater choice," said Laura Carstensen, who led the Commission's investigation.
"LoveFilm and Netflix offer services which are attractive to many consumers and they appear sufficiently well-resourced to be in a position to improve the range and quality of their content further."
Sky had been investigated by UK communications regulator Ofcom for three years, before it passed the case on to the Competition Commissioner.
Samsung chief executive Choi Gee-sung and Apple CEO Tim Cook were to met this week after being ordered to do so by the Northern District Court of California. The Judge had hoped that mediation efforts between both parties could bring about a speedy resolution to the case, which both companies say they want.
However, the Korea Times is reporting that no compromise was reached between the two executives. The case is heading for trial in July, a prospect that neither tech firm really wants to face.
Apple has accused Samsung of slavishly cloning its iPad and iPhone products with the Samsung line of Galaxy tablets and smartphones. Samsung denies the allegations and accuses Apple of infringing on patents related to wireless technology.
The two have slugged it out in court in the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia over the conflict.
Choi Gee-sung had reportedly suggested that cross-licensing agreement might be the best way for both to resolve the dispute and avoid a costly and risky trial.
Flash will work on some sides in Metro-style browser.
Internet Explorer 10 will have Flash already integrated in Windows 8. It can be used on any website in the browser when running as a Desktop application, but will be limited to a number of trusted sites when it is used with the Metro-style browser.
The websites that will be approved for use of Flash include YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and the other usual suspects that rely heavily on Flash technology. Attempting to use Flash on another site will require the browser to run in Desktop mode.
Microsoft has originally said that the Metro-style browser will be plugin free, anticipating a major shift toward HTML5 in the next few years and away from proprietary plug-ins. Adobe, however, was reportedly very keen on Flash working to some degree in the Metro browser.
The Windows 8 release preview, which is expected early next Month, will include the integrated Flash support.
It had added knock-off copies of games such as Angry Birds to the Android Market. While they were eventually rooted out and removed from the service, they had already been downloaded by many people, who then discovered that they were being charged £5 a pop for premium SMS messages.
PhonepayPlus, an industry watchdog, said that these kinds of scams are a growing threat.
In addition to the £50,000 fine, the Latvian company must also refund another £28,000 to mobile users. "It is hectic,"Nitin Lachani, researcher at PhonepayPlus, said to the BBC. "These guys are coming up with more and more sophisticated malware."
"There is a wider issue here. There is malware out there which can gain total access to your phone. A cyber criminal could then deliver apps to your phone which could tap into your phone calls, your messages. You've got to be think that phones are like computers and there is a massive link to your phone bill or potentially your credit card."
Generally speaking, the biggest threat to Android users is installing applications from untrusted sources, but in this case, the malicious apps had actually gotten to the Android Market. They were removed along with others back in November.
LG vows to develop "the most advanced commercial OLED TV."
The company showed off the world's largest and slimmest 55-inch OLED TV in Monaco, in front of an audience of 400 dealers, journalists and special guest F1 champion Sebastian Vettel. Officials promised that the company would develop the most advanced commercial OLED TV in the market
They also said LG would be the first company to bring these TVs to European consumers in the second half of 2012.
"In the history of television, there have been very few innovations as impactful as the coming of OLED TV," said Havis Kwon, President and CEO of LG's Home Entertainment Company.
"We say THE ULTIMATE DISPLAY because LG OLED TV is truly above all expectations and beyond everyone's imagination with uncompromising picture quality and beautiful design. This year, we plan to make OLED synonymous with LG."
LG's OLED TVs are based on its WRGB technology, a 4-colour pixel technology that relies on a white sub-pixel to perfect the colour output. A Colour Refiner enhances the image, resulting in pictures that are the most vibrant, natural and comfortable to the human eye.
The screen also delivers a perfect viewing experience without distortion or loss of contrast regardless of ambient brightness or viewing angle.
Telstra has revealed that as many as 35,000 users of its GameArena and Games Shop services have had their passwords reset, after the sites were hacked. The websites in question were operated by a third party company.
Telstra has stressed that no financial details of any of its customers were affected. Additionally, users' broadband passwords had not been affected either.
"Information that might have been obtained was limited to BigPond Games usernames, the email address used to join the site and the encrypted GameArena and Games Shop passwords of up to 35,000 customers," a statement from Telstra said.
DNSChanger is malware that infected millions of computers around the world. As its name suggests, it changed the DNS settings on a users' computer to use malicious DNS servers instead of what they'd normally use. It also could change the DNS settings of a router or wireless access point if it was using the default user and password as a login to the web interface.
There have been several websites setup to detect if DNSChanger has modified either the DNS settings of a computer or a router, and now Google has decided to participate.
If you search Google and it detects that your DNS settings have possibly been modified by DNSChanger, it will show the following warning:
Investors angry about information disclosed before the IPO.
A writ filed in a Manhattan court alleges that Facebook and the banks that lead its recent floatation did not inform all investors of its revised growth figures.
Morgan Stanley has already been brought up by U.S. financial regulators, who say the firm may have questions to answer about the highly-publicized Facebook IPO. The bank however, said that it fully complied with all the rules.
The lawsuit alleges that the banks and Facebook concealed a "a severe and pronounced reduction" in growth forecast during the flotation marketing process.
The floatation did not get off to the right start on Friday, when it was affected by technical glitches on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Since then, the value of Facebook shares dropped from the $38 float price.
It is also being reported that the Senate banking committee may take a look at the issues surrounding the Facebook IPO.
Sony and Samsung have both started blocking retailers from offering discounts on their HDTVs.
The move is said to protect the "manufacturers' margins and the retailers' profits by preventing "showrooming," where customers check out models in person before buying them for less online."
The so-called "showrooming" has become common place nowadays, as most retailers cannot match the price of their online counterparts, many of whom do not have the overhead costs of actual brick-and-mortar stores.
Apple has used similar tactics in the past, very successfully, but it is unclear if Sony and Samsung will fare the same. In the TV world, Samsung is undoubtedly the king, but will people pay for a Sony set with a higher price tag than other similar sets from rivals like LG or Panasonic? Probably not.
In the last month, alone, Sony has raised the price of their high-end sets by $1000, and Samsung is expected to make a similar move soon. Samsung also says it will begin charging a premium for its laptops.
It has launched a "Never Before on DVD" store accessible from Amazon.com's "Movies and TV" homepage, where fans can easily browse and locate more than 2,000 titles available on DVD for the first time via Amazon's CreateSpace DVD on Demand service.
The service literally makes DVDs and packaging after you have ordered them. Among its 2,000 titles initially offered are movies from the vaults of Disney, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
The Never Before on DVD store also features more current content from other studios and networks including CBS Networks, Lionsgate Home Entertainment, MTV Networks, Nickelodeon and Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
"The Never Before on DVD store is a great place for fans to discover thousands of films and television series they've been waiting for on DVD," said Brad Beale, director of digital video content acquisition for Amazon.
"In addition to being available on DVD, many titles are available digitally to enjoy right away through Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video. We will continue working to bring our customers even more great video content on DVD as well as digitally."
Take-Two's financial figures appear to anticipate major launch.
The publishers' figures show that it anticipates between $1.75-$1.85 billion for the year ending March 31, 2013. According to analysts, this figure hints heavily that Rockstar's anticipated next instalment of the Grand Theft Auto series will launch sometime before then.
Wedbush Securities' Michael Pachter had already said that the delay of the upcoming BioShock title hinted that GTA V will launch, and now he agrees with other analysts that Take-Two's revenue projections make the case even stronger.
Pachter believes that the guidance is "unattainable" without a major Rockstar title. He believes the developer will provide $1.1 billion to Take-Two's bottom line, with $300 million coming from Max Payne 3 and its DLC, and a further $150 million from Rockstar's existing catalog. That leaves a void of $650 million, which Pachter believes could easily be accounted for by GTA V.
There were also reports that Microsoft's Xbox Support Twitter feed had accidentally revealed that GTA V will launch in 2012, but that it removed the tweet later on. Adding to fuel to the speculation, the support team later Tweeted, "There is no official release date for [GTAV], and we are not aware of what date it comes out."
EFF, Public Knowledge get Aereo's back in dispute with TV networks.
Aereo is a New York-based service that allows a customer to literally rent a tiny remote TV antenna which will be used to deliver broadcast television to them wherever they are connected to the Internet. Predictably, major U.S. broadcasters are crying foul and have dragged the start-up to court.
Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Knowledge filed an amicus brief in federal court urging it to block a preliminary injunction that could prevent Aereo Inc. from establishing a customer base in New York City, saying that shutting the service sends a dangerous message to other start-ups.
"The threat of lengthy litigation would discourage any business from working to add value to the television viewing experience, leaving the market in the hands of a few established players," said EFF Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz.
"Remember, these are the same folks who tried to keep VCRs off the market years ago, and more recently fought viciously against remote DVRs, which allow cable subscribers access to content they've already bought but is stored elsewhere. This is yet another attempt by TV networks to profit from, control, or stop new technology they didn't think of first."
It took part in a debate in Hertfordshire over whether ISPs should do what mobile networks do with Internet porn; filter it automatically and require that a subscriber opt in to view porn (and prove their age). The UK government is currently consulting with ISPs about the proposal.
TalkTalk, a UK ISP, already offers a porn filter on its network, but subscribers have to opt in to switch it on. The filter is being marketed mostly toward parents, who would rather a network-level blockade of pornographic content to an application they install locally. Symantec maintains the list of "inappropriate" websites for TalkTalk.
"We believe that children shouldn't be seeing pornography online. We disagree on the mechanisms. It's not that easy,"Sarah Hunter, Google's head of public policy, said. "There is a problem about the extent to which we deskill parents by giving them simple solutions. We should be making more effort than we've done in the past to make sure parents really do know the risks children face online."
Even TalkTalk is opposed to the concept of an automatic filter on all subscribers. According to Andrew Heaney, TalkTalk's executive director of strategy and regulation, such an automatic filter would be a "slippery slope."
Next generation 4G mobile services are expected to roll out in the UK over the next year. The head of Freeview in the UK has warned that millions of homes are likely to experience interference with their TV reception as a result, since the spectrum used for 4G will sit right next to that of Freeview.
"They are butted up against each other. As 4G services are launched next year there will be interference," said Ilse Howling, head of Freeview. Over 24 million households in the UK watch Freeview television, with half using Freeview as their sole TV platform.
Homes within 2km of a 4G base station are likely to experience reception issues, and will require filters or may even need to switch to cable or satellite. The cost of tackling the issue will largely be paid by mobile operators who take over the spectrum vacated by analog TV.
Howling thinks that the estimates of the cost are far too low, and called the on the government to make more funds available. "It has set aside £180m - but we think it will actually cost £400m,"she said. "It isn't fair. These people have bought into Freeview in good faith and are suddenly being asked to pay out around £100. For many Freeview viewers it is their only way of watching TV and we want to make sure their interests are looked after."
The California jury found that Google had not violated patents held by Oracle in elements of its Android mobile operating system. The same jury had previously found that Google was guilty of copyright infringement for parts of Java, but could not unanimously agree whether Google had a fair use rights to the material they used.
Google had denied all of Oracle's allegations, and questioned whether Oracle could even copyright certain parts of Java, an open source language.
Wednesday's verdict has put an indefinite hold on Oracle's pursuit of damages in the case. U.S. District Judge William Alsup is still to decide on several legal issues which will determine whether a potential retrial on copyright could unfold.
Jury foreman Greg Thompson told reporters that while the Jury had previously failed to reach a unanimous agreement on the fair use question, the Jury was heavily leaning toward Google, with a final vote 9-3 in favor of the search giant.
It is rejecting U.S. government charges that it colluded with several publishers to thwart Amazon.com's influence in the emerging e-book market, and to raise the prices of content.
Apple defended itself in a filing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday. It argues that its entry into the market was good for competition, and that the actions of the Justice Department are fundamentally flawed and pose a danger to the market.
"Apple's entry into e-book distribution is classic procompetitive conduct," the court filing read. "For Apple to be subject to hindsight legal attack for a business strategy well-recognized as perfectly proper sends the wrong message to the market. The government's complaint against Apple is fundamentally flawed as a matter of fact and law."
Amazon has been selling e-books for some time now, priced around $9.99. The Justice Department has quoted the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as saying he wanted to give publishers the ability to boost prices and "create a real mainstream e-books market at $12.99 and $14.99."
The service benefited from growth in listeners since the start of the year. It reported on Wednesday that total revenue for the first quarter was $80.8 million, ahead of analysts anticipated revenue of $74.3 million.
It raised its full-year revenue outlook to $420-$427 million, up from $410-$420 million. "It was a good quarter and a very good start to the year," said BMO Capital Markets analyst Edward Williams.
The service is yet to turn a profit, and is in an increasingly competitive business.
"We are making excellent progress on all fronts - consumer adoption continues at an extraordinary pace," Pandora Chief Executive Joe Kennedy told Reuters.
Pandora is supported mainly by advertising, competing with traditional radio services such a ClearChannel, satellite radio provider Sirius XM and also with Internet streaming services like Spotify. It recommends different songs based on a users' playlists.
Microsoft getting calls over infinite update loop.
The problem seems to be with updates KB2633880, KB2518864 and KB2572073 on Windows XP. Some users report that the three updates download and install successfully, but then Windows Update insists on downloading them again repeatedly.
An ITC judge has ruled this week that Microsoft Xbox 360 should be banned from import into the U.S. due to violations of Motorola patents.
The console violates four patents, says Law Judge David Shaw. Shaw made his original ruling in April and has now recommended a full injunction on sales and import into the States Shaw made his initial ruling against Microsoft in April, and now recommends a ban on sales and import of the game console.
Gamers should not fret, however, as Shaw's ruling needs approval from the ITC board of commissioners, with a deadline of August 23rd. After that, if the board approves, then they will still need to get a signature from the President before the ban goes into effect.
Blizzard Activision has proudly boasted today that Diablo 3 is the fastest selling PC game of all-time.
The game sold 3.5 million copies in just 24 hours, not including the 1.2 million people who were given the game after signing up for a World of Warcraft annual pass earlier this year.
Overall, there are now 6.3 million people playing the popular game.
"We're definitely thrilled that so many people around the world were excited to pick up their copy of Diablo 3 and jump in the moment it went live," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "We also regret that our preparations were not enough to ensure everyone had a seamless experience when they did so. I want to reaffirm our commitment to make sure the millions of Diablo 3 players out there have a great experience with the game moving forward, and I also want to thank them for their ongoing support."
On the retail front, both GameStop and Amazon have both called the game one of the best video game launches in their histories.
APC runs a custom Android system, based on Android 2.3, and comes with a bunch of applications pre-installed. It puts a lot of emphasis on power consumption, consuming only 4 watts of power when idle, and 13.5 watts under maximum load.
It comes as a bare board, measuring just 170 x 85mm, conforming to the Neo-ITX form factor (compatible with Mini-ATX and Micro-ATX.)
VIA APC Anroid-PC Specifications...
Model: APC 8750
Software: Android 2.3 (PC System)
Chip: VIA 800MHz Processor
Memory: DDR3 512MB Memory / 2GB NAND Flash
Graphics: Built-in 2D/3D Graphic / Resolution up to 720p
Input and Output: HDMI / VGA / USB 2.0 (x4) / Audio out / Mic in / microSD Slot
Network: 10/100 Ethernet
Size: 170 x 85mm (W x H) / Neo-ITX Standard
The VIA APC will be available to pre-order soon from apc.io.
In January, Samsung unveiled its "Chromebox" device at CES.
Since then, however, there has been little in the way of news for the device, which is a mini-PC run by Chrome OS.
This week, a full product listing showed up on the TigerDirect website, before it was taken down. Although unconfirmed, it appears the PC will run on a 1.9 GHz Intel Celeron B840 dual core processor, have 4GB of DDR3 memory, a 16GB solid state disk, and 6 USB ports.
The MSRP (or at least Tiger's selling price) was put at $329.99.
Google's Chrome OS is a web-based cloud operating system, where you must be online to take advantage of any feature, including writing documents using Google Docs. The OS boots very quickly (13 seconds on average), and let's you re-open previous data quickly thanks to cloud sync.
Users in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy have been blocked from accessing the Pirate Bay, as widely reported. Now, the notorious BitTorrent site has launched a new site at 184.108.40.206, which may be reachable in those countries, for now.
The new site is also optimizes for use with proxies, which can help to get around a national or local block of a website. It is likely that the new IP address will be blocked in affected countries very quickly, but the proxy optimization might be useful for some users.
It is somewhat different than the normal Pirate Bay site, in that it only posts links to magnet files, it does not allow logins or comments, nor does it allow you to upload.
Foxconn has announced that it will spend over $200 million to build a new factory dedicated to AppleiOS devices.
The new factory will total 430,000 square feet and will employ up to 36,000 workers.
According to sources, the factory will output $1 billion of Apple products every year.
Construction begins in October, and is expected to be completed by earl 2013.
Last month, Apple and Foxconn announced they would share the initial costs of improving Chinese factories where millions of iOS devices are already built. In February, wages were raised, on average, 21 percent for its workers and last month the two companies reached an agreement to hire new workers and cut overtime for existing workers.
After a slow start for its 3D gaming handheld, Nintendo has started to pick up some momentum with the 3DS. Much of the boost can be attributed to new game titles being released for the device.
It now reportedly has sold 6 million units in Japan, according to Famitsu. Japanese gamers appear to be embracing the 3DS after a slow start in Nintnedo's home market, while they appear cold to the PlayStation Vita so far.
Labour MP Chi Onwurah has attacked the coalition government's rural broadband plan, telling a the House of Lords communications select committee that the current system is skewed toward BT.
Virgin Media has backed the comments made by the shadow business minister. UK counties have been allocated a share of £530m of government cash for broadband schemes. The counties aim to match the government funding and contract firms to roll out high-speed Internet access in the areas.
Contracts have been awarded in Lancashire and Rutland so far, both to BT. In some areas, BT is the only firm bidding for contracts, with rivals Fujitsu and Cable & Wireless withdrawing from the process in many areas. Virgin Media says it is not in the best interest of consumers for a single entity to win all contracts, and criticized the BDUK, the group that oversees the government's broadband strategy.
Virgin Media chief operating officer Andrew Barron said that some of the funds should be used to fund Wi-Fi and 4G networks in rural areas, but BT has said the closed nature of Virgin's networks exclude it from the process.
"BT would be more than happy to compete directly with Virgin for BDUK funds but we doubt that will happen. That is because Virgin have steadfastly refused to provide open wholesale access to their network - a key BDUK requirement - and because they have shown no interest to date in supplying rural areas with broadband," a BT spokesman said in a statement.
Google announced on Tuesday that it has officially acquired Motorola Mobility after clearing regulatory hurdles around the world. The web search giant paid $40 per share in cash. Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business to the development of its Android platform, which will remain open, while Motorola Mobility will remain an Android licensee.
Dennis Woodside has been announced as the new chief executive of Motorola Mobility, with Sanjay Jha stepping down from the role. Jha will continue to work with Google to help ensure a smooth transition.
"I'm happy to announce the deal has closed. Motorola is a great American tech company, with a track record of over 80 years of innovation. It's a great time to be in the mobile business, and I'm confident that the team at Motorola will be creating the next generation of mobile devices that will improve lives for years to come," said Google CEO Larry Page.
Dennis Woodside, previously served as President of Google's Americas region, praised the history of Motorola.
"Motorola literally invented the entire mobile industry with the first-ever commercial cell phone in 1983. Thirty years later, mobile devices are at the center of the computing revolution. Our aim is simple: to focus Motorola Mobility's remarkable talent on fewer, bigger bets, and create wonderful devices that are used by people around the world."
Parents can now control their kids' phones remotely.
The new Bemilo SIM system allows parents to control mobile phone settings and read text messages and other data remotely, using a computer. The system is set to run on the Vodafone network in the UK.
The child will not have any ability to "turn it off," as they do with some parental control apps. Parents can set limits on a device, such as preventing a phone from being used at certain hours altogher (night time, school hours etc.), or by blocking just certain aspects of the phones features, such as web browsing, or sending / receiving text messages and so forth.
Parents can also block numbers from being called, or receiving a call from, and can read text messages and view multimedia stored on the device.
"It's a SIM that is just like any other SIM you would buy for any other network, but it enables parents to have full control in the context of safety,"Simon Goff, founder and chairman of Bemilo, told the BBC. "They can allow or disallow certain contacts to call them, and they can set the times of day the phone can operate."
The European Commission (EC), the European Union's main regulatory body, has been investigating allegations of anti-competitive behavior on Google's part related to its search service. Rivals in Europe, including Microsoft, complained to the European Commission that Google was manipulating search results to promote its own services over others.
Google has denied the allegations and is working with the European Commission to explain how its search service works.
European Commissioner for Competition, Joaquin Almunia, said that the Commission is as eager as Google to avoid a lengthy proceedings, and that if Google could come up with remedies for the complaint within the next few weeks, then the anti-trust case could come to a close.
"I believe that these fast-moving markets would particularly benefit from a quick resolution of the competition issues identified. Restoring competition swiftly to the benefit of users at an early stage is always better than lengthy proceedings," Almunia told a news briefing.
"Google has repeatedly expressed to me its willingness to discuss any concerns that the Commission might have without having to engage in adversarial proceedings. This is why today I'm giving Google an opportunity to offer remedies to address concerns that we have identified."
CyberLink further optimizes products for hardware acceleration.
It has released updates for PowerDirector 10, PowerDVD 12, MediaShow 6 and MediaEspresso 6.5, optimized for the new Second-Generation AMD A-Series APUs benefit users from hardware-accelerated HD playback, enhanced video editing, maximum rendering and improved transcoding performance.
The optimization will improve its PowerDVD 12 software by improving its ability to stream videos on-the-fly to portable devices. PowerDirector 10 now offers up to 3.6 times faster video production speed and allows users to produce professional quality home videos and 3D movies, by harnessing the power of the system?s GPU to greatly improve the speed of the editing process.
CyberLink MediaShow 6 offers a rich set of features to help users rapidly import, organize and share SD, HD and 3D media content. With the optimization for the 2nd Gen AMD A-Series APUs, users can now create stylish slideshow videos with incredible speed.
CyberLink MediaEspresso 6.5 accelerates the conversion of standard and HD videos into multiple formats for use on various consumer electronics devices. In conjunction with AMD's VCE, MediaEspresso 6.5 provides quick output of video content for playback on new iPad, iPhone 4S, iPod and PSP devices at much higher speeds.
TiVo and Pace announced a global partnership in February 2012, to develop flexible, advanced television solutions for operators. They have now announced the first product that comes as a result of that partnership, the Pace XG1 Multi-tuner Video Gateway.
It includes 6 video tuners, an integrated DOCSIS 3.0 modem, and at least 500GB of on board hard drive storage. It will utilize TiVo's whole-home capabilities, such as multi-room streaming and support for both traditional set-top boxes and IP devices as clients over MoCA, and support for TiVo's mobile and tablet applications.
"This partnership will make the TiVo experience easily accessible to more cable operators than ever before. It will provide operators a best-in-class advanced television solution that they can quickly and cost-effectively deploy and will serve as the gateway to a rapidly expanding choice of content across multiple screens through TiVo's whole-home solutions," said David Sandford, Vice President and General Manager of TiVo's Service Provider Business.
As previously announced, this initial offering will first be made available by Pace to cable operators in the Americas later this year. TiVo and Pace also expect to follow the XG1 with additional solutions for domestic and international operators soon after.
Kodak sued both companies in January 2010, and sought an import ban on BlackBerrys and iPhones from the International Trade Commission (ITC). It accused both companies of patent infringement.
In January 2011, an administrative law judge found no violation of the patent by either of the firms, but the commission later decided to review the judges decision. Now, administrative law judge Thomas Pender found that while the two companies did infringe on one claim within the patent, it should be considered invalid "for obviousness".
Kodak's claim included"Electronic Camera for Initiating Capture of Still Images while Previewing Motion Images."
This preliminary ruling now needs approval from the full ITC commission.
The upgrade to the music service will occur on May 30th in Japan and in September for the rest of the world.
There will not be too many tracks available, with only 100 albums (1,000 tracks) available in the HQ format at launch.
Onkyo started the e-onkyo service in 2005 and updated the HQ DRM-free formats in 2010.
Shinsuke Yamashita, President and Representative Director, Onkyo Entertainment Technology Corporation, adds: "We are very happy that e-onkyo music will start distribution with Dolby TrueHD lossless audio, thanks to the cooperation of Dolby. The evolution of network audio and PC audio means that users can enjoy high-resolution sound with data volumes greater than those that are possible on a CD. And we are aiming to achieve even further growth in our music distribution business. Through the collaboration between our two companies, we intend to increase our breadth of content and improve the user's listening experience, in a way that only high-quality surround sound distribution can."
The U.S.' major ISPs have announced they will be making more free Wi-Fi hotspots available to customers.
Comcast, Time Warner, Cablevision, Bright House and Cox are all part of the deal. The companies are five of the nation's largest cable and Internet providers.
The agreement will allow any subscriber of those ISPs to use free Wi-Fi from the other ISPs, no matter where you are. For example, Cablevision is only New York City based, but if you were to travel to Philadelphia, you can use Comcast's free Wi-Fi hotspots there despite not being a customer of theirs.
Over 50,000 "CableWifi" hotspots will be made available in the next few months to competitor's customers.
"We believe that WiFi is a superior approach to mobile data," says Kristin Dolan, Cablevision's head of project management. "Cable providers are best positioned to build the highest-capacity national network offering customers fast and reliable Internet connections when away from their home or business broadband service."
A similar service has been available to TWC, Comcast and Cablevision subscribers since 2010, but only in the northeast.
According to multiple supply chain sources, Apple is testing the iPhone 5 with a larger display.
The new device will feature a 3.9-inch display and have 1136 x 640 resolution, much larger than the 3.5-inch screen seen on the current generation Apple phones that feature a nice 640 x 960 Retina Display.
Currently floating around the Apple campus in disguised cases, the prototype phones are "in the PreEVT stage of development and are codenamed N41AP (5,1) and N42AP (5,2)", says 9to5.
The screen will still be 1.94-inches wide, but will grow another 3.45-inches tall. The new resolution will be close to 16:9, moving away from Apple's standard 3:2.
If accurate, the reports say iOS 6 will be custom built to take advantage of the new display. The home screen will get a fifth row of icons in addition to the stationary app dock and an updated user interface.
Spike TV has proudly announced that it will be live streaming the upcoming Nintendo E3 press conference.
The gaming company will unveil an almost completed model of the Wii U, alongside some game play.
Spike will play the entire conference without commercial interruption starting at 12:00 PM EST on June 5.
Sony and Microsoft are not expected to reveal any new hardware, but both companies will focus on first-party games and upgraded online services that better integrate movies and music.
Earlier this week, a QA tester at Traveller's Tales Games posted a picture of the updated Wii U controller on Twitter before quickly removing it. In the updated controller, Nintendo has added actual analog sticks, upgrading from the "nubs" showed off last year and seen on the 3DS handheld.
Microsoft has said today it expected 350 million devices running Windows 7 to be shipped this year, alone.
The figure comes just as Microsoft prepares to release the final version of its Windows 8 operating system, expected to hit in October.
If the shipment number is correct, "it makes Windows the most popular single system,"says CEO Steve Ballmer.
Windows 8 will be the company's first true try at the current media tablet market, and will work on ARM-based devices. With its new "Metro" interface, designed for touch devices, the company hopes to take share away from market leader Apple.
Thanks to Windows 8, research firm IDC believes global PC shipments will break out of their current "funk" and grow 5 percent in 2012 compared to just 1.8 percent last year.
Popular music streaming service Spotify has expanded to Australia and New Zealand.
Spotify's full offering of 16 million tracks will be available to both new markets as it aggressively expands internationally.
The service launched in the summer of 2011 in the U.S., and has been extremely successful in turning free users into paying subscribers.
More notably, unlike in other nations, Aussies and Kiwis will have unlimited free access to the tracks. In the U.S. and other regions, the unlimited access only lasted 6 months before moving to a capped streaming plan, usually just 10 hours per month.
There are two premium accounts, as is standard. For $4.99 per month, you will have unlimited desktop access with no ads and for $9.99 you get full mobile access as well, including offline caching.
One of the richest men in the world has just gotten a little bit poorer.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's fortune fell $2.2 billion today after investors and Wall Street sold off shares in Facebook, dropping the company's stock 11 percent just one day after it went public.
After today's fall, the company is valued at $93 billion and Zuckerberg has a 24 percent share, making him the 26th richest person on the planet.
Other co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and Eduardo Saverin saw their shares depreciate, as well, with Moskovitz's $4.5 billion in shares down $580 million and Saverin's $1.8 billion stake was down $230 million.
The company has been quick to spend its newfound capital, purchasing social gifting app Karma and paying $1 billion for the ever-popular iOS and Android photo editor Instagram.
Tenenbaum, the former doctorate student who was convicted of illegally sharing 30 tracks via P2P has had his Supreme Court petition declined, sending the case back to the district court from which it came.
The alleged pirate was originally fined $675,000 for sharing the tracks, but the fine was reduced to $67,500 in 2010, after a judge deemed the original penalty unconstitutional and "excessive." Seeking an even further reduction, Tenenbaum tried unsuccessfully in 2011 to petition to the district court and actually had his reduction reversed back to $675,000 after the major labels and RIAA appealed.
In this case, the trial will go on, bouncing between appeals.
Says the lawyer defending Tenenbaum (pro-bono): "This is where we feel we're being pushed down a rat hole. The award is lowered but the plaintiffs, the recording companies, are given the option of whether to accept the award or go through another trial. It's like a way of keeping us in litigation forever."
Hulu has announced today that it will premiere three new original shows alongside seven "exclusively licensed" television shows that had not been available to U.S. consumers.
As the company explains, the new series are each 30 minutes long and "include Richard Linklater's "Up To Speed;" a travel series hosted by Timothy "Speed" Levitch; Kevin Smith's "Spoilers," a 10-episode movie revue that combines animated shorts and group chats and "We Got Next" A scripted comedy that follows a four-man pickup basketball team."
Each series has a budget that matches their cable equivalents.
"We've got less nighttime hours to work with," adds Andy Forssell, senior vice president of content at Hulu. "That means we were searching for quirky, really well-done shows that can stand up next to last night's TV."
Hulu has said they will spend $500 million this year on licensing and producing shows.
According to the latest figures by StatCounter, Google's Chrome browser is now the most popular in the world, knocking Internet Explorer from the throne after more than a decade.
For the week ended May 20th, Chrome took first, just edging out IE and gaining more share on rival Firefox.
In the U.S., IE is still the big dog, and in Europe, Firefox is king. However, in Asia and South America, Chrome
is the clear leader with the browser taking 50 percent share of the entire South American continent.
Globally, for the week, Chrome is on top at 31.88 percent share, followed by IE at 31.47 percent. Firefox remains in third at a respectable 26.42 percent, gaining for the month, as well.
Safari continued to gain a snail's pace, taking 7.37 percent.
Google Music allows you to authorize up to ten devices to use with the service. That sounds like enough devices for most people, but there is one problem for users who like to flash custom ROMs on their Android phones.
Every time you flash a new ROM, Google will recognize the device as new. Once you hit the ten limit, you have no choice but to deauthorize devices, which isn't really a problem since there are now technically dupes on the list anyway.
However, Google recently attempted to enforce limits on the amount of times you could deauthorize a device within a year. This led to a lot of Android phone users getting a warning message that they had deauthorized too many devices and cannot do it right now.
After complaints from many Android phone users, Google has reversed its decision and now users will be able to simply deauthorize dupes on their list of devices as they had before.
There have been some questions raised about the strength of the glass used on some smartphones. Nokia wanted to show the strength of the "Gorilla Glass" on the front of the Lumia 900 handset, using a hammer and some nails.
The guy in the video first uses the hammer to smack some nails against the screen, and then uses the handset itself as a hammer to push the nail into some wood. Pretty impressive, even though you can't exactly see clearly if the screen wasn't marked.. but taking a beating like that and not shattering is impressive itself.
In one of the more useful uses of the motion control system, reseachers have begun using Kinect as a surgical assistant.
First, German researchers turned the system into a "interactive augmented reality X-ray machine" and now Microsoft Research is in the early stages of using the Kinect sensor as a surgical assistant.
Notes BGR: On May 8th, "a surgeon at Guy's and St. Thomas' hospital in London used a custom Kinect installation to browse through medical images and real-time X-rays while repairing an aneurism in a patient's aorta."
Overall, the new system will allow surgeons to call up images and perform other tasks without needing to actually touch a screen or item, avoiding contamination and saving time.
"Up until now, I'd been calling out across the room to one of our technical assistants, asking them to manipulate the image, rotate one way, rotate the other, pan up, pan down, zoom in, zoom out," adds Tom Carrell, a consultant vascular surgeon at Guy's and St Thomas'. "I thought this was going to be a lot more awkward to start off with, but I was very pleased with the way it went today."
Protests have hit Chicago against the NATO summit. U.S. President Barack Obama will meet leaders of other NATO countries and some non-members. Predictably, the event has sparked protests from groups who oppose NATO actions in the world.
Police have responded to the protests, and are being accused of heavy handed tactics. In retaliation, a group claiming to be Anonymous knocked the Police website offline.
"We are actively engaged in actions against the Chicago Police Department, and encourage anyone to take up the cause and use the AntiS3curityOPS Anonymous banner. For those able, chicagopolice.org should be fired upon as much as possible. We are in your harbor Chicago, and you will not forget us,"the group said.
The city of Chicago's website was also inaccessible for a long time.
The ministry of information technology referred to "blasphemous and inflammatory content" on Twitter, while later on saying it had no plans to block the service. It was, however, inaccessible for most Internet users in Pakistan for around eight hours on Sunday.
The issue appeared to be linked to a drawing contest called "Draw Muhammad Day", in which thousands of Internet users sketch up a cartoon of Muhammad to demonstrate that their freedom of speech and expression cannot be limited by religious orders.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sun will meet in federal court on Monday for for court-supervised mediation efforts. Both have been directed to make an attempt at mediation in a case that has caught the interest of the entire industry.
Forcing companies to take a stab at mediation is becoming something of a trend in federal courts, with northern California leading the way. A federal judge in Delaware also ordered Apple and HTC Corp to make a real attempt at mediation.
Both Apple and Samsung accuse each other of patent infringement, and both also deny the allegations. Apple took the first shots at Samsung, claiming that its Galaxy brand of smartphones and tablet PCs slavishly clone the design and functionality of the iPhone and iPad devices.
Over the weekend, a Samsung executive said the company wanted to resolve the issues with Apple as soon as possible.
"There is still a big gap in the patent war with Apple but we still have several negotiation options including cross-licensing," Samsung mobile division chief JK Shin, said.
GTA IV mod brings cute Star Wars droid to Liberty City.
A new mod for Grand Theft Auto IV for PC brings R2-D2 to Liberty City, probably violating all kinds of licensing rights in the process. But hey, video game mods are all about fun, and this video posted to YouTube showing R2-D2 inflict his wrath upon the innocent people of Liberty City makes Niko Bellic look tame.
The recently released Raspberry Pi is set to get its very own camera module.
For $35 you get a 3.3-inch wide board with a 700 MHz ARM11, 256MB RAM, HDMI-out, SD card slot, a USB port, ethernet, audio jack and Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU. The first 20,000 units shipped in April, while countless thousands of others wait for theirs to arrive.
The team has begun working on accessories for the mini-PC, and has posted the first pictures taken from the prototype camera module. The camera itself connects to some of the pins on the system board.
In prototype form, the creators of the Pi used a 14MP sensor but the final commercial version will certainly use something smaller to save on costs.
Reads the release:
I was sent this image this morning from Gert (not pictured), Naush (right eye and half-moustache) and JamesH (stripy shirt and chin). It's not a terribly exciting photo ? until you realise that it's the first picture ever taken from the prototype camera add-on board we're developing for release later in the year, which will plug into those CSI pins we expose in the middle of the Raspberry Pi.
Six years after its purchase, Nokia is selling its New York headquarters at a large loss.
In 2006, the company purchased the office building in Harrison, NY and reconstructed it, spending just above $30 million in the process.
This week, the company has sold the building to biotech company Histogenetics for $12 million. Michael Rao, president of New York Commercial Realty Group, who represents the buyer, was very happy with the deal: "It's a great deal for 12 million bucks. The building is gorgeous. It's so spectacular."
Nokia was forced to put the building on the market as part of a global downsizing to save on costs as the company struggles to remain relevant.
The company posted a large $1.7 billion loss in the recent quarter after losing $1.2 billion in the first quarter as its Windows Phone devices just started heading to market.
Quick access to contact details When you search for an e-mail address [in Gmail], the search results will now show you contact details in addition to that person's [Google] profile photo [if he or she has one] and the e-mails sent from and to them. From here, you can start a chat, call their phone and more. Plus, if your contacts have a Google+ profile, this information will stay up to date automatically. You can get to these same results in a variety of ways including from the people widget, contacts, and the chat list search menu.
Improved circle integration and circle search In addition to adding contact details to search results, we've made some improvements to the [Google+] circles integration announced in December. When you select a circle, you'll now see profile photos of people in that circle at the top right of the page. Plus, when you click on these images you'll be taken directly to search results with contact details.
Apple has announced their plans to spend $900 million to open new retail locations across the world.
In 2012, the company will open 40 new retail shops. The new locations are headed to Germany, Spain, Australia, France, Canada, the UK and the U.S.
In the U.S., the first location will be in the City Creek Center mall in Salt Lake City. Allegedly, the mall offered Apple up to "five years of occupancy, rent-free" as incentive to open up ship there. The second location will be in Bakersfield, California.
9to5 has this to say of the international locations: "Apple has taken up the remainder of a 15-year lease (10 years remaining) for a new store in the Drake Circus Shopping Centre in Plymouth, U.K. Apple also has plans for a new retail location at Market Mall in Calgary, Alberta. It is smaller than the new U.K. store?and many others?at just 5,448 square-feet. However, Apple plans to move to a new space within the mall that will offer a curved 77-foot wide storefront and 7, 287 square-feet within a year of moving in. The store is expected to open sometime this year."
Digitimes has reported this week that Amazon is preparing a 10-inch Kindle Fire tablet for release in the Q3 this year.
On the other end, the site has also been reporting that Apple is looking to create a smaller iPad, one that will compete with the current generation Kindle Fire in the 7-inch market.
Amazon has never released an official count on how many Kindle Fire units have been sold, but the number is expected to be over 6 million. Research firms have pegged the Kindle Fire at having 54 percent market share of all Android tablets, even though it only has a 10 percent share of the overall tablet market, well behind the market leading iPad.
Making the 10-inch rumored Fire most notable is the rumored price. Because Amazon does not care to make the money on the hardware itself and instead makes it all back on the apps, music, movie end, the tablet will likely sell for $300, well below the base price of the iPad at $500.
Dubbed GameStop Mobile, the new service is a mobile virtual network operator based on AT&T's spectrum and network.
For $55 a month, GameStop sells its own SIM cards and service that run on AT&T's network with unlimited voice and tiered data. For $20 you can get even more limited data and voice calls as part of a "pay-as-you-go" service.
The company has seen its share of struggles in the past years, as profits and revenues disappear. With e-tailers offering better prices and with gamers finally turning wise to GameStop's rip off for used game trade-ins, the company has had its issues remaining profitable.
For the time being, the move could lead to the retailer selling unlocked smartphones, as well, through a trade-in program similar to what it does with console hardware and used games.
Two months ago, Sony promised to update their dual-screen Tablet P to Android 4.0 and the company has finally delivered.
The Tablet P will get the upgrade on May 24th.
Although Sony made the press release in Japanese, it is expected to be a global rollout.
Running on Android 3.2, the device has dual 5.5-inch displays with 1024x480 resolution each, a 1GHz Tegra 2 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, dual cameras 0.3/5MP and just 4GB internal storage. The tablet does have 4G HSPA+ capability, as well.
Facebook has purchased the social gifting app "Karma."
The move comes on the heels of the social networking behemoth purchasing Instagram and Lightbox, looking to expand their social footprint on mobiles.
Karma does not do all too much except let users connect to the network via the app and send others gifts.
Reads the press release:
We founded Karma with the goal of adding the sentiment and meaning back into gift giving. That's what Karma is all about. That's what the Karma team set out to achieve.
Over the last year, we've built a new e-commerce platform from the ground up. We've been honored to partner with amazing brands to create a curated catalog of products. We made those products instantly giftable in a brand new way. And we harnessed the power of Facebook's social network to ensure you never miss a chance to show someone you care. The phenomenal response and feedback we've heard from customers has more than exceeded our expectations. And we're just getting started - today we take social gifting to the next level.
We're thrilled to announce that Karma has been acquired by Facebook. The service that Karma provides will continue to operate in full force. By combining the incredible passion of our community with Facebook's platform we can delight users in new and meaningful ways. As we say... only good things will follow.
Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
System bar enhancements to easily view recent apps.
Lock screen actions including pull down notifications and adjust volume while device is locked
Data usage controls
Home screen folders
Improved battery life
The most anticipated Android device of the year is now available for pre-order, unlocked.
Amazon and Expansys-USA have put the smartphone up for sale, with a range of prices starting at $700 and going up to $850 for some crazier third-party sellers.
The model up for sale is the unlocked international GSM version, meaning it will work on AT&T and T-Mobile USA here in the States, but without LTE for AT&T.
"Pebble Blue" and "Marble White" are available colors from multiple sellers.
Samsung noted earlier this week that the company has seen 9 million pre-orders for the upcoming device from 100 global carriers. The device goes on sale in Germany first on May 29th and then everyone else throughout June.
The flagship phone has a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display, a powerful 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos processor and an 8MP camera, all of which are high-end. What should differentiate the phone from others in the market is its software, which Samsung has customized and tweaked to the point where it does not feel too much like the stock "vanilla" Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich you may be accustomed to.
According to reports, Verizon is looking to raise speeds on their FiOS broadband network, but at a price.
The speed bump will hit all four tiers of the service, with the mid-end 25Mbps download tier being bumped to 50Mbps and the 35 Mbps service hopping to 75 Mbps downstream.
On the low end, the 15Mbps service seems to be unchanged, as is the extremely fast 150Mbps high-end tier. If accurate, Verizon is looking to offer a 300 Mbps tier, as well, which would blow away any current competitors.
The reports claims the changes could be coming as soon as June 18th but Verizon has not commented.
Even if the speed increases don't come to fruition, consumers are almost guaranteed to see the price jump: "I think that you'll see us do some price increases here over the next two quarters," says CFO Fran Shammo.
Latest iOS hints that Apple will allow FaceTime over 3G connections.
AppleInsider (pic source) has highlighted than when running the latest version of iOS, 5.1.1, and using FaceTime over Wi-Fi (which is what it is limited to), if you go to Settings and turn off "Enable 3G", you get a message indicating that this action might end FaceTime.
"Disabling 3G may end FaceTime. Are you sure you want to disable 3G?" the OS warns. Disabling 3G doesn't affect FaceTime currently because it is using Wi-Fi anyway, but questions have been raised as to why this warning has been added to iOS when you do try to disable 3G.
FaceTime video chat was brought to the iPhone in 2010 with the launch of the iPhone 4 handset, and has since migrated to Mac and other iOS devices. It is currently limited to use over Wi-Fi only, probably due to demands by carriers concerned about the data use of the feature.
The iPad-maker benefited on Tuesday then the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found that a judge in a California district court was in error when he ruled that Apple failed to show that it had a case. The appeals court ruled that the case be sent back to the district court for review.
The decision involves a single patent which Apple claims Samsung violated in the design of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Apple has now filed a motion for a new injunction against the tablet, hoping to get it pulled from shelves in U.S. stores. It already forced Samsung to make some design changes to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany, where it sells a "10.1N" revision of the device.
Apple has had some success against the makers of Android smartphones and tablets. It has accused Samsung in particular of "slavishly cloning" the iPhone and iPad in its Galaxy line of smartphones and tablet PCs.
All UK based websites have been given until May 26 to ensure that their visitors are able to give "informed consent" over cookies. Cookies store information that is required for some website functions, such as keeping you logged in to service.
However, tracking cookies can also be used to retrieve information about a users' web browsing habits. These cookies have been the target of an EU directive that aims to give Internet users more control over how their Internet usage is tracked online.
"As in the private sector, where it is estimated that very few websites will be compliant by the 26th May, so it is true of the government estate," a Cabinet Office spokesman told the BBC. "The majority of department websites will not be compliant with the legislation by that date."
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) will not take any action against the websites that fail to comply, as long as they are "showing a commitment" to make the changes eventually.
The U.S. government plans to install 19,000 Tesla K20 modules from Nvidia into its Titan supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Once the machine is upgraded, it will be eight times quicker than it is now, carrying out an estimated 25 quadrillion floating point operations per second (25 petaflops).
GPUs are highly efficient at carrying out parallel processing tasks, where a process can be broken down into many parts and computed simultaneously since the outcome of a single computation does not determine the input of another.
Supercomputers are switching to this hybrid computing system, splitting work up between thousands of CPUs, and thousands of GPUs, depending on which will hand the task in a more efficient manner. The Titan supercomputer is used to help develop more efficient energy systems (such as vehicle engines), to model changes in climate and other complex tasks.
"If you take a look at scientific applications, 99% of the operations can be done in a highly parallel manner, and that can be done much more efficiently by large numbers of very simple GPU processors than on a traditional CPU burning a lot of power trying to make a single thread go fast," Steve Scott, Nvidia's chief technology officer, told the BBC.
The iPad-maker will build two solar array installations in and around Maiden, North Carolina, near its core data center. It said it wil buy all the equipment it needs for them from SunPower Corp and startup Bloom Energy.
The solar arrays will cover 250 acres and will supply supply 84 million kWh of energy annually to the power-hungry data center.
Later on in the year, Apple said it will build a bio-gas fuel-cell plant too. "I'm not aware of any other company producing energy onsite at this scale," Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer told Reuters.
"The plan we are releasing today includes two solar farms and together they will be twice as big as we previously announced, thanks to the purchase of some land very near to the data center in Maiden, which will help us meet this goal."
Energy concerns have been raised as Internet firms continue to build large data centers that eat power. The new facilities are necessary to meet the demands of cloud computing.
The lawsuit alleges that Electronic Arts (EA) is an active participant in a conspiracy to prevent college athletes from being paid for playing. Former UCLA basketball star Ed O'Bannon is leading plaintiffs in the case against the National Collegiate Athletic Association and its marketing company.
It alleges that the NCAA is violating U.S. antitrust law by forcing college students to sign away their rights to profit commercially from playing college sports, even after they have finished. They also accuse EA of profiting improperly from using their images and likenesses in its games.
EA's licensing agreements with the NCAA "can fairly be read to evidence a 'meeting of the minds' between EA and the other defendants not to compensate former student-athletes, where such a contract would interfere with the student-athletes' existing agreements with the NCAA," said U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland, California.
It's not clear whether Microsoft's European settlement covers tablets.
Mozilla Corp. complained last week that Microsoft is giving its Internet Explorer browser preferential treatment on Windows RT, the ARM version of Windows 8 designed primarily for tablet PCs.
The operating system grants full access only to the Internet Explorer browser, cutting off other browsers from vital functions, according to Mozilla. Google has backed Mozilla's complaint.
While the European Commission (EC) is reminding Microsoft of commitments it made in a 2009 settlement, it is not clear whether those commitments ever extended beyond PCs. At the time, the Redmond-based software giant agreed to push out a Browser Choice screen to Windows users in Europe, after the European Commission found that the bundling of IE with Windows was anti-competitive.
Failing to stick to that settlement could result in a massive fine of 10 percent of the company's revenue.
"The Commission is aware of these allegations and will remain vigilant that Microsoft fully complies with its commitments under the Commission's 2009 decision on browsers,"Antoine Colombani, the Commission's spokesman for competition, said yesterday.
Japanese researchers achieve very high speed using terahertz band.
They managed to hit a data rate roughly twenty times higher than the best that can be achieved with Wi-Fi, using the unregulated terahertz (or T-Ray) bands. The band makes use of the 300GHz to about 3THz frequencies.
The Tokyo Institute of Technology researchers, demonstrated 3Gbps transmission at 542GHz using a wireless radio no bigger than a 10-yen coin (about the size of a British penny coin). They suspect that they could push the speed up to about 100Gbps.
The next generation 802.11ac standard, which hasn't been approved yet by IEEE, can offer speeds theoretically as high as 1.3Gbps with three antennas, though the maximum achieved in tests so far was closer to 800Mbps.
Electronic Arts had been named as a defendant in a dispute over Call of Duty royalties.
It stems back to the firing of Jason West and Vince Zampella by Actvision. The pair sued Activision, claiming they were owed around $30 million in unpaid royalties. Activision countersued, claiming that Electronic Arts had attempted to sway West and Zampella away with job opportunities.
EA was named as a defendant in the case, but this week the publishers decided to bury the hatchet. "Activision and EA have agreed to put this matter behind them," the publishers said in a joint statement.
This does not, however, settle the case between West/Zampella and Activision. Recently, details came to light that suggested Activision had set out to find any dirt on the two Infinity Ward heads before the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Google must keep Android "open and free" for the next five years in order to gain China's approval for its acquisition of Motorola Mobility.
All major outlets are reporting that Google has agreed to those terms, and the acquisition will close next week.
While it is unclear why this was a necessary requirement, it was likely included to make sure that Google would not give hardware maker Motorola Mobility preferential treatment such as early access to new versions of the operating system.
Google has never indicated it would close off the OS to other hardware makers, but it has been oft-rumored that the search giant is looking to get into the hardware game.
jOBS, the Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher, will begin filming in the original garage Apple was founded in.
Filming begins in June and the scenes in the garage will continue with the "project's commitment to accuracy and authenticity."
Straight from the release, the film is described as an accurate portrayal of Apple founder "Steve Jobs' most defining and personal moments, motivations, and the people that drove him. The film covers Jobs from his early years as an impressionable youth and wayward hippie, through his initial successes and infamous ousting, to his storybook return and ultimate triumphs as a man who set out to change the world and did just that."
Production on the picture began when Jobs retired in August of last year, a few months before his death. The script came after "exhaustive research and interviews with Steve Jobs' friends, colleagues, and mentors to develop the most truthful and gripping picture of Jobs' life."
In total, the movie will cover Job's life from 1971 until 2000, right before the launch of the original iPod.
In addition to not giving back to the consumer, AT&T will follow Verizon's lead and create shared data plans for multiple devices and families who prefer to share a "bucket" of data, minutes and texts.
"We need to...allow customers to connect those tablets to some of the existing data plans that they have to be able to share them in a way that will drive more revenue for us, but also give a good deal to customers," says de la Vega.
The company also plans to "keep 2012 smartphone sales limited to 2011 levels to cut down on upgrade costs" including subsidies on new devices. "You can take it to the bank that our thrust is to lower that in every case we can."
What this means for consumers is higher prices up front, even when you sign up for a new two-year contract.
Chinese retailers have started to list a miniature Android 4.0 computer for $74 a pop. Inside the plastic case - slightly larger than a USB thumb drive - is an AllWinner A10 single-core 1.5GHz ARM CPU, 512MB of RAM and a Mali 400 GPU.
It has a female HDMI port for connecting to a HDTV, and can output in 1080p. It has 4GB of flash storage and will take a microSD card up to 32GB in capacity. It has WiFi 802.11b/g connectivity built-in, and can connect with a 2.4G wireless keyboard + fly mouse. It also has a USB 2.0/OTG port and USB 2.0 Host port.
Similar micro-computers have been showing up in recent years. The FXI Tech Cotton Candy will start shipping next month. It plugs directly into a HDMI port of a TV, has a dual-core processor and double the RAM. It will sell for $79.
Microsoft has shown off another large change to the upcoming Windows 8's desktop user interface.
The company has removed the popular Aero Glass UI that was first shown off with Vista and then in Windows 7.
By dropping Aero, Windows 8 will have visual changes including "flattening surfaces, removing reflections, and scaling back distracting gradients."
In response to questions about whether it will be tough for users to learn the new OS, which has some stark changes from past OS, the company does not seem to be worried: "We will help people get off on the right foot and we have confidence that people will quickly find the new paradigms to be second-nature."
Windows 8 Release Preview launches next month and the final release of the OS is expected to launch in late October.
If you watch Netflix video on your PC or Mac, you might have already noticed that Netflix has made some changes to its web video player.
The changes were made to refresh the look of existing features, and add some new functionality. Some of its new features include...
The size of the controls now scales, making it easier to use the player on large screens, for example if you connect your computer to your TV
Similarly, the player will scale down to smaller windows, which is useful if you want to watch something while working in another window. Also, the video now stretches to the full window in the browser
Full screen mode now has all the features of browser mode so you can view season/episode information and change to the next episode when watching a TV show
Pausing the video now shows more information about the title
The "Back to Browse" option has been moved up to the top-left of the screen too, after previously sitting at the bottom right. Controls have been consolidated into one line using the new player.
Most people reading this page will have seen some form of fake anti-virus utility running on a Windows PC at one point or another. Now, Sophos's Graham Cluley is showing how the same tactics are being used for Android, particularly in Russia.
One particular source, in Ukraine, is responsible for a bunch of malicious websites. Some of them offer fake updates for real apps, such as Skype and Opera, while others prompt the user with fake virus scans, and fake results.
In both cases, the user may be duped into installing a fake anti-virus utility on the Android handset. Just like with Windows, the software attempts to look like a real, honest anti-malware utility. One of the variants even uses Kaspersy's own icon for the Android app.
Once installed, it attempts to send premium SMS messages to generate revenue, and also will attempt to download and install other malicious software to the handset.
A hacker by the name of "Nyre" has claimed responsibility for the recent DDoS attack on The Pirate Bay.
The torrenttracker went down temporarily on Wednesday following a lash out at Anonymous for their DDoS attack on Virgin Media, one of the ISPs blocking access to the Pirate Bay.
Nyre took credit by posting on Pastebin: "I am highly against Anonymous. I do not support Anonymous anymore. I sometimes help the feds. The Pirate Bay was a press-release website for Anonymous, then I had a idea, why not take it down? Why not make it impossible for Anonymous? Get on your knees, Anonymous. I am a one-man army. I am not a hacker. I am a security killer."
It is unclear what Nyre used for the attack, but it is clear he has some sort of large botnet at his disposal.
Virgin Media's main website in the UK was forced down for some time last week. A group initially claimed responsibility for it on Twitter, and hinted that it was revenge for blocking the Pirate Bay.
It accuses Facebook of improper tracking activities, namely the continued tracking of users' Internet habits even when they were signed out of the service. The class action suit is seeking damages on behalf of all users of Facebook in the United States.
It consolidates 21 related cases filed in more than a dozen states in 2011 and early 2012. It is seeking $10,000 in damages for each U.S. user of the service, or about $15 billion.
"It's not a pipe dream," attorney Billy Murphy of Baltimore, Maryland, told AFP. "The only way you are going to stop companies from disregarding the privacy rights of the American people is to take some of their money. That's the only thing that gets their attention."
It must submit to independent audits for twenty years as a result.
21-year-old Gareth Crosskey has been sentenced to one-year in prison for hacking into an American's Facebook account.
Crosskey plead guilty to two counts of breaching the UK's Computer Misuse Act of 1990.
The UK citizen was accused of hacking into the account on January 12, 2011. It remains unclear why he hacked the account and what relationship there was between the two.
After the crime, the victim contacted the FBI who eventually traced the source back to the UK. U.S. agents then passed the case onto the Metropolitan Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU).
The official charges were one count of using a computer to gain unauthorised access to a program/data and one count of performing unauthorised acts with intent to impair operation of, or prevent/hinder access to, a computer.
"The PCeU are working to detect and bring before the courts those responsible for this type of offence. Today's result should act as a deterrant to any individuals thinking of participating in this type of criminal activity," added PCeU spokesperson (via ZDet). "By taking swift action, PCeU officers were able to quickly detain Crosskey thereby preventing further disruption to the victim."
The world's largest mobile operator - with over 660 million subscribers - does not offer the iPhone officially, like its two smaller competitors China Unicom and China Telecom do. They also miss other smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S II, because of its 3G network, which is different from every other 3G network in the world.
China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua has confirmed that the carrier is in talks with Apple, however. "We've been actively talking to Apple on how we can cooperate,"he said.
"I can't give you too many details, but I'd like to repeat that both sides do hope to boost our cooperation."
Over 15 million of China Mobile's subscribers use iPhone's that they sourced elsewhere, but they will only work on the provider's slower 2G network. The Chinese government tapped China Mobile to develop the country's own 3G network first, and the result was the TD-SCDMA standard, which is not used anywhere else.
This has had a negative long-term effect on China Mobile, because it has to heavily subsidize handsets that have chipsets which support the TD-SCDMA network. Meanwhile, its two smaller competitors have 3G networks that use the same bands and standards as the rest of the world, allowing them to offer popular smartphones. China Mobile still retains a 67 percent market share, but it is declining.
According to Microsoft themselves, Windows Phone has just surpassed the iPhone in the world's largest market.
The software giant says the mobile operating system has taken 7 percent market share in the nation, beating out Apple's popular device at 6 percent.
Adds Michel van der Bel, Microsoft's Chief Operating Officer for the Greater China Region (via Cnet): "We've only just begun," with smartphone and tablet sales. Additionally, the company is looking to increase business sales.
While the figure is certainly a small victory, the company has Android to worry about. The popular OS is on 69 percent of smartphones in the nation leaving all competitors in the dust.
Microsoft's joint venture with Nokia has been a minor success in the U.S. but has fared poorly in other large markets like the UK.
Every three years it must take requests for temporary loopholes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The last time it consulted the public, it OK'd the jailbreaking of phones in order to break free from a carrier, decrypting a DVD to copy clips for use in documentaries or for educational reasons, and also the breaking of DRM on e-books so that the blind could enable read-aloud features.
Those exemptions are set to expire now, unless the Copyright Office decides to uphold them. On top of that decision, the Copyright Office is being asked to make exemptions that would allow the public to break the copy protection to DVDs in order to make backup copies or format-shift.
The DMCA does allow for fair use of content, but at the same time it outlaws the circumvention of copy protection mechanisms in order to make a copy.
It is also being asked to consider proposals to exempt the practise of jailbreaking mobile phones, games consoles and tablet PCs, so that users can have total control over their devices.
Predictably, the motion picture industry is completely against exemptions that would allow the decrypting of DVD content. "If we didn't have access controls, there might be the same kind of mass piracy we've seen with unprotected music,"Clarissa Weirick, the general counsel of Warner Brothers Home Entertainment, said.
The regional administrative court of Lazio has ruled to uphold a €900,000 fine against Apple Italy, Apple Italy Retail and Apple International Sales for misleading Italians about extended warranty, the Financial Times is reporting.
In Italy, sellers of electronics products are required to provide a two-year warranty by law. The country's competition authority fined Apple in December for allegedly duping customers into paying for an extended warranty that overlapped the two year warranty they were legally entitled to in the first place.
Specifically, Apple was fined €400,000 for failing to inform the customers that they had a two-year warranty, and a further €500,000 for selling overlapping warranty.
According to Apple's Italian website, any extended warranty purchased by customers in the country is in addition to the two-year warranty they have already.
Apple must now pay the €900,000 fine, or it can choose to appeal to the Council of State, Italy?s highest administrative court. For the sake of 900k, why bother?
Sprint hopes to boost subscribers with new trade-in offer.
It said it will offer at least $100 credit toward an iPhone 4S to customers who trade in an iPhone from a competing provider. The new customer would have to sign up to a minimum two year contract with Spring to quality for the credit.
Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said in April that the carrier will continue to offer unlimited data for the next generation iPhone.
It has moved to capitalize on decisions by Verizon and AT&T to scrap unlimited data plans, which has not gone down well with their customers. Sprint does not expect to make a profit from carrying the iPhone until 2015, according to Hesse, who signed a deal worth $15.5 billion over the next four years to bring the Apple handset to Sprint.
"We believe in the long term,"Hesse said. "And over time we will make more money on iPhone customers than we will on other customers."
Just like in years past, Microsoft has brought the promotion back in time for the summer.
Students in the U.S. who purchase a Windows-based PC for $699 or more at certain retailers will receive a free 4GB Xbox 360 gaming console.
The promotion starts on Sunday in America and on May 18th in Canada. Canadian students get a slightly better deal, only needing to buy a $599 PC.
American retailers included in the deal are Best Buy, Dell.com, Fry's Electronics, HPDirect.com, Microsoft Stores, and NewEgg.com. For Canada, Best Buy, Dell.ca, Future Shop, Staples and The Source are included companies.
In addition, if you wait until June 2nd, you can purchase the PC, get a $15 upgrade to the new Windows 8 and get the free console to take best advantage of all of Microsoft's deals.
The search giant revealed its next major improvement to search this week, the Knowledge Graph. For Google users, this means a new side-panel with information that may make retrieving information far more easy than it ever has been using Google, or any other search service.
Google summed it up by saying its search engine can now recognise "things, not strings." When you enter a string of text into Google's search engine, it will try to get results based on the words in the string that you enter. It's algorithms can help to promote the most relevant or most popular results to the top of the list, but it is far from perfect.
With the Knowledge Graph, Google recognises "things", such as the Taj Mahal. When searching Taj Mahal with Google, it simply probes results based on the words, it does not recognise or care that the Taj Mahal is a "thing" in reality. On top of that, it cannot differentiate the Taj Mahal monument from the casino in Atlantic City, or from the Grammy-award winning musician with the same name.
With the Knowledge Graph, Google will offer you the ability to specify if you want search results about the musician, and not the monument.
Motorola Mobility handsets infringe Microsoft patent.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has found that several Android handsets made by Motorola Mobility violate a single patent held by Microsoft. A trade panel announced on Friday that Motorola Mobility smartphones will be barred from import into the United States.
The order has been sent to President Barack Obama, who has 60 days in which he can decide to overturn it.
The ITC has gotten many cases related to the import of smartphones, as manufacturers fight to get their slice of the growing pie.
The ITC did not say which Motorola Mobility handsets would be blocked from import into the country. Microsoft had requested that the following devices be stopped at U.S. borders: Atrix, Backflip, Bravo, Charm, Cliq, Cliq 2, Cliq XT, Defy, Devour, Droid 2, Droid 2 Global, Droid Pro, Droid X, Droid X2, Flipout, Flipside, Spice and the Xoom tablet.
"We hope that now Motorola will be willing to join the vast majority of Android device makers selling phones in the US by taking a license to our patents," a Microsoft spokeswoman said.
Symantec reports hundreds of fake websites, some which appear to be websites dedicated to specific popular apps, while others pretend to be app market sites.
When a user downloads an installation file, it appears to install the app on the device, but then redirects the user to Google Play, where they can download the app for free. By this time, the first installation - which was the malicious software - has already sent off a premium SMS message and the user will be charged for it.
Symantec has repeated its call (and that of all security software peddlers) for users to install apps only from trusted sources, and also to read the permissions that are requested by app.
It points out, as an example, that a game usually would not require the ability to send SMS messages. If you are uncomfortable with the permissions required by any apps, from any source, you should opt not to install them.
The Finnish mobile phone giant has been working to try and stabilize its finances. Over its past five quarters, it has wiped out €2.1 billion (about $2.7 billion) of its cash reserves. In a couple of years, it may burn through its total €4.9 billion reserves, analysts warn.
The cost of Nokia's debt has been rising, as questions about its ability to service its debt have been raised. "In our opinion, the company's ability to repay even its shorter-term 2014 bond could be an issue," said Societe General credit analyst Juliano Torii.
In 2007, Nokia had €10 billion in cash reserves. In 2014, it has €1.25 billion of 5.5 percent bonds maturing, followed by ?500 million of 6.75 percent notes due in 2019. Both are junk rated by Fitch and Standard & Poor's.
It is also getting increasingly expensive to insure against a Nokia default.
The company had hoped its Lumia handsets would help it to gain a larger share of the smartphone market, as it attempts to catch up with Apple and manufacturers of Android handsets. "Nokia's Lumia was an attempt to catch up, but it was simply too little too late," said Nancy Utterback, credit strategist at Aviva Investors.
Thilo Weichert, the data protection commissioner for the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, was quoted as saying that if European privacy protection authorities have their way, that Facebook's business model will "implode."
The social gaming company saw the value of its shares drop sharply at times on Friday, prompting two automatic halts in their trade. A 13.3 percent drop to $7.17 a share followed Facebook's IPO. After trading restarted, the stock rose to $7.80 per share but trading halted again.
It was speculated that the drop was due to Facebook's stock not shooting up in value immediately as had been previously expected, or that Zynga shareholders were dumping their shares to invest in Facebook instead.
Zynga relies heavily on revenue generated by Facebook users. It was not the only company that was effected on Friday by the Facebook IPO. LinkedIn, Yelp, and China's Renren (social network) saw some significant drops throughout the day too.
The earlier ruling had found that vKontakte's peer to peer integration, which allowed users to share all kinds of media files, breached copyright laws in Russia.
The P2P abilities have made vKontakte very popular in the country, providing it with an edge over competitors in the social networking space. The case was brought against vKontakte by the EMI Group, which complained that vKontakte users were sharing their music without authorisation.
"This judgment sends a clear signal to those in Russia that seek to build their businesses on the back of other people's content. We urge vKontakte to take immediate steps to stop its service being used to infringe copyright on a massive scale," said Frances Moore, chief executive of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).
"Widespread digital piracy is preventing Russia from developing a thriving legitimate digital music sector and this in turn denies Russian artists a chance of success and starves them of investment by producers."
vKontakte is a business that has been valued at between US$1.5 and US$3 billion
Anonymous attacks Indian government, anti-piracy organization.
Anti-piracy group Copyrightlabs won a court order that forced Indian ISPs and mobile carriers to block websites which allowed users to download Bollywood titles 3 and Dhammu. The order led to Vimeo, DailyMotion and The Pirate Bay being blocked in the country.
The order came into force in mid-May, prompting Anonymous to attack 14 separate government and political sites. Targets included the Indian telecoms department, electronics and IT ministry, supreme court and sites used by the BJP and INC political parties. The Copyrightlabs website was also forced offline.
Anonymous used Twitter to explain that the actions were retaliation for the censorship enforced in India.
The tactic had only partial success as most of the sites targeted soon recovered and were only offline intermittently.
Twitter says it will honor users' request not to be tracked.
Many major web browsers, including Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and Apple's Safari browser have a 'Do Not Track' feature built in. If enabled, the browsers will send code to websites that are visited, designed to alert them that the user does not wish to have his/her data tracked.
Even though the Do Not Track initiative is heavily promoted by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, it is still up to individual websites to choose whether to honor it or not, under current regulations.
Facebook and Google rely heavily on user data, and so neither honor Do Not Track requests. Twitter has moved to set itself apart from others by making it policy to honor requests by browsers not to record user data.
"As always, we are committed to providing you with simple and meaningful choices about the information we collect to improve your Twitter experience,"Twitter's Director, Growth and International, Othman Laraki, said on Thursday.
"For those who don't want to tailor Twitter, we offer ways to turn off this collection."
An anonymous post made to Pastebin a week ago got Android forums buzzing, and caught our attention too. It described a root backdoor that was present in the ZTE Score on MetroPCS in the United States. All an app needed was a default password and it could gain root access to the device without any user interaction at all.
"I've never seen it before," said Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of cybersecurity firm, CrowdStrike, describing the vulnerability as "highly unusual."
While the problem has been known about since last week, it has only been confirmed today by ZTE and reported by the mainstream media. The Chinese firm said it was working on a patch.
"ZTE is actively working on a security patch and expects to send the update over-the-air to affected users in the very near future," ZTE said in an statement. "We strongly urge affected users to download and install the patch as soon as it is rolled out to their devices."
Despite hype not seen since Google's IPO in 2004, Facebook's debut in the market has failed to impress investors with shares up just 2 percent as of writing.
Priced initially at $38, giving the company a value of $104 billion, the shares are now trading at $39, leaving the social networking giant with a $107 billion valuation.
Says one market broker: "We have got some unhappy guys out there. They were hoping for Facebook to be considerably better. I bet there are a lot of disappointed people in the market."
The stock jumped as high as $45 today but has quickly returned to earth. Popularity of the shares are certainly not to blame as 450 million have already traded and the NASDAQ is even having issues filling orders due to such huge demand.
Facebook, like other Internet-based companies in the new "social bubble" will trade at a massive premium to its earnings. While companies like Apple trade at just 14 times what they bring in, Facebook will trade at 107 times.
Yahoo is preparing to sell off its most profitable venture of all time.
The portal company seems finally ready to part with Chinese giant Alibaba, selling their 40 percent stake for an expected $7 billion.
If accurate, the reports say the deal could be announced on Monday.
After taxes, Yahoo will use all of the money to buy back their own stock.
On the other end, Alibaba will then move towards an IPO. Yahoo Japan (which is a separate company) will then sell 25 percent share, leaving the company on its own with the exception of a small 10 percent share owned by Yahoo Japan.
Samsung has noted that the company has seen 9 million pre-orders for its upcoming Galaxy S III smartphone.
The orders have come in from over 100 global carriers, making the device a massive success even a month before launch in most places. The device goes on sale in Germany first on May 29th.
Furthermore, the company's smartphone factory in South Korea was said to be running at full capacity of 5 million units per month.
The device has a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display, a powerful 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos processor and an 8MP camera, all of which are high-end but not leaps and bounds better than previous generation devices.
However, what should differentiate the phone from others in the market is its software, which Samsung has customized and tweaked to the point where it does not feel too much like the stock "vanilla" Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich you may be accustomed to.
Simon & Schuster have settled their long standing ebook price fixing case.
Earlier in the year, the US Department of Justice filed an antitrust suit against Simon & Schuster and four other major publishers, as well as Apple over the alleged price fixing.
Additionally, 15 states and Puerto Rico filed their own suits. HarperCollins and Hachette quickly reached agreements to avoid court while S&S needed to "discuss" their settlement. Penguin and Apple are fighting the charges.
As of today, however, US District Court Judge Denise Cote agreed to dismiss S&S from the suit as the settlement was reached with the states and the fed.
The case stretches back to 2010 with the debut of the first iPad from Apple. The tablet quickly became a competitor for Amazon's Kindle line of e-readers. Amazon had been charging low prices ($9.99 for new releases) in order to push up purchases of its electronic readers.
Publishers were concerned about Amazon selling e-books at such low prices (often sold for less than Amazon paid for them) because consumers might become accustomed to the lower prices. Also, publishers feared being in the same situation as record labels were in when iTunes picked up stream, but Apple insisted on keeping single song costs at 99c. Amazon offering consistently steep discounts might discourage other traditional retail partners from offering e-books altogether, alleged the suit.
Earlier today, Iran's Foreign Ministry threatened to sue Google after the search giant removed the name "Persian Gulf" from its Google Maps service.
Says a Ministry spokesperson: "One of the seditionist acts taken as part of the soft war against the Iranian nation has been Google's shameless act to drop the name 'Persian Gulf' which is ... against historical documents. We have put on our agenda to make an official complaint against Google."
The Gulf itself has long been a controversial topic, with Iran calling it the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Iraq calling it the Arabian Gulf. Different descriptions offend the rival parties and it looks like Google likely just removed the name to remove a potentially offensive adjective.
This is not the first time Iran has pulled such a stunt. In 2010, the nation tried to ban any airline from its airspace if it did not call the waterway the Persian Gulf.
Earlier today, Apple began censoring the word "jailbreak" in any content seen in the iTunes Store.
For example, the Thin Lizzy song "Jailbreak" was censored to read "J*******k," which is complete nonsense. Other artists got the same treatment, as well.
The issue has since been rectified.
Jailbreaking of course also references that processing of rooting an iOS device to allow custom software and the Cydia store of apps. The store rivals the official iOS App Store, and includes free and paid apps, themes and more.
The process of jailbreaking is not illegal, but doing so will void your Apple warranty.
HP is considering eliminating 25,000 jobs, say sources.
The company is looking to slash costs, and 25,000 would be a full 7 percent of its workforce.
Up to 15,000 of the job cuts will come from the enterprise services group, the group that sells information technology services.
The job cuts will not be straight firings, however, and instead will come as an early-retirement package. By reducing 25,000 jobs, the company could save $2 billion per year.
HP has seen its earnings fall as consumers move away from PCs and move to mobile devices like tablets. The company recently went through a management change, making Meg Whitman CEO and removing Leo Apotheker who tried his best to ruin the company.
Spotify, the popular social music service, has just been valued at $4 billion.
The company is starting to raise money this week in a new "mega funding" round, say multiple sources, although Spotify itself would not comment.
Goldman Sachs will participate in the new funding round, and account for the first $100 million. Other firms are in discussions and the total funding could reach $220 million.
The news comes on the heels of Facebook's $16 billion IPO today, which values the company at $104 billion. The social networking giant's shares will sell to the public tomorrow, and could end much higher than the current value.
Spotify currently has 10 million registered users around the globe, 30 percent of which are paying subscribers, a significant figure.
The Wikimedia Foundation is warning users that if they see ads on the mega-popular encyclopedia, then the ads are likely being provided by malicious software. Wikipedia is funded by over one million donors, most of whom give $30 or less a year, and it does not show advertisements, ever.
It was responding to growing numbers of reports that ads have been showing up on pages throughout Wikipedia. It named one culprit as a Google Chrome extension called "I want this". You can easily remove the extension in Chrome through Settings.
It has suggested the use of HTTPS Everywhere to ensure that all connections to Wikipedia are made through HTTPS, which will kill off some of the advertisements that users are seeing. Still, simply using HTTPS Everywhere will not fix the underlying problem, and so Wikimedia is suggesting that users install anti-malware solutions on their systems.
In some cases, ads might not be malicious, but might be placed on all pages if you are using public Wi-Fi or are at an Internet cafe that subsidizes its earnings through the use of ads that show up on all websites.
Police will retain data, even if suspect is released without charge.
The new system involves the use of terminals at police stations in 16 London boroughs. Police just need to connect a mobile device to the system and it can extract all the data. It will print out some information from the phone, and then store the total data digitally.
The BBC is reporting that police will retain this digital information even if a suspect is not charged with a crime. Predictably, this revelation has unnerved Privacy groups, who say it could infringe on the human rights of suspects.
"We are looking at a possible breach of human rights law,"Privacy International spokeswoman Emma Draper said. "It is illegal to indefinitely retain the DNA profiles of individuals after they are acquitted or released without charge, and the communications, photos and location data contained in most people's smartphones is at least as valuable and as personal as DNA."
Police say that the data extraction will only be carried out if there is significant suspicion that the mobile phone may contain data related to a crime. "Mobile phones and other devices are increasingly being used in all levels of criminal activity," said Stephen Kavanagh, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service.
It is to begin rolling out a system where those who download more than their monthly allowance will have to pay a fee. Comcast raised its download limit to 300GB after previously setting it at 250GB. Those who download 50GB more than their limit will automatically be charged an extra $10 on top of their monthly bill.
Previously, those who downloaded more than 250GB were sent a warning, threatening them with service suspension if they persisted in breaking their download limit.
Research from Sandvine Corp. shows that only 1.5 percent of the U.S. Internet users download more than 250GB per month, and only 1 percent download more than 300GB.
ISPs say they need to find a way to deter heavy downloaders since they can degrade service for other users on the network.
Comcast's Xfinity TV app for Xbox 360 has brought up some questions however, as the video streaming app does not count toward the monthly limit. Rival Netflix, however, is subject to the monthly download limit, but Comcast rejects claims that it is favoring its own product over Netflix, since Xfinity TV content is not provided through the Internet but from Comcast's own equipment.
Saverin says he is continuing to pay tax to the U.S. Government.
It was reported last week that Facebook co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, had renounced his United States citizenship, which meant that he could possibly avoid a heft capital gains tax bill from the enormous Facebook IPO.
While Saverin did not appear on the list of Facebook investors who own 5 percent or more the company, his share is still considered substantial, and is expected to profit greatly from Facebook going public. The news of his decision to drop his U.S. citizenship sparked a debate about so called "expatriate tax avoidance."
Saverin has fired back at critics, saying he decided to renounce U.S. citizenship in order to continue working and living in Singapore, where he has been living since 2009.
"I have paid and will continue to pay any taxes due on everything I earned while a U.S. citizen. It is unfortunate that my personal choice has led to a public debate, based not on the facts, but entirely on speculation and misinformation,"Saverin said through a spokesman.
"As a native of Brazil who immigrated to the United States, I am very grateful to the U.S. for everything it has given me ... I will continue to invest in U.S. businesses and start-ups, and believe and hope that those investments will create many new jobs in the U.S. and globally."
It has decided to halt its domestic production of LCD televisions, aiming to download its operating profit by 2014-2015. Its television business lost 50 billion Yen ($620 million) last year. The strong Yen has caused problems for Japanese manufacturing, with Hitachi making a similar move as Toshiba recently.
"We have shut down our domestic TV production. We are looking at all areas (of the TV business), number of models, numbers of panels, in order to re-strengthen this division," said Toshiba president and chief executive Norio Sasaki speaking to reporters.
Rival Samsung has put an emphasis on larger screens with some of its smartphones, highlighting the difference in some of its Apple-targeted commercials for Galaxy devices.
Reuters is citing sources familiar with the situation in reporting that Apple has made the new orders from suppliers in South Korea and Japan. If Apple keeps the same dimensions for the next iPhone, the screen size change will provide 30 percent more viewing area.
LG Display Co Ltd, Sharp Corp and Japan Display Inc have already started production of the new screens for Apple, according to the reports.
Developer admits it didn't prepare adequately for Diablo III launch.
The launch of the hotly anticipated title was marred somewhat by widespread problems with the game. Since it requires a constant-on Internet connection as an anti-piracy measure, servers became overloaded quickly and many users were given an error message (Error 37) when they tried to login.
"Despite very aggressive projections, our preparations for the launch of the game did not go far enough,"the developer admitted.
"We're continuing to monitor performance globally and will be taking further measures as needed to ensure a positive experience for everyone. This includes some maintenance to implement additional improvements for each region."
The developer has also decided to delay the launch of Diablo III's real money auction house beyond its original estimated date of May 22.
Time Warner Cable and Bright House customers who have Xbox LIVE Gold membership will be able to view some HBO content on their Xbox 360 consoles, starting from today.
HBO GO on Xbox 360 includes the entire HBO catalogue of live and on demand original content ? that means every episode of every show, from the latest hits like "Game of Thrones," to older favorites like "The Sopranos."
With Kinect, you can voice search the entire HBO catalogue.
Facebook in third largest public offering in U.S. history.
Only General Motors and Visa could beat Facebook's initial public offering, which valued the social networking giant at an enormous $104 billion. The service raised $16 billion today as investors rushed to get shares after waiting years for Facebook to finally make the leap.
It's market value is now higher than that of McDonald's, Citigroup and Amazon.com, with investors paying $38 per share. "Facebook is here to stay," said Navin Chaddha, a managing director of the Mayfield Fund, a venture capital firm.
"It's a virtual economy where people are spending more time than any other Internet property."
Facebook insiders and early investors are set to cash in quickly. Last year, Goldman Sachs took a stake in Facebook, and is now set to sell off a third of that stake. Peter Thiel, the VC who backed Facebook in its early days, will sell 16.8 million shares.
Mark Zuckerberg is set to ring the opening bell for the Nasdaq from Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Friday. Facebook shares will sell to the public later in the day, under the ticker FB.
The study found that most of the pirates are male, and aged between 25 and 44.
22 percent of those who admitted to piracy said they did it "occasionally" while 26 percent said "rarely."
Says the BSA's report: "The sheer volume of software piracy remains alarming, considering the security risks posed by illegal software and the importance of the industry to the digital economy in the single market."
"The software industry is a major contributor to growth and competitiveness in Europe and reducing piracy would deliver benefits for the European Economy, industry and consumers alike."
Of course, the BSA had some figures to throw in as well, claiming that 33 percent of all software installed last year was unlicensed, with a commercial value of 10.4 billion euro.
The founders of OpenSignalMaps have collected data from 681,900 devices and come up with some interesting Android news.
The group saw 3997 unique devices, a number that is inflated due to the usage of custom ROMs. Custom ROMs, which are installed after a user roots his phone or tablet, overwrites the android.build.MODEL variable.
In total, 1363 devices appear only once, meaning those users were running custom ROMs, each of which were tweaked even more than the standard downloads from groups like CyanogenMod.
Samsung was the most popular Android brand, followed by HTC. Gingerbread 2.3 remained the most used version of the OS, with the new 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich taking just 8.5 percent share.
Says the report: "We've collected signal data from 195 countries - the variety of Android devices and manufacturers has been crucial in allowing the OS to reach so many markets. For example the 5 countries where OSM gets most use are: US, Brazil, China, Russia, Mexico. From what we're seeing the developing world is no longer developing but leading Europe."
Last week we reported that Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin had renounced his U.S. citizenship and moved to Singapore.
By doing so, it looks like the billionaire will save about $67 million in federal income taxes, and that number will grow if the company's share price grows after it IPOs on Friday.
Saverin, who helped found the company with $15,000 of his money, was once a 40 percent owner. CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg is said to have used shady tactics to reduce Saverin's stake by creating a new LLC in a different state that then purchased the original company and diluted his shares. Regardless, Saverin is said to be a 2-4 percent owner of the company, which should bring him a windfall of $2-4 billion tomorrow.
To come up with the savings on the tax bill, sources applied a 15 percent long-term capital gains rate to the shares expected price.
Saverin, for his part, has said his decision to move last September had little do with taxes and was completely due to his need to be a world traveler.
After losing a patent case to Apple, HTC has been forced to begin shipping custom Android builds in the U.S.
Had they not, the company would have faced an import block at U.S. customs for the infringing devices, says The Verge.
The first two devices that would have faced the block are the new One X and Evo 4GLTE, both of which have clear differences from their international counterparts.
During the case, the ITC found that the stock Android messaging app, HTC's own messaging app and the stock Android browser all infringed upon Apple patent #5,946,647 for "data tapping." Verge explains that the "ITC also specifically found that Apple's patent claims were limited to the system both detecting data structures like phone numbers and email addresses in text and then presenting a menu of options when those detected structures are clicked."
Google has taken time today to respond to the numerous complaints it's been hearing in regards to its new Google Music policy changes.
Changing the policy of their popular Google Music streaming service, Google made it that you can only authorize up to 10 devices to use the service, and if you need more, you will need to deauthorize one of the previous 10. You are also only allowed to do this 4 times per year.
This became a problem for users who like to wipe their devices on a regular basis, or flash custom ROMs, as the 10 device quota can easily be filled in little time.
Google has decided to suspend the limit for the time being.
Here is the response to the complaints:
Yesterday we made a change to our device policy for music on Google Play. Any user can associate up to 10 devices to his or her account. Once you have connected 10 devices, you may add a new device only by deauthorizing an existing one from your account, and you may do this up to four times per year.
Shares of behemoth electronics company Samsung took a dive today after a report surfaced that Apple would be ordering chips from rival Elpida instead of them.
The report claims Apple placed a massive mobile dynamic random access memory (DRAM) order with Elpida in Japan, accounting for half of the facilities total chip production.
Samsung is the world's largest DRAM maker, and Elpida recently declared bankruptcy before being revived by American rival Micron. Other DRAM rival SE Hynix also saw a large 10 percent drop on the day.
"It looks like Apple doesn't want to see Samsung and hynix dominate the chip market. Apple wants to maintain its bargaining power by keeping Elpida running," noted Choi Do-yeon, an analyst at LIG Investment & Securities.
None of the companies involved had comment on the report.
A Verizon Wireless exec let the point slip today during an investor conference.
Communications CFO Fran Shammo said unlimited data is about to die, even for grandfathered customers who have had it for years. All new and existing customers will be forced to sign up for a tiered "data share" plan if they want to use 4G LTE.
The $30-a-month unlimited data plan will cease to exist starting this summer.
For the time being, the data share plans have still not been unveiled in detail but they will allow families or individuals to share a "bucket" of data, minutes and text across different devices.
Verizon first eliminated the unlimited plan last July for new users, but allowed existing customer to keep it. At the time the company did say, however, that the policy was subject to change.
French regulator spearheading EU probe into Google privacy changes.
In March, Google onsolidated 60 privacy policies into a single one. It is now pooling data from users across dozens of services, including YouTube, Google+ and GMail. The change raised concerns among data protection and privacy regulators in the EU, as well as the United States, Japan, Australia and other places.
Google has already provided a 94-page response to a questionnaire from the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique (CNIL) in France.
"We are not totally satisfied with their responses so we have set up this meeting to discuss the issues with Google," CNIL president Isabelle Falque-Pierrotintold Reuters in an interview.
"We want to untangle the precise way that specific personal data is being used for individual services, and examine what the benefit for the consumer really is."
Google said it welcomed the chance to meet with the French regulator, and that it was confident it complied with European data protection laws.
Time Warner, Viacom opt to settle iPad streaming lawsuit.
Time Warner had released an application for the iPad that let users watch live television broadcasts as long as they were in their own home.
Viacom sued Time Warner, claiming it didn't have the right to stream its content to the iPad. Time Warner disagreed, but decided to pull several channels from its iPad streaming app regardless of its stance. Following a spat in Federal court, both sides have decided to settle the case.
RealNetworks has released its latest security update for its RealPlayer software. If you use RealPlayer for Windows, it strongly recommends downloading the most current version released late last week, which patches vulnerabilities and contains bug fixes and other updates to the player.
The software contained a security flaw that, if exploited, could allow arbitrary code to be run on a device if the user visits a malicious site or opens a malicious file.
Users running older versions of RealPlayer should download the update from www.real.com to protect their computers from hackers.
Server overload is not the only headache for Blizzard.
It confirmed reports that there is a game breaking flaw in its new blockbuster for PC and Mac. Apparently, gamers get thrown out of the system if they attempt to give a shield to a character known as the Templar follower.
This new flaw follows Blizzard's efforts to address server overload problems. So many gamers were unable to play the title after launch that "#error37" was trending on Twitter. As an anti-piracy measure, you are required to have a constant-on Internet connection to play Diablo III.
Now Blizzard has confirmed the new bizarre bug. "We're aware of this issue and working to resolve it as quickly as possible. Thank you all for your reports,"the developer said.
The developer had already been forced to take down websites in an effort to dedicate more servers to the game. Users on Twitter commented about how difficult it was to get the game started.
"Man, Diablo III is super hard. I've been playing for 30 minutes and haven't even defeated the login screen," one Twitter user said.
The website confirmed the DDoS attack on its Facebook page but only said that it "had suspicions" about who is to blame. Early reports suggested that the same Anonymous group responsible for the Virgin Media attack were behind, since the Pirate Bay denounced the attack, but experts say that it's unlikely.
"There will be further attacks, but what's significant about this whole story is that people think that it is the Anonymous attacking a site which is typically a type of site that they defend," said Andre Stewart of Corero Network Security, to BBC News.
"It could be the record labels, or a government somewhere that has had enough of not being able to catch The Pirate Bay, it could be just one person who had rented some cloud power from Amazon and is sitting in a cafe, and is able to launch an attack."
Virgin Media's main website in the UK was forced down for some time last week. A group claimed responsibility for it on Twitter, and hinted that it was revenge for blocking the Pirate Bay. The ISP responded by saying its hands are tied, since the High Court had ordered it (and other UK ISPs) to block the website.
Ofcom finds that ISPs must do more to provide information on speed to consumers.
The regulator used mystery shopping to check compliance with the Voluntary Code of Practice on Broadband Speeds, introduced in December 2008. A strengthened Code came into force in July 2011, through which ISP signatories have committed to give maximum speed estimates in the form of a range as early as practicable in the sales process.
The regulator found that information provided to consumers by ISPs has improved but has also identified areas where further work is needed. The research shows that in 93 per cent of telephone enquiries made by mystery shoppers, an estimate of the broadband speed was given by the provider, and in 72 per cent of cases an estimate was given in the form of a range.
The Code requires that speed estimates be volunteered as early as possible in the sales process. Overall, speed estimates were provided without prompting from the mystery shoppers in 59 per cent of all calls, with the most likely to provide an estimated speed without prompting being Sky (72 per cent of cases), Karoo (76 per cent) and Plusnet (67 per cent).
TalkTalk (47 per cent of cases) and BT Total Broadband (48 per cent) were significantly less likely to provide a speed estimate without prompting from the caller. Both agreed to amend staff training to address the issue.
Mobile Internet services in the UK are subject to child protection filters that block pornographic websites. The Open Rights Group (ORG) and the LSE Media Policy Project released a report which shows widespread over-blocking as a result of such filters.
The groups found that the filters led to the incorrect blocking of political commentaries, personal blogs, restaurants' sites and community websites. The report calls on mobile operators to give parents an 'active choice' to turn filters on, and to be far more transparent about how their systems work.
It also warns against proposals to make such filtering systems the default on fixed-line broadband. The proposal is heavily backed by Claire Perry MP, and the rights' groups claim it will have the same damning consequences as it does for mobile Internet.
"This report shows how child protection filters can actually affect many more users than intended and block many more sites than they should. These blunt blocks effectively add up to a system of censorship across UK networks," said Peter Bradwell of Open Rights Group, and author of the report.
"The lessons for 'porn filter' proposals are clear. Default-on blocks can have significant harmful and unintended consequences for everybody?s access to information. To help protect children online, the Government should reject 'default on' network filtering and work to give parents simpler choices and better, device-based tools."
Its new Changhong H5018 is built by Foxconn, and runs Baidu's own Cloud Smart Terminal platform, which is based on Android. China has the world's largest number of smartphone users, so it is an important market for Baidu to stake its claim in. It will face serious competition from low-cost handsets made by firms such as Huawei Technologies, ZTE Corp, HTC, Lenovo and Xiaomi.
The 3.5-inch handset features a 480 x 320 screen, dual-SIM and is powered by a MTK6573 650Mhz processor. It has a 3MP rear-camera and a microSD slot for storage. China Unicom will carry the device initially.
To entice Chinese buyers to switch to its new handset, Baidu has included 100GB of cloud-storage from Wangpan, which would be the Chinese equivalent of Dropbox.
The Changhong H5018 will sell for less than 1,000 yuan ($158; £99). "It's a terrific market opportunity for us, and Baidu is constantly adjusting, understanding what users are interested in," Baidu's director of international communications, Kaiser Kuo, told BBC News.
Kantar WorldPanel showed research on Tuesday that saw Android double its market share in some places. In Germany, its share almost doubled to 62 percent year-on year, while it did double in Italy to 49 percent and Spain to 72 percent.
In the United States and the United Kingdom, the iPhone 4S narrowed the gap slightly between Android and the market no.2, iOS. Microsoft's Windows Phone platform gained some ground in Germany, claiming 6 percent of the market, while it climbed between 3-4 percent in France, Britain, Italy and the United States.
Nokia's retired Symbian platform fell sharply, while Canadian BlackBerry maker Research In Motion also suffered at the hands of other platforms. In the United States, RIM's market share dropped from 9 percent to just 3 percent.
As most new pre-built PC owners know, the bloat/crapware is installed by the hardware makers and paid by the vendors (usually). Examples of the bloatware include subscriptions to anti-virus software, e-reading alternatives, Adobe products, "tuning" software, vendor specific help links, and Best Buy junk like links to Geek Squad.
The expensive, failed wireless network project LightSquared has filed for bankruptcy protection.
LightSquared, which had been hoping to deliver a 4G network to over 200 million people in the U.S., was blocked by U.S. regulators. After testing and research, it was found the LightSquared network interfered with critical GPS networks used by police and emergency officials.
The company was allowed to manage the $15 million remaining it has in cash whilst in bankruptcy, as it is the only money that is not owed to lenders. The cash is expected to take the company until mid-July.
Overall, the company owes over $2.29 billion outstanding to different lenders.
Mainly thanks to spectrum, the company does have listed assets of $4.48 billion.
Diverging from tradition, it appears that Google will unveil its Android 5.0 Jelly Bean operating system on not just one Nexus smartphone, but on multiple.
If accurate, the WSJ report states the OS could debut on five Nexus phones later this year.
The move away from a single phone for new OS introductions would be a huge move for Google, who has long been rumored to be looking to get into the hardware smartphone business itself. The Nexus line is popular because the phones are the first to feature the latest Android OS and also feature a "vanilla" version of the OS, with no third-party user overlays like HTC Sense or Samsung TouchWiz.
In the report, the newspaper says Google will rollout the new phones, unlocked, in the U.S., Asia and Europe via the Google Play Store and through brick-and-mortar stores.
Microsoft will begin a promotion in June to reward late Windows 7 PC buyers.
The promotion, which will begin June 2nd, will allow any buyer of a new Windows 7-based PC to upgrade to the upcoming Windows 8 Pro for just $14.99. The normal price is expected to be upward of $79 for an upgrade copy when the operating system hits in October or November.
As in past years, the promotion makes sense since consumers (unless they are desperate) are usually willing to wait a few months to upgrade or purchase a new PC if they now a new operating system is coming.
This promotion however, is slightly different as any kind of Windows 7 will be upgradeable to the Pro version of Windows 8, which is the higher-end and more expensive version of the OS.
The deal is valid until January 31st of next year.
Firefox for Android 14 beta adds support for flash, new UI and more.
The latest release for the Android OS features a redesigned user interface, and significant performance improvements over the previous release. A new Start page has also been added.
Mozilla has also optimized the browser for better performance on Android 2.2+. Other minor changes have been made also, such as a change that will make all Google searches through HTTPS by default from now on.
The biggest change of course is the support for Flash, which has taken some time to show up.
These improvements are available for smartphone users only for now, with tablet users expected to be able to test them out soon.
Firefox for Android requires Android 2.1 and above, an ARMv7 processor, 512MB of RAM and 17 MB internal or SD card storage.
The GPU-maker is targeting large data centers that provide cloud-based services to end users. President and Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang showed off new technology based on its Kepler GPU architecture geared toward these conditions to drive the cloud-based services of tomorrow.
"Kepler cloud GPU technologies shifts cloud computing into a new gear," said Huang at the GPU Technology Conference (GTC).
"The GPU has become indispensable. It is central to the experience of gamers. It is vital to digital artists realizing their imagination. It is essential for touch devices to deliver silky smooth and beautiful graphics. And now, the cloud GPU will deliver amazing experiences to those who work remotely and gamers looking to play untethered from a PC or console."
Nvidia today announced the launch of its GeForce GRID cloud gaming platform. With the GeForce GRID platform, gaming-as-a-service providers can deliver the most advanced visuals with lower latency, while incurring lower operating costs, particularly related to energy usage.
Gamers benefit from the ability to play the latest, most sophisticated games on any connected device, including TVs, smartphones and tablets running iOS and Android.
Low consumer impact cited as reason for snubbing Facebook ads.
Just days before Facebook is going public, General Motors Co has confirmed it will stop advertising on the popular social networking site. Facebook's IPO will value the company at as much as $100 billion, rivalling the market value of heavyweight Amazon Inc.
Reuters cited a source close to GM in reporting that the automaker will pull ads from Facebook due to low consumer impact. It will still maintain a presence on Facebook, however.
The Wall Street Journal reported that GM was spending about $40 million per year on Facebook, though only $10 million of that budget went on Facebook ads. The rest went to content creation for the company's Facebook pages, as well as to the numerous advertising agencies involved.
"This does highlight what we are arguing is the riskiness of the overall Facebook business model," said Brian Wieser, Internet and media analyst at Pivotal Research Group.
"It is not a sure thing. It sure looks likely that it will be one of the most important ad-supported media properties, but it's not certain because there will be marketers who are challenged to prove the effectiveness of the marketing vehicle."
Blizzard Entertainment putting more servers online.
The eagerly-anticipated Diablo III launched this morning, putting Blizzard's servers under enormous pressure very quickly. The PC and Mac-only game requires an Internet connection to play, even if you do not want to play online, which makes server problems far more serious.
The support forums for the title have a lot of complaints and requests for technical assistance from gamers. Blizzard said it was addressing the problem by putting more servers online as needed.
Still, the game launch was seen as a big success for Blizzard. About 1,500 fans showed up at its Californian headquarters for the midnight launch. They got to observe artists at Blizzard sketch out characters from the game, as well as watch new footage and take part in quizzes.
"There's nowhere I'd rather be tonight," fan Ian Noble said at the event.
Jay Wilson, lead designer of Diablo III, said he hoped that the fans would be excited about the new iteration of the series. Wilson joked that the developer took so long to finally release Diablo III because they were goofing off most of the time, but then said the real reason is Blizzard's commitment to quality.
It has now set a price of shares in the company to between $34 and $38, up from between $25 and $35. It attributed the change to strong demand ahead of the IPO. Trading in the shares is expected to begin on Friday, after a couple of years of anticipation from investors.
A valuation as high as $100 billion would put it above Disney and Ford. It's listing on the NASDAQ will rival Amazon's current $100 billion valuation.
Recent questions about Facebook's long-term ability to generate revenue from its service have not dampened the interest from investors. Currently, Facebook's revenue is about 1 percent of what its market value is expected to approach.
Over the weekend, iPhone 4S users noticed that if you asked Siri what the best smartphone ever was, it would return a result that recommended the Nokia Lumia 900 handset. It was reported by a lot of tech sites and blogs in a lighthearted way as another example of how Siri can give interesting answers to questions.
Now, however, if you ask Siri what the best smartphone ever is, it will respond by asking, "Wait... there are other phones?". This is a default answer that has been given previously for similar questions about phones.
"Apple position Siri as the intelligent system that's there to help, but clearly if they don't like the answer, they override the software," said Nokia spokeswoman Tracey Postill, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Nokia later stated that Postill's comments were not to be taken seriously, and that the lighthearted comment was taken out of context. Still, it does beg the question of whether Apple should have allowed Siri to find the answer to the question as it had before (in this case, from Wolfram Alpha), or changed it to a default answer.
Appeals court sends case back to district court for further review.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found that the judge in a California district court was in error when he ruled that Apple failed to show that it had a case.
The case has now been sent back to the district court for review. The decision involves a single patent which Apple claims Samsung violated in the design of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. The iPad-maker is seeking an injunction against the sale of the tablets in the United States.
The judge in the district court had ruled that design patent in question could be challenged as "obvious," which casts doubt on the decision to grant the patent to Apple in the first place. The appeals court disagreed that the patent could be challenged as obvious.
The court did agree with the district court on its decision on three other patents, in which case the court denied requested preliminary injunctions. Apple and Samsung are locked in a patent war across the world.
Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) nudges Apple to change adverts.
The newest iPad from Apple has been marketed with the term "Wi-Fi + 4G", since it can connect to Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks in the United States. However, in the UK and the rest of Europe, the iPad will not connect to LTE networks if they are available, because different bands are used in the European Union as those used in the United States.
Consumers complained in the UK that the "4G" element in Apple's ad campaign for its iPad is misleading. Apple says that the confusion is caused by the fact that certain cellular providers market the term 4G differently.
Still, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) approached Apple on the issue, and the Cupertino-based firm said it will change the way it markets the new iPad in the UK.
"Carriers do not all refer to their high speed networks with the same terminology," said the firm in a statement, "therefore we've decided to use 'wi-fi + cellular' as a simple term which describes all the high speed networks supported by the new iPad."
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon was just one of many new products shown by Lenovo at its Accelerate Channel Partner Conference in Las Vegas. The 14-inch (1600x900 screen) next-generation business Ultrabook has a premium carbon fiber rollcage, weighing less than three pounds. Lenovo's previous Ultrabook, the ThinkPad X1 has a 13-inch screen, and weighs more at 3.8 pounds.
It also features embedded 3G connectivity, a RapidCharge feature that can bring the battery to an 80 percent charge in 35 minutes, a backlit keyboard and HD (720p) camera.
"We crafted the ThinkPad X1 Carbon with premium carbon fiber material in order to make it incredibly thin and light, yet durable," said Lu Yan, senior vice president, Think Product Group, Lenovo.
"Our new ThinkPad laptop portfolio embodies much of the innovative thinking exemplified in the X1 Carbon, such as a backlit keyboard, super-bright high definition display, Dolby Home Theatre and rich communications features that balance business performance with personal use."
The exact hardware configuration is not yet known, except for the fact that it will be powered by an Intel Ivy Bridge processor. It will go on sale in the summer (no price information available yet).
Reuters is citing sources close to Sony Corporation and Panasonic in reporting that the firms are in talks to combine their OLED TV production efforts. Organic-Light Emitting Diode (OLED) televisions provide better images and use less power than their LCD rivals, and are thought to be the next big thing in the declining market.
Both Sony and Panasonic have been hammered in the TV space over recent years, particularly since the start of the downturn in 2008. A strong Yen also works against both the Japanese firms in the global market.
Meanwhile in South Korea, Samsung and LG Electronics are moving way ahead of the Japanese firms in OLED, with both planning to sell 55-inch OLED televisions by the end of the year. The OLED displays are as thin as 4mm.
Sony had been making progress in OLED televisions, debuting its first OLED television in 2007. The global downturn halted Sony's progress in OLED however, and the firm has been scrambling to plug record breaking losses in its TV division, and overall poor performance. Right now, it does still make OLED screens for high-end customers, but they come with price tags around $26,000.
IObit to stop offering popular application for free.
IObit, a software developer that offers both paid and freeware applications, has warned that its popular Game Booster application for Windows will cease being available as freeware from June 30th, 2012. After this date, users will have to pay to buy a license for Game Booster.
Game Booster is a one-click application that attempts to free up system resources for gameplay. Another single click will relaunch services and other resources that were temporarily halted by Game Booster, later on. It has been downloaded millions of times from IObit and download portals.
"We intend to keep pace with what gamers care about, and improve Game Booster with practical functions to satisfy gamers' demands," says Kevin Zhou, marketing director for IObit, "Gamers ask for high speed and system stability when gaming. They want easy-to-use software rather than complicated programs that could potentially drag a CPU down."
Zhou also hints that more announcements concerning the future of Game Booster will be released as July approaches. Users who have downloaded Game Booster before July will still be able to use it for free.
RapidGator.net, one of the largest cyberlockers out there, has been shut down.
After January's demise of MegaUpload, RapidGator was the fastest growing of the cyberlockers that vied for the market share left behind.
In four months, the site gained over 5 million users. In Alexa ratings (of traffic), the site exploded from the 100,000th most popular site on the Web to 287th as of last week.
As of today, however, users cannot reach the site, thanks to a dispute with their Web host: "Our hoster have suspended our account. We are working on possible solution."
It is unclear what the issues are, and whether the cyberlocker is looking for a new host. Back in February, the site was blocked by PayPal and they said they were shutting down but instead decided to stay open.
The federal government, with help from the Hollywood studios, has updated the iconic DVD/Blu-ray anti-piracy warnings seen on all new releases.
Instead of just one logo, the new warnings now have three, including one from IPR and one from Homeland Security (seen below).
The original logo has been around since 2004 on all new home releases, and includes text noting that pirates can face jail time and a large fine if they ever decide to rip a movie, make a backup, or share the files illegally.
In the new version, there is a Homeland Security Investigations "special agent" badge reflecting the power the group has had since 2008 in Web matters and there is a second page for the National Intellectual Property Center.
The popular streaming music service Rdio has begun rolling out its new redesign to everyone.
Rdio showed off the redesign at SXSW in March, but kept it under wraps for most users until this week.
A new look and feel - More than just a boring spreadsheet of songs, new Rdio puts music and people front and center.
All in one place - Spend less time navigating. Music, playlists and your network are in one view.
Add entire albums to playlists - One of Rdio's most-requested features is now a reality.
Browse even faster - Find music at lightning speed because pages remember your place. Browse a continuous stream of albums, explore one and easily return to the place you left off.
Listen with your network - From the People Sidebar, see what your network is listening to in real-time and listen along with one-click.
Let your network inspire your listening - Wondering if you'll like an album in the charts or why it appeared in your Heavy Rotation? Under every album, hover over photos to see exactly who listened to it.
Sharing made simple - Drag and drop music into playlists or collection and share with others on Rdio without missing a beat. Music can also be shared on Facebook, Twitter or via email.
The iPhone Dev Team has updated the popular jailbreaking tool.
As announced last month, the group has released an updated version of the tool, one that adds a major new feature. Users can now downgrade any current iOS device to an earlier version of the Apple mobile OS.
After opening redsn0w 0.9.11b1, interested users will find a new "restore" option after clicking through "Extras -> Even More."
Last week, Foxconn chairman Terry Gou revealed in a speech that the company was making preparations to start manufacturing a television from Apple. Development or manufacturing of the device had not stared just yet, but was about to get underway.
Today, the company has rebuffed the original report, saying the CEO did not make any such comments.
Foxconn says Terry Gou "made it very clear that he would neither confirm nor speculate about Foxconn's involvement in the product," and that the company does not talk about current product lines.
"At no time did [Gou] confirm that Foxconn was in development or manufacturing stages for any product for any of its customers," continues Foxconn. "He did say that Foxconn is always prepared to meet the manufacturing needs of customers should they determine that they wish to work with Foxconn in the production of any of their products."
The oft-rumored "iTV" is expected to be a high-end television featuring Siri, FaceTime voice calling, and potentially a la carte cable channels.
Back at the MWC event in February, Asus unveiled its "device-within-a-device," the PadFone.
Today, the company has put together a promotional video for the device, which shows off the impressive unit.
The PadFone runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, is powered by a Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor at 1.5GHz, has a 4.3" Super AMOLED qHD display, an 8MP rear shooter (featuring a 5-element f/2.2 lens) and a stylus that also works as a headset.
On the tablet side, there was not too much info except that it will have a 10.1-inch screen. Between the dock, phone and tablet (check the video) there will be over 14,000mAh of battery power leading to extremely long battery life of up to 102 hours. The device looks very, very intriguing, to say the least.
According to sources, Microsoft's upcoming gaming console will be named "Xbox 8."
The console, which is going by the codename "Durango," was previously rumored to be called Xbox Next, Xbox 720 and Xbox Infinity.
Xbox 8 makes sense given the company's other lines of business. Windows 8 is set for release in October, and the Windows Phone platform is expected to be upgraded to version 8 (dubbed Apollo) at the same time.
The sources cited by thisisxbox say developers have already received alpha versions of the console (in non-console form) that include an Oban chipset made by IBM.
Additionally, the 'Infinity' name will remain around, says the site, becoming an enhanced form of the current Xbox Live. Infinity will connect all Windows 8 digital downloads and apps across the platforms.
Finally the system will include a "service that will bring all current-gen digital stock into a next-gen era on the new console ? it is the backwards compatible functions," says the site.
As with other similar services, the Reading app will make ebooks available in multiple languages. Type is resizable, and Nokia devices each ClearBlack Display "that helps reduce reflections on the screen, and Microsoft?s ClearType technology which renders fonts cleanly, without jagged curves."
Into the future, updates will add audio books and a virtual news magazine.
Thanks to Activision's recent quarterly earnings report, we have some concrete figures on the company's Call of Duty Elite "experiment."
10 million gamers have registered for the service, and a full 2 million are premium subscribers.
That figure in of itself is a 33 percent jump since January, larger growth than expected.
Activision charges $50 for membership, meaning Activision has brought in $100 million in revenue from the service.
"The audience response to Call of Duty Elite's premium service has been beyond our expectations, and we want to thank Call of Duty players around the world for their unprecedented enthusiasm. The number of gamers who have registered for Call of Duty Elite further illustrates how this service is poised to redefine social gaming and set a new bar for interactive entertainment," said Bobby Kotick, CEO, Activision Blizzard, last month.
Additionally, the devices will each include HP's own new cloud service to let users store data online and synchronize files between multiple devices.
After the failure (and post-death success) of the webOS-based HP Touchpad, new CEO Meg Whitman said last year the company would return to the tablet game, with most expecting Windows 8 to be the operating system of choice.
Recent leaked documents showed a 10-inch HP tablet running Windows 8, in early prototype form.
There was no word on pricing or release dates for the tablets, although the OS itself is expected to reach consumers in October.
Noted video game analyst Michael Pachter briefly interviewed Sony America CEO Jack Tretton this weekend.
When asked about his thoughts on blocking used games, the CEO says in his personal opinion he is "opposed to blocking used games."
Furthermore, the exec believes used games are "great for consumers" and a move to block them would incredibly "anti-consumer."
Unfortunately, Tretton had to make it clear he was speaking as an individual and not on behalf of Sony. He added he was unclear on Sony's thoughts on the matter.
Since talk of the next-generation consoles have heated up in the last two months, one rumor still persists, that of Microsoft and Sony looking to add technology that will block the playback of games on more than one console, effectively killing the used games market. Neither company has confirmed or denied such a move.
The Thai government has signed a deal this week that will make them buyers of a large amount of Android tablets.
For $32.5 million, the government will purchase 400,000 Android 4.0 tablets from Shenzhen Scope. The agency will then deploy the tablets for educational purposes, similar to a deal India signed last year.
Additionally, if the original order works out, the government has an option to purchase another 530,000 tablets, at the same price of about $80 per unit.
The tablets themselves are none too shabby, having a 7-inch screen, 8GB storage, 1GB RAM and Ice Cream Sandwich. The devices are the Scopad SP0712.
Shenzhen Scope believes they can attract similar deals from other governments, as well: "Thailand is the first country in which we have provided large numbers of tablets for students. Now we are talking with other governments to provide this kind of tablet device for [other] students, including Pakistan, Brazil and South Africa."
Finnish mobile gaming giant Rovio has announced the name of their upcoming game.
The successor to the unequaled mobile blockbuster 'Angry Birds' will be named "Amazing Alex" and will be based on the game Casey's Contraptions. The company just acquired the game three days ago.
Rovio says the game will have educational aspects, and will involve "a curious young boy who loves to build things."
Casey's Contraptions was released for the iPad last year and saw moderate success. To proceed through the game, gamers must guide Casey to create Rube Goldberg devices from different objects.
Says Rovio: "The gameplay is a perfect fit in our arsenal with its approachable, fun, and highly addictive take on the physics puzzler genre. We are currently reworking the title to enhance it, and getting ready to reintroduce it in a true "expect the unexpected" Rovio style launch to an even larger audience."
Angry Birds recently reached 1 billion downloads, and the game helped Rovio see a profit of $100 million in the first quarter 2012, alone.
Verizon Wireless has announced today that its 4G LTE network will be expanded to 27 new markets in time for the summer season.
Starting on May 17th, communities in "Sea Bright, Monmouth Beach, Belmar, Point Pleasant, Toms River, Atlantic City and into Cape May County will have access" to the 4G network.
Notes the carrier: "The size of our 4G LTE network gives us a significant competitive advantage over competitors as it enables more residents, small businesses and local government to take advantage of the speed and connectivity benefits offered by this advanced technology. We are committed to continuing the aggressive rollout of our 4G LTE network in 2012."
The carrier currently offers 22 LTE-capable devices, including smartphones, tablets, notebooks and hotspot modems.
Verizon's LTE was recently rated the fastest 4G in the nation, beating out AT&T handily and destroying Sprint. T-Mobile is set to launch their LTE network next year.
Market research firm Strand Consult has reported on the recent decline in SMS revenue for carriers and the reasons for it.
While it is well known that global instant messaging services like BlackBerry Messenger, iMessage, Google Talk and WhatsApp are having significant impact on the carrier's text messaging revenue, Strand added one more name to the list; Facebook.
Says the report: "If you look at how most operators market and sell SMS, you will see that most operators charge the customer for each individual SMS he or she sends. In practice this means that the customer has a choice between sending an SMS that the customer knows costs money, or alternatively use his flat rate data subscription to write a message via Facebook if the recipient is on Facebook."
Strand continues: "In many ways one can compare Facebook's development in the mobile industry to how the Internet affected the media industry. Market players like Google, Skype, Twitter and MSN are only marginally important to the mobile industry compared to Facebook. The biggest difference between Facebook and Google is that Facebook is a communication tool that people use to keep in touch with their family and friends every day."
Google is on the verge of acquiring the Meebo social and messaging service.
If accurate, the price tag could be as high as $100 million, say reliable sources.
The company was created in 2005 as an instant messaging add-on for browsers and has been expanded to a "full suite" of social and mobile apps. More importantly, the apps are available to consumers and publishers, each with the intention of making online communication easier.
Meebo Messenger, a variant of the original add-on, still exists today. The company is currently creating a tool to "create an interest profile to get new and timely information about the things that matter to you."
The company has raised over $60 million in venture capital since its inception.
GameStop has confirmed that it is removing PlayStation Portable (PSP) inventory from the smallest 25 percent of stores, in an effort to consolidate supply.
"The consolidation is occurring to maximize the merchandising space in the smallest 25 percent of stores," the chain confirmed. "It will also provide a greater assortment in those stores that will continue to carry the category."
GameStop will continue to sell PSP titles online, and inventory will stay at larger stores throughout the U.S. for now.
The launch of the PlayStation Vita handheld in the U.S. market will probably kill off a lot of remaining demand for PSPs and games on UMD. PS Vita has no UMD drive, instead requiring that all games be purchased digitally.
Users noticed that when Siri is asked to find the "best smartphone ever," it actually gives an answer that recommends rival Nokia's Lumia 900 Windows Phone handset, and not any of Apple's gear.
The reason for Siri's betrayal of iPhone is explained easily though. The service returns results for the question from WolframAlpha, which returns exactly the same result as Siri when asked, "What is the best smartphone ever?".
WolframAlpha's results show that the Nokia Lumia 900 has four user reviews with a score of 5 out of 5, while a list of smartphones ranked by customer review does not even include an iPhone.
Since launching the iPhone 4S, Siri has given all kinds of bizarre answers to questions, ranking from answers that were hilarious to ones that actually caused controversy.
In November, Siri came under fire because it could not provide information on abortion clinics or contraception, but it could answer questions about where to have sex, or where a local escort service is located. Some groups were particularly angered that questions about abortion instead returned results for pregnancy crisis centers.
The news was reported by Bloomberg, based on an IRS notice from late April that contained a list of individuals who have chosen to expatriate.
Eduardo Saverin has sold off some of his Facebook stake, and does not appear in IPO filings that list shareholders with more than 5 percent of the company. Still, Saverin's holdings are believed to be substantial, especially as Facebook's IPO values the company at up to $96 billion.
The IPO could leave Saverin with a hefty capital gains tax bill. In the United States, for those in the higher income bracket, there is a minimum 15 percent rate for long-term capital gains. Saverin lives in Singapore, where there is no capital gains tax.
Renouncing citizenship of the United States is an irrevocable act, according to the State Department, and it is a lengthy process that includes an appearance before a U.S. diplomatic official.
After being convicted in 2009 and losing appeals, the time has finally come for the founders of the infamous torrenttracker The Pirate Bay to "do their time" in prison.
Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neik will all likely face jail time in the Vδstervik Norra facility in Sweden while the fourth founder, Carl Lundstrφm, will spend the next eight months under house arrest in his Stockholm apartment.
One of those men, Peter Sunde, was supposed to begin his sentence this week but has postponed his plight in the eleventh hour, filing a plea with the Swedish government requesting clemency, citing health concerns. Additionally, Sunde says he fears for the future of his micro-payment business, Flattr.
Without his presence, the company would lose its place in the market, reads Sunde's plea: "The idea for the company came from Peter himself, and he has a tremendous commitment to it. Peter's name and reputation in the industry will open many doors. The company has received a substantial amount of risk capital which has mostly been used to develop the product. After about two years development, the product is now basically ready to begin shipping to partners and large sites. A prerequisite for further development is that Peter is left on the company."
It was announced earlier this week that BioShock Infinite would be delayed by its developer, Irrational Games, until February 2013. The news hit shares of publisher Take Two Interactive, as it took the anticipated title out of the vital holiday season.
Ken Levine, creative director at Irrational Games, put the delay down to maximizing game quality, and said the developer simply needed more time.
Michael Pachter, of Wedbush Securities, has another possible explanation for the delay.
"We believe that October is the preferred release month for GTA V?s developer, Rockstar Games, as the studio has scheduled every prior GTA releases during that month (with GTA IV delayed to April 2008, due to bugs in the PS3 version),"Pachter wrote.
"We speculate that once Rockstar Games notified Take-Two that GTA V would be ready by October, Take-Two gave Irrational Games the option to spend more time fine-tuning BioShock Infinite. Although we were confident that both games would sell millions of units when it appeared that they would be released in close proximity, we think that the delay will alleviate any wallet-share concerns and ensure that both games receive the undivided attention of Take-Two?s management and marketing teams, and will ensure that retail support is optimized."
Infamous BitTorrent site denounces Virgin Media attack.
The Pirate Bay has declared that DDoS attacks against websites are an "ugly" method that mirror efforts to block the BitTorrent website itself. Earlier this week, Virgin Media confirmed that its website was taken offline amidst an ongoing DDoS attack, allegedly carried out as revenge for the ISP blocking the Pirate Bay.
The Pirate Bay took to Twitter and to Facebook to denounce attacks such as these that are carried out in its name..
"Seems like some random Anonymous groups have run a DDOS campaign against Virgin media and some other sites.
We'd like to be clear about our view on this:
We do NOT encourage these actions. We believe in the open and free internets, where anyone can express their views. Even if we strongly disagree with them and even if they hate us.
So don't fight them using their ugly methods. DDOS and blocks are both forms of censorship.
If you want to help; start a tracker, arrange a manifestation, join or start a pirate party, teach your friends the art of bittorrent, set up a proxy, write your political representatives, develop a new p2p protocol, print some pro piracy posters and decorate your town with, support our promo bay artists or just be a nice person and give your mom a call and tell her you love her."
All ISPs in the UK, including Everything Everywhere, O2, Sky, TalkTalk, and Virgin Media, were ordered to stop users from accessing the Pirate Bay website. Following a DDoS attack against Virgin Media, the ISP pointed out that it didn't have a choice in whether to block the website or not.
Chairman Terry Gou revealed in a speech that the company was making preparations to start manufacturing a television from Apple, according to China Daily. Development or manufacturing of the device has not stared just yet, according to the report.
Gou also confirmed that the recent $808 million deal with Sharp - which saw Foxconn buy a 10 percent share in the consumer electronics firm - was made in preparation for the Apple television. Reports had suggested that Apple was considering buying a stake in Sharp for panel production, but Foxconn tied up a deal instead.
Apple was reportedly interesting in using Sharp's technology to produce Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide (IGZO) panels for its television. IGZO panel production was started in March by Sharp, and it allows the company to produce thinner and more powerful LCD panels.
The test lets users pay a small fee which will make information they post more visible to friends, family and colleagues. The test is being run in New Zealand, with Facebook saying they want to see if some users would be willing to pay a small fee to flag up their posts.
"We're constantly testing new features across the site,"said a Facebook spokesperson. "This particular test is simply to gauge people's interest in this method of sharing with their friends."
The spokesperson said that different ways of highlighting posts were being tested, and for a range of different small fees. Payments are accepted via PayPal or Credit Card.
As Facebook continues to grow, revenue growth has slowed down and the firm is looking for ways to ensure it has the long-term ability to gain revenue. It announced yesterday that it will launch a new App Center that allows developers to sell games and other apps directly to Facebook users. It will take a 30 percent cut of revenue.
MP3Tunes is a music storage service headed up former MP3.com founder Michael Robertson. In 2007, it was sued by EMI Group and fourteen other record companies and music publishers for alleged copyright infringement offences.
In 2011, a Manhatten federal judge ruled that MP3Tunes was not violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in permitting users to download tracks, except in cases where songs have been identified as pirates tracks.
In effect, this meant that MP3Tunes was not responsible for the copyright infringement of others, but could be found liable for contributory infringement where notices of alleged infringement were provided and not acted on.
The court did find MP3Tunes CEO Michael Robertson liable for having personally transferred songs from unauthorized websites.
If you combine the same of consoles and games, spending dropped 32 percent in April this year, compared to April in 2011. Gamers spent 42 percent less on games in April 2012, according to NPD, which blames a lack of compelling game launches so far in 2012.
U.S. gamers spent $630 million in April, of which $307 million was spent on buying games for consoles and handhelds, down from $533 million of April 2011. One aspect of the steep decline may have been Easter falling in March, rather than in April, according to Anita Frazier, video game market analyst at NPD.
"We usually find that Easter-related purchases generate an extra 10 per cent in revenue in the month they occur,"she said, "so some of the softness compared to last April could be attributed to the shift in Easter timing."
However, Frazier said the primary reason for the drop in sales is the light release schedule by game makers in the early months of the year, commenting that when a compelling title is released by a game maker, it still sells as well as ever.
Pirate Party cannot help users to circumvent block.
The court in The Hague sided with anti-piracy group Brein in ordered the Pirate Party to stop publicizing ways to circumvent the block on the Pirate Bay website in the country. All major Dutch ISPs have been ordered to block access to the notorious BitTorrent website, as have most in the UK.
The Pirate Party also cannot offer a proxy that can let users obtain TPB's links without directly visiting the file sharing site. The group has described the ruling as a slap in the face of the free Internet.
"The judge decided to give the Netherlands another nudge on the gliding scale of censorship,"it said."More and more bits of the internet will have to be censored because they might be used to get access to 'infringing' sites, until eventually most of the internet will be unreachable."
In the UK, the Pirate Party continues to instruct users on how to get around the Pirate Bay blockade in effect in the country. It will be interesting to see if the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) tries to follow Brein and have a court gag them.
Microsoft finally bringing full browser to console.
The Verge cites sources who inform it that Microsoft is working on a version of Internet Explorer 9 for the Xbox 360 console. The full browser lets Xbox 360 users finally surf the web using the console, which is a feature that has been a long time coming.
According to the sources, Microsoft has integrated Kinect voice and gesture control to the browser, although you won't need to have Kinect to use the browser.
There is no indication of when Microsoft is planning to deliver the new browser to Xbox consoles, but E3 is approaching again so it could be officially confirmed very soon.
According to new StatCounter figures, mobile now accounts for 10 percent of all Internet usage worldwide, double the number from just 18 months ago.
Asia is seeing the biggest share of the traffic, up to 18 percent of total net usage, but most other nations are seeing strong growth, as well.
The figure makes sense given the fact that smartphone shipments rose 40 percent year-on-year to 144.9 million during the last quarter, alone. Tablet sales remain strong, as well, mainly thanks to the iPad.
Breaking the growth by region shows significant across the globe for the period. Asia saw 192 percent growth since 2010 for mobile Internet, while Europe saw 183 percent. Oceania saw 162 percent growth while Africa saw 155 percent.
North America was the laggard, thanks to their already strong smartphone population. North America growth came in at 69 percent.
The HBO blockbuster hit show "Game of Thrones" is well on its way to becoming the most pirated TV show in 2012.
According to data from P2P analysis firm Big Champagne, the show has been downloaded over 25 million times on public torrent trackers, alone, since April, when the show's second season began.
"It certainly appears to be the most pirated show of the year," notes John Robinson, a senior media analyst with Big Champagne. "The fact that it's consistently at the top of the Pirate Bay's top one hundred TV show chart seems like a pretty in-your-face leading indicator of the huge volume at which this is being shared."
Looking back, the first season of Game of Thrones was the second most pirated TV season of all time, right behind the latest season of "Dexter."
However, the latest season of GoT is already handily beating the last season of Dexter, as per this chart:
Although HTC claims that AT&T has not allowed them to unlock their own bootloader for the One X, the development community has gone ahead and taken care of the issue.
Thanks to a poster on XDA Developers, there is now a one-click rooting solution for the new flagship Android device.
By having root access, owner's can backup their apps and data easier, remove bloatware, overclock the processor and have additional access to their phone's system.
HTC's One X device is the high-end model among three new phone "HTC One" branded phones.
The device has a large 4.7-inch display with 1,280x720-pixelHDresolution and Gorilla Glass. The phone runs on Android 4.0 with HTC Sense 4.0, and the phone maker has decided to keep three buttons, one for back, home and running/recent apps.
For now, there is only a non-working prototype of the device, but it should be a significant evolution to previous devices, especially the Logitech Revue. The Revue failed so spectacularly that it caused the ouster of the company's CEO and a $90 million loss.
What makes the new box special is the remote control, which is a "double sided device with a keyboard on one side and a track pad and other buttons in the other," explains Phandroid.
The hardware itself will be nothing too special, and be cased in a simple black set-top box.
Sony says the device is coming this summer, with more word and demo at the upcoming Google I/O conference.
T-Mobile USA has announced it has lost another 510,000 subscribers this quarter, failing to stop the bleeding of the past few years.
The loss was the 10th straight quarterly subscriber decline for the carrier, which is the fourth largest in the U.S. at 33 million customers.
Many blame T-Mobile's fate on the lack of Apple's popular iPhone device, as it remains the only major carrier to not carry it. The company is expected to launch an LTE network next year, and get the iPhone, but it may be too late by then.
Additionally, the carrier held off an all "strategic plans" during the end of 2011, as the company was sold to AT&T for $39 billion. However, the takeover was stopped by the FCC and Department of Justice, who sued to block the merger due to monopoly concerns. That break in moving forward has left the carrier struggling to keep up, say most analysts. Because of the broken merger, however, the company was given billions in break-up fees and spectrum, leaving the carrier with money and opportunity for the future.
The extremely popular Kickstarter project Pebble has sold out, 8 days ahead of its expected close date.
Pebble, which smashed all Kickstarter funding records, reached $10 million and 85,000 units pre-ordered, causing founder Eric Migicovsky to shut down the funding process earlier than its May 18th end date.
Migicovsky also announced that the company has had to double its team from five employees to ten.
The Pebble is compatible with iOS and Android and has a 1.26-inch 144 x 168-pixel black and white ePaper display with a backlight. The device syncs to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and the company just added support for Bluetooth 4.0 via a future firmware update.
Additionally, the watch has a three-axis accelerometer, a vibrating motor and four control buttons for volume and more.
In the UK, video games have been rated by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). Now, the responsibility is being passed on to the Video Standards Council (VSC), which will rate games to the specifications of the Pan European Game Information (Pegi) system. The change is expected to happen in July.
The BBFC will still be called upon at times to judge titles that contain gross violence, or strong sexual material.
The changes now mean that there can be criminal punishment, potentially jail time, for selling a game to a child younger than the title is rated for. The new ratings only apply to in-store purchases, and not to games sold over the Internet.
"It will give parents greater confidence that their children can only get suitable games while we are creating a simpler system for industry having their games age-rated," said Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey.
The UK games industry's trade association, Tiga, has backed the switch to the Pegi system. "It simplifies the system," said Tiga's Richard Wilson. "The Pegi system is reasonably easy to understand. The fact there are criminal sanctions in place will mean that retailers will want to train and support their staff."
Considering the record loss that Sony has just experienced, it could do with some good news. New chief executive Kazuo Hirai revealed that 1.8 million PlayStation Vita units have been sold by the firm so far globally.
"The last year, [we sold] 1.8 million units for US, Japan, Asia and Europe. And as a starting phase, I think it was a good start," he revealed during an earnings call. The sales figure is reportedly absent from financial reports released by Sony today.
"A game platform, like Vita - the software is the key to success, how good the software is. We have to reinforce the software area in order to improve the business, that is the basic line," said Hirai.
Sony expects to sell 16 million handheld gaming units over the coming year (10 million Vitas, 6 million PSPs).
Among the new regulations is a maximum limit of 70 cent per MB of data used while roaming within the EU, far below what some carriers are currently charging. Calls will also be capped at a maximum of 29c per minute (excluding VAT).
Additionally, customers can also choose a different operator abroad if they choose to do so. "In a borderless Europe, there is no place for charges that diverge so much at home and abroad," said MEP Ivo Belet.
The Official Charts Company (OCC) in the UK is to compile a top 100 chart of music streamed from services such as Spotify. It estimates that 2.6 billion audio streams were delivered in the UK last year. The new chart tracking what's currently popular will launch next Monday.
Nevertheless, the OCC is correct to recognise streaming music with its own charts, as music streaming has overtaken paid downloads.
Streaming has become a new source of money for the industry, but not everybody is convinced that it is enough to replace record sales, or that it is distributed fairly. Rock group Black Keys decided to withhold their new album El Camino from Spotify due to issues with royalties.
"It's set up to be a little bit more fair for the labels than it is for the artists, I think," said Black Keys' Patrick Carney. "It still isn't at a point where you're able to replace royalties from record sales with the royalties from streams."
The new App Center will launch within the next few weeks, providing Facebook users with a hub to find games and other apps. Developers can use the hub to provide free apps, or to sell them to Facebook's gigantic userbase.
Some concerns have been raised by investors about Facebook's long-term ability to sustain revenue, as the social network approaches an initial public offering that could value it at up to $96 billion. Growth of Facebook is being driven strongly by mobile usage, but the service only provides limited ads to mobile users.
The social networking giant has admitted that its number of daily users is fast outpacing the ads it can deliver. It does get revenue from fees on sales of goods within apps on the site, such as Farmville, but its primary source of revenue is advertising.
Nokia doesn't expect dismissal to affect sales in Britain.
In June 2011, a High Court ruling in the UK found that Nokia was infringing a patent held by German firm IPCom. The Finnish mobile giant moved to appeal the ruling, but has had its appeal rejected, paving the way for IPCom to take further action in a case stemming back five years.
Nokia has complained that IPCom's licensing fee demands are unjustifiable and excessive. Despite the decision by the British court to reject its appeal, Nokia said the dismissal would not affect sales of its handsets in Britain.
The court in The Hague has ordered Internet service providers UPC, KPN, Tele2, T-Mobile and Telfort to block access to the Pirate Bay website, mirroring an order issues by a court in the United Kingdom recently.
The court decision comes just after the Netherlands became the first state in the EU to pass Net Neutrality, barring ISPs from throttling traffic to certain services, or charging for access to certain bandwidth-demanding services.
ISPs are expected to appeal against the court's decision. They had attempted to demonstrate to the court that use of public proxy servers, or even just using Google Translate, would circumvent any such blockade, making it completely pointless.
New chief executive, Kazuo Hirai, faces enormous challenges.
The Japanese consumer electronics firm is slashing costs in an effort to halt huge losses that have plagued it in recent years. Sony's TV business alone accounts for $12 billion in losses over the past nine years. The company is planning to cut 6 percent of its workforce - about 10,000 jobs - in a bid to turn the TV unit around.
Shares of Sony Corp (valued at around $15 billion) have hit a quarter-century low. Hirai is determined to change the fortunes of the PlayStation-maker, with the firm reporting a record loss of $5.74 billion in the year just ended.
The company is to focus more efforts on smartphones and other mobile devices, its games division, advanced medical devices and batteries for electric cars. It expects to sell 33 million smartphones this year (compared to 22.5 million last year), but predicts an 11 percent decline in PlayStation sales, to 16 million units.
"The operating profit forecast isn't far off the level seen two years ago ... This suggests we're on a recovery trend and last year was definitely the bottom," said Kenichi Hirano, operating officer at Tachibana Securities in Tokyo.
At CES, Samsung followed in LG's footsteps in unveiling a 55-inch OLED TV for the masses.
Differentiating the TV is its "Super OLED" panel which "has self-emitting RGB sub-pixels and is faster than LED," says the company. OLED panels will provide "accurate color reproduction and 'true-to-life picture quality,'" and the OLED display will "virtually eliminate motion blur," as well, noted Samsung, at the time.
Furthermore, the TV included Samsung's newly introduced "Smart Interaction" technology, which includes an integrated webcam and two mics for motion and voice control. For example, you can turn on/off the TV, raise the volume, use some apps, facial recognition and even search via the built-in browser using the interface. The TV will be powered by a dual-core processor.
Today, Samsung has said the TV will be available "during the second half of this year in the domestic market" (meaning South Korea) at an equivalent cost of $9000 USD, making it more than double the price of the next most expensive 55-inch display in the market.
Apple and Foxconn have announced today they will share the initial costs of improving Chinese factories where millions of iOS devices are built.
Foxconn CEO Terry Gou would not give a figure on the costs but with over 1 million workers the upgrades will certainly not come cheap. Adds the exec:
"We've discovered that this (improving factory conditions) is not a cost. It is a competitive strength. I believe Apple sees this as a competitive strength along with us, and so we will split the initial costs."
In February, wages were raised, on average, 21 percent for its workers and last month the two companies reached an agreement to hire new workers and cut overtime for existing workers.
Foxconn has become infamous for a string of suicides in 2010 and 2011 in which workers killed themselves to have their families collect on a higher payout than they would have made in years of working.
RIM has announced today that the U.S. Department of Defense has approved agency use of a number of BlackBerry 7 smartphones.
After successful testing by U.S. Army and Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) sponsors and partners, the following phones are now listed on DISA's Unified Communications Approved Product List (UCAPL):
BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 (touch screen with keyboard)
BlackBerry Torch 9810 (touch screen with slide out keyboard)
BlackBerry Torch 9850 and 9860 (full screen touch screen)
BlackBerry Curve 9360 (keyboard)
"The Army introduced a wide range of new apps and capabilities for their BlackBerry users last year, and these new BlackBerry 7 smartphones will now enable Army users, and all DoD users, to experience an even greater level of performance on new smartphones that include features such as voice activated universal search, Near Field Communications, Augmented Reality, and Social Feeds 2.0 just to name a few," says Scott Totzke, SVP, BlackBerry Security Group at RIM. "RIM's unwavering focus on security and RIM's achievement of key security certifications including FIPS 140-2 validation and Common Criteria EAL4+ accreditation continue to be very important to many of our DoD and enterprise customers, but leveraging the full power of BlackBerry smartphones is also important as it helps them realize the full potential of their investment in the BlackBerry platform."
Samsung has purchased the cloud music and movie provider mSpot for $9 million.
The service will be prominently featured in Samsung's ecosystem including being added to all upcoming Samsung phones and tablets as a "featured app."
"mSpot shares our vision to bring a best-in-class cloud and streaming entertainment experience to consumers, and they've backed it up with innovative technical solutions from a great engineering team,"added TJ Kang, senior vice president of Samsung Electronics' media solution center.
The service allows users to upload their own music and stream it wherever there is an Internet connection, similar to Google Music. Users are also given 5GB free storage and unlimited access on one mobile device.
If you have an Android device, playing a song will also launch a related streaming music station, similar to Pandora or Slacker.
This morning, a report hit the wire that AOL was looking to sell its popular Engadget and TechCrunch tech content sites.
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has denied the report, claiming it is "100 percent untrue."
Adds Armstrong: "We are planning to invest in those properties, not sell them." The CEO did note that he had held discussions with other companies for investment opportunities but it seems that AOL will invest in the blogs itself.
TechCrunch backed the story, as well, noting "a gaggle of Aol folks decided it might be smart to turn TC, Engadget and some other tech properties (including some yet to be acquired) into a separate company/entity, valued at $200 million. Eventually, as Armstrong alludes to in [the] Ad Age article, the plan was scrapped."
The site then criticized the editor of the original report, who happened to be a former TC writer: "We figure this story got skewed because PandoDaily is going through its own troubles, and looking for a target to project its drama onto; Sometimes not wanting to seem weak makes you seem weak."
Microsoft has updated two of its most popular Xbox Live apps today.
The MLB.tv app, which launched in March in North America, will now be pushed to 18 new nations. Those countries are Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Gamers in those nations can now install the premium app and gain access to live and on-demand MLB games.
The free CinenaNow app has also been updated to include new release movies and TV shows. The app gives users access to premium video content, either for rental or for purchase.
Says MajorNelson: "Today, the CinemaNow app in the U.S. will be offer instant access to an extensive library of premium video content for rental and purchase, featuring new release movies and TV shows with no subscription required."
Apple has confirmed the third-generation iPad will be headed to 30 new nations next week.
On May 11th, the tablet will reach Argentina, Aruba, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Curacao, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Malta, Martinique, Mauritius, Morocco, Peru, Taiwan, Tunisia, and Vietnam.
The next day, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates will get access to the popular device.
Apple's latest, which adds a more powerful processor and Retina Display, saw strong sales last quarter for the company. The LTE device saw 3 million sales in its first weekend and continues to see millions sold per month.
Stories like that of of the billion-dollar Instagram sale have put a lot of focus on the mobile app space. Research conducted by App Promo will probably dampen hopes for a lot of developers looking to become the next millionaires.
It found that more than 59 percent of apps do not generate enough revenue to break even. Only 12 percent of mobile app developers earn $50,000 or more for their apps, most of which have budgets around $30,000 for development, and also spend on average 14% of the revenue on marketing.
"With over a million applications in the market across platforms, app publishers are finding it increasingly challenging to cut through the noise and get their apps discovered and downloaded,"the firm wrote in its white paper.
"Those developers that spend money and time on marketing outside of the app stores found the most success based on the revenue they had earned for their app. This core finding echoes what we believe as a leading app marketing and strategy firm, that in order to make an app a successful business you need to ensure that you have a budget and time allocated to marketing and promoting your app."
HTML5 can unlock apps from specific operating systems.
Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs spoke at the CTIA trade show, arguing that HTML5 can free mobile users from limits of operating systems. He likened the current situation to the days when AOL had its customers in a "walled garden", but ultimately users decided to move away.
"In the early days of AOL we were within their walls,"he said. "And it all worked great until it didn't." The next chapter of the Internet was "open", he said, and predicted that it is also the next step for mobile users.
"The Web grew by an order of magnitude," he said. "The shift changed our world. Humans don't like walls. We want to wander. And we want freedom."
Over 64% of the time users spend on their smartphones, they are using some specific app. Kovacs also admitted that browser providers, like Mozilla, have failed to innovate for the mobile space. "All we've done is shrinkage," he said, pointing out also that only 10 percent of websites are optimized for mobile screens.
Rovio is celebrating a huge milestone for its baby, Angry Birds. Combining all versions of the game, free and premium, Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Rio, and Angry Birds Space, the phenomenon now accounts for over one billion downloads.
"We are so thankful to all of our fans for their support, and we can?t wait for them to see what we have coming up,"said Rovio communications specialist Sini Matikainen.
Angry Birds exploded in popularity shortly after its 2009 launch for iOS devices. It is one of the most profitable games in history.
Everything Everywhere asked Ofcom - the UK communications regulator - to allow it to use some of its existing spectrum to roll out next generation 4G services in the region. Ofcom had a consultation period while it is considering EE's request, and of course, all three main rivals attacked the proposal.
O2, Vodafone and Three all expressed their opposition to the plan, calling it unfair and questioning the regulators goals for competition in the market.
"We are concerned that Ofcom's proposal to allow one operator to launch 4G early on its existing spectrum is contradictory to its objective of delivering a competitive market environment with four competing players," an O2 spokesman told the BBC.
Vodafone said that permission for EE to use existing spectrum for next generation services would represent an unfair race.
"We can't understand why Ofcom would ignore the overwhelming evidence that giving Everything Everywhere a head start could seriously undermine competition in the UK market," Vodafone said in a statement. "Put simply, why is it that the French and German runners should be allowed to start the 4G race whilst the British runner is still chained to the starting blocks? Is that what we can expect at the forthcoming Olympics?"
An 18 year old and a 19 year old have been arrested by police in Norway in connection with cyber attacks against several targets across the world, including Britain's Serious Online Crime Agency (Soca). Other victims reportedly include the Norwegian lottery, the Bild newspaper in Germany and several American websites.
The National Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) in Norway said it was investigation distributed denial of service (ddos) attacks against websites over a period of a few weeks.
"The case is still under investigation," said Norwegian prosecutor Erik Moestue. "It is still too early to say anything about the motive for the actions."
"We have arrested the two we think were most important in these attacks, but we still want to talk to more people,"he added. Two two teens arrested in the case so far were charged last week. The maximum penalty for their alleged crimes is six years imprisonment.
The third instalment of the mega-popular BioShock series has been pushed back until next year, it was announced today. Its developer, Irrational Games, said it needs more time and money to complete the eagerly anticipated title.
BioShock Infinite was originally due to go on sale in October this year, but has been pushed to February 26, 2013. "Bioshock Infinite is a very big game, and we're doing things no-one has ever done in a first-person shooter,"said game designerKen Levine.
"We had a similar experience with the original Bioshock which was delayed several months. Irrational Games is one of those rare developers lucky enough to ask the people who sign the cheques: 'Hey, can we have a few more."
The delay means that BioShock Infinite will avoid head-on launch competition with other heavyweights, such as Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.
BioShock Infinite moves the gamer from below the waves and into a Sky city environment with an ongoing civil war between an ultranationalist ruling class and a resistance movement. At the E3 conference last year, a preview of BioShock Infinite won the Best of Show award, and received praise from critics.
Hybrid Memory Cube is a revolutionary innovation in DRAM memory architecture that sets a new standard for memory performance. To help develop the new technology, Micron and Samsung lead a consortium of industry players for research and development.
Microsoft has become the seventh core member of the consortium. "The Cube represents a major step forward in the direction of increasing memory bandwidth and performance, while decreasing the energy and latency for moving data between the memory arrays and the processor cores,"saidKD Hallman, general manager of Microsoft?s strategic software/silicon architectures group.
The consortium lists some potential benefits from Hybrid Memory Cube usage, such as..
HMC Combines high-speed logic process technology with a stack of through-silicon-via (TSV) bonded memory die.
HMC delivers dramatic improvements in performance, breaking through the memory wall and enabling dramatic performance and bandwidth improvements - a single HMC can provide more than 15x the performance of a DDR3 module.
The revolutionary architecture of HMC is exponentially more efficient than current memory, utilizing 70% less energy per bit than DDR3 DRAM technologies..
Hybrid Memory Cube's increased density per bit and reduced form factor contribute to lower total cost of ownership, by allowing more memory into each machine and using nearly 90% less space than today's RDIMMs.
Hybrid Memory Cube represents the key to extending network system performance to push through the challenges of new 100G and 400G infrastructure growth. Eventually, HMC will drive exascale CPU system performance growth for next generation HPC systems.
The Netherlands has become the first country in the European Union to enshrine Net Neutrality into national law. Legislation had been introduced on the issue in the country in June 2011, and it cleared the second legislative chamber yesterday.
Providers of mobile Internet services in the country, such as KPN, had hoped to throttle certain bandwidth intensive services, or even charge for access to particular types of service on their networks. With the new Net Neutrality law in place, they cannot discriminate in this fashion.
Exceptions to the rules include times of significant network congestion where it is unavoidable, and for reasons of network security.
Bits of Freedom, a Dutch lobby group, said that the law also includes provisions against wiretapping, making it illegal to use deep packet inspections on customers' Internet communications without their prior consent.
T-Mobile USA parent Deutsche Telekom is currently in serious discussions with MetroPCS in regards to a merger, sale or other transaction.
The company is considering a "stock-swap transaction that would give the German company control over the combined entity, which would be publicly listed. A second option is for T-Mobile to go public and third option is an outright sale of T-Mobile USA to MetroPCS.
Telekom has been looking to dump T-Mobile USA for over a year, and its $39 billion sale to AT&T last year was blocked by the US Department of Justice.
Despite cheaper prices and a fast network in metro areas, the carrier has been losing contract subscribers to bigger rivals AT&T and Verizon and there has been little stoppage to the exodus.
MetroPCS, a smaller but growing competitor, has been desperately seeking assets from the majors, and would welcome an infusion of customers or spectrum.
T-Mobile USA has 33 million subscribers but lost 1.65 million last year as rivals like Verizon gained over 2 million.
A group claiming to be the Russian branch of 'Anonymous' has taken down the websites of the Kremlin.
The group also claimed responsibility for shuttering sites linked to the Russian president.
More specifically, the sites kremlin.ru and президент.рф have been unavailable for periods although as of posting both seem to be available.
The group tweeted this morning that "Kremlin.ru - TANGO DOWN." Additionally, the company posted screenshots showing the site down across the world.
Although no one claimed responsibility, the Russian Federal Security Service wesbite, fsb.ru, has seen sporadic outages as well today, says RT.
The Kremlin responded to the attacks: "We received threats from Anonymous several days ago but we can't confirm it's exactly this group that attacked the Kremlin.ru website. At the moment we can't establish who's behind the attack. Unfortunately we live at a time when technology security threats have mounted, but we have the means to resist them."
MySpace shared personal information with advertisers, FTC alleged.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced yesterday that MySpace has agreed to settle charges that it misled its users about its practices of sharing information with advertisers.
The FTC found MySpace to be in breach of the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework in its data sharing practices and pursued it in May 2010. Now MySpace has agreed to settle the case and establish a comprehensive privacy program, submitting to third-party audits for the next 20 years.
Apple just released the latest update for its iOS devices, v5.1.1, in which it address three big security fixes.
The first fix is for a flaw that allows for the address bar to be spoofed in such a way as to trick a user into thinking they are on a certain website, when in fact they are on a completely different site. The address bar should not be spoof-able for this reason, as spammers and malware peddlers could use this flaw as part of an attack.
The second fix is for a cross site scripting (XSS) flaw that could be used to recover session authentication data or other information stored legitimately by a website in the browser. Such information could be used to impersonate a user online.
The third fix is for a remote code execution bug that could be used to push malware or other nasty code to your device without you even knowing about it, just by landing on a page that was crafted to exploit the flaw.
United States Magistrate Judge Gary R Brown laments "abusive litigation."
Brown criticised legal arguments that an IP address is sufficient for identifying an individual responsible for copyright infringement online. He made the comments in the K-Beech, Inc. v. John Does 1-37 case which deals with the illegal sharing of adult entertainment videos.
"The assumption that the person who pays for Internet access at a given location is the same individual who allegedly downloaded a single sexually explicit film is tenuous, and one that has grown more so over time. An IP address provides only the location at which one of any number of computer devices may be deployed, much like a telephone number can be used for any number of telephones,"Brown commented.
"Thus, it is no more likely that the subscriber to an IP address carried out a particular computer function ? here the purported illegal downloading of a single pornographic film ? than to say an individual who pays the telephone bill made a specific telephone call."
Brown also noted some of the defendants claims. One woman, for example, said that her wireless router was not secured and that she lives beside a municipal parking lot where somebody might have used her connection to download or share files.
Pandora is second most downloaded app from Apple's App Store.
Chief Executive Joe Kennedy said in a keynote address at the CTIA Wireless conference that the Pandora music service has passed 150 million users. The tallies of registered and active users have increased by 50 percent since the beginning of the 2012 financial year, according to Kennedy.
A lot of the growth was attributed to mobile usage, with 70 percent of the music streamed from Pandora in April being on mobile devices.
Pandora faces increasing competition from rival music services, such as Spotify, which claims to have 3 million paying customers now. Still, Pandora believes this is just the beginning for the company. It is currently working to get the service integrated into cars from several automakers.
A Pastebin user posted five pages of Twitter usernames and passwords on Monday, fuelling reports that there has been a massive attack on Twitter's servers. Celebrity accounts were also reported to be among the bunch of compromised details.
Twitter has denied that any major successful hack has occurred, but admitted it was still investigating the situation. A Twitter representative told Mashable that the list contained 20,000 duplicates, and also spam accounts that have already been suspended by the service.
Additionally, many of the usernames and passwords were found to not match up. The microblogging site has sent out password reset instructions to accounts it thinks might have been affected by the release of the login information, but its unclear where any legitimate details may have come from.
App uses only data, without touching users quote of call minutes or texts.
Of course there are several alternative apps that have been around before Telefonica's new "Tu Me" app, such as Skype, Viber and Whatsapp, but Telefonica says it would rather keep the customer than lost them to other products and services. Providers have long viewed apps like Skype as a threat.
The app launches for iPhones first, with an Android app set to be released very soon.
Both the caller and recipient require the app to be installed to work. Users will receive a pop-up notification when someone is trying to get in contact, although unlike Skype, users cannot make calls to normal telephone numbers.
Messages transmitted using the app will also be encrypted to ensure privacy.
"We've seen the growing popularity of communication apps on smartphones but we believe we've gone one better with Tu Me using our knowledge and insights of how people use their devices,"said Telefonica Digital's chief commercial officer Stephen Shurrock.
California Judge throws out Proview iPad trademark suit.
The Chinese firm told a court in California that Apple deceived it by purchasing the rights to the iPad name through a special-purpose vehicle. The lawsuit was filed back in February of this year, while Proview and Apple are also locked in a trademark dispute in China.
Judge Mark Pierce said that both parties had agreed to settle any disagreements in Hong Kong, dismissing the case last week.
A spokeswoman for Apple told Reuters that Proview is just truing to unfairly get more from Apple for a trademark that it already paid for.
Apple claims to have bought ownership of the iPad trademark in various countries from Proview, but the Chinese company argues that Apple only dealt with one unit of Proview, and that it retains the iPad trademark in the Chinese market.
Twitter announcements suggested that Anonymous was responsible for taking the site offline, although Virgin Media says it took it down itself for about an hour during a distributed denial of service attack.
The ISP recently began blocking access to the Pirate Bay in compliance with a High Court order. Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk and O2 have also been ordered to block access to the BitTorrent website by Friday, while BT has requested a few more weeks to consider its options.
"As a responsible ISP, Virgin Media complies with court orders but we strongly believe that tackling the issue of copyright infringement needs compelling legal alternatives, giving consumers access to great content at the right price, to help change consumer behaviour," Virgin Media said in a statement.
The High Court order in the UK is just another attempt to block access to one of the world's most notorious web services, which has survived raids and even legal proceedings against its founders in Sweden.
Lenovo's K Series smart TVs are powered by Android 4.0 and new Qualcomm processor.
As part of its PC Plus strategy, Lenovo has launched its K-series Smart TV products in China. The PC-maker is looking to gain more ground in the global market for "PC Plus" devices, such as Smart TVs, smartphones, tablets and so forth.
"While we continue to strengthen our position in the PC industry, we are also further expanding into the field of Internet devices, with innovative smart phones and tablets, and today, smart TVs," said Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo Group Chairman and CEO.
"As a global leader in the PC industry, our customers look to us to provide new technologies, and as we drive further into the PC-Plus era, we will continue to introduce new products worldwide. The PC-Plus era is a great opportunity for our customers and Lenovo intends to remain out in front, leading as always with exciting new products."
Lenovo is releasing four Lenovo Smart TV K-series devices ? the 55-inch screen K91 and K81 and the 42-inch screen K81 and K71 ? priced from RMB14,999 to RMB6,499. They are the first television products to adopt the Android 4.0 OS and a new Qualcomm dual core 1.5GHz CPU.
Motorola had won the right to force Microsoft to recall and destroy Xbox consoles and Windows 7 copies in a patent licensing dispute. Though Motorola had won this right in a Mannheim court, a U.S. court ordered Motorola to hold off from enforcing the ruling until it ruled on another related complaint between the two.
In a Seattle court, Judge James Robart slammed the companies for burdening the legal system with these claims. "The court is well aware that it is being used as a pawn in a global, industry-wide business negotiation," Robart said.
"To an outsider looking at it, it has been arbitrary, it has been arrogant and, frankly, it has been based on hubris."
He also commented that the legal fees involved in the case could finance a small country. Two claims are being examined by the court related to the patent dispute between Motorola and Microsoft.
Motorola claims that Microsoft failed to pay license fees for two patents related to the H.264 video technology. Microsoft has argued that Motorola is asking for far too much in fees, claiming that if it met Motorola's demands it would face an annual bill of $4 billion.
Verizon Wireless has announced that the Droid Incredible 4G will go on sale via the carrier in the "coming weeks."
The device runs on Android 4.0.x, is powered by a powerful 1.2 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and has 4G LTE support. The phone also features a 4-inch LCD quarter high definition display, dual cameras and a 1,700 mAh removable battery.
Although pricing was not unveiled, it is expected to sell for $299 with contract, just like most of Verizon's 4G Android devices.
HTC notes Beats Audio tech will be included and the Incredible will have "high quality photo and audio capabilities." Among those features are a camera quick activation feature and HTC Video Pic for shooting stills while capturing video.
Last last week, it emerged that an OS X Lion security update released in February, 10.7.3, had a flaw relating to the FileVault encryption feature. A debug option appears to have been left enabled by an engineer, which resulted in users' FileVault passwords being saved in a plain-text log file.
The file is accessible outside the encrypted area by anyone with access to the disk, or by malware that knows where to look. Not everybody will be affected though.
According to Sophos, the issue affects those who used the FileVault encryption option for their home directories with Snow Leopard. It does not impact users who did not upgrade from Snow Leopard. It also does not affect users of FileVault2 or those who have full disk encryption enabled.
Vulnerable users who opt not to encrypt their Time Machine backups also risk replicating the log file in their backups.
Labour MP Keith Vaz has a history of opposition to the sale of video games depicting violence in the UK. In 2004, he claimed the killer of a 14 year old boy had been influenced by Manhunt, despite the fact that the victim himself was the one who owned the video game.
He also linked Counter Strike to race shootings in Sweden in 2010, and to shootings on U.S. campuses in 2007. This time, Vaz has linked Call of Duty: Modern Warfare with the massacre in Norway last July.
"This House is reminded of the consequences of the ineffectual Pan European Game Information (Pegi) classification system for video games following the testimony of Anders Breivik about the tragic events in Norway in July 2011,"Vaz' motion reads.
Mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik has claimed that he used Modern Warfare to help him plot his July 2011 attacks in Norway.
Vaz is concerned that the Pegi classification system only assigns an age rating to a video game, and does not restrict ultra-violent content. Breivik was 32 years old when he carried out his attack in Norway.
The Windows Phone 7 device will go on sale on May 20th.
AT&T has introduced the Samsung Focus 2 this week, another low-priced Windows Phone that will boast 4G LTE support.
The Focus 2 has a 4-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen, with 800x480 resolution, runs on a 1.4 GHz single-core processor, has 8 GB of internal storage, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and a front-facing VGA camera for video chat.
AT&T began selling the Lumia 900 last month for $99.99, marking a new ceiling price for Windows Phone flagships.
For the time being, Windows Phones have not been successful, controlling just 2 percent of the global smartphone market.
Electronic Arts (EA) has promised to reduce its labor force, as well.
The gaming company will invest another $40 million this year towards its digital offerings in a strategy the company calls "The Plan."
"The Plan" was unveiled during the company's most recent quarterly earnings report. The restructuring will begin soon and is expected to be done by September 30th.
Added EA Vice President of Corporate Communications Jeff Brown: "The restructuring charge is related to our move to digital games and services. It impacts a relatively small number of EA's 9,000 employees. Most importantly, EA is hiring and we expect to finish the year with more employees, not fewer."
The struggling game maker, which purchase social gaming company PopCap Games last year for $1.3 billion, added that they do not expect a new title from the company until next quarter, a delay that may hurt their bottom line.
Samsung and Qualcomm have joined the The Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) in an effort to create a new wireless charging standard for mobile devices.
The group is looking to create a "worldwide wireless power technology ecosystem." More specifically, the Alliance will develop "new power transfer technologies that will allow for simultaneous charging of multiple devices in cars, on tabletops, and elsewhere." The group will offer a certification program for interested parties.
"The A4WP expects to achieve this capability without the need for costly multi-coil repeaters, which are required for other systems," the group said in a statement. "A single specification is envisioned that will address simultaneous charging of multiple devices ranging from very low power products, such as Bluetooth headsets, to today's most sophisticated tablets."
Besides Qualcomm and Samsung, Ever Win Industries, Gill Industries, Peiker Acustic, Powermat Technologies, and SK Telecom have also committed to the group.
World's second largest TV maker teams with Google to counter Apple.
It will launch Internet-enabled TVs in the United States using the Google TV platform in the week of May 21, according to the South Korean firm. The move is seen as a push from both LG and Google to dig into the emerging market as rival Apple Inc. is expected to offer up its own solution within the next year.
"Production of Google TVs will start from May 17 from our factory in Mexico and U.S. consumers will be able to buy the product from the week of May 21,"Ro Seogho, executive vice president of LG's TV business unit, said.
After reviewing sales performance in the United States, LG will decide whether or not to move the business into the European and Asian markets.
IHS iSuppli estimates that the Internet-enabled TV market will grow 60 percent this year, to about 95 million units. The overall television market is expected to grow by about 2 percent this year.
Apple looking to gain control over iPhone5.com domain.
The company previously has managed to secure rights to iphone4s.com, iphoneporn4s.com, iphonesex4s.com, iphonexxxforce.com, iphone4s.com and more by filing disputes with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Now Apple has reportedly filed a complaint with WIPO over iPhone5.com, which hosts discussion forums. At present, there are some discussion threads on the boards about the case.
The company had previously opted to pay for the use of some domain names. It paid an undisclosed amount for iphone4.com and whiteiphone.com last year, but has not opted to go go the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) option instead.
Chairman's comments were "misconstrued", Nokia says.
Outgoing Chairman at Nokia, Jorma Ollila, had suggested to the Financial Times that Nokia was currently working to bring out new tablet PCs, along with tablet-smartphone hybrids. The FT article was reported around the tech world, but Nokia wants it to be clear that the company is just watching the space.
"Tablets are an important one, so that is being looked into, and there will be different hybrids, different form factors in the future,"Reuters also reported Ollila as saying.
Speaking to eWEEK, a Nokia spokesperson wanted to make it clear. "What Mr. Ollila said has been misconstrued a bit," said Nokia spokesman Keith Nowak. "As we have been saying, we are watching the space with interest, but have made no announcements regarding a tablet product."
Ollila is preparing to hand over the role of chairman to Risto Siilasmaa, a Finnish entrepreneur, after spending 27 years with the company.
The United States Trade Representative has labeled Canada a haven of piracy, once again.
Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine and Venezuela joined Canada on the "Priority Watch List" of the USTR. Each of the countries on the list are accused of not doing enough to protect U.S. copyrights.
Reads the report (posted after the article): "Canada remains on the Priority Watch List in 2012, subject to review if Canada enacts long-awaited copyright legislation. The Government of Canada has given priority to that legislation. The United States welcomes that prioritization and looks forward to studying the legislation once it is finalized, and will consider, among other things, whether it fully implements the WIPO Internet Treaties, and whether it fully addresses the challenges of piracy over the Internet."
Spain, a mainstay on the list, was removed this year after implementing new laws to fight piracy. The new laws were passed weeks after the U.S. threatened to blacklist them for trade.
The report is generally panned due to its lack of facts and is seen as a tool to pressure nations into passing legislation that is applauded by the media companies in the U.S.
Premium quality "Enthusiast" and "Performance" class equipment contributes $3.2 billion in growth from 2011.
Jon Peddie Research reports an estimated 54 million Performance and Enthusiast class PC gamers worldwide at present. By 2015, the firm expects this number to swell to 72 billion, driven by new entrants and by "console converts." It predicts that the PC Gaming Hardware market will hit $23.6 billion in 2012, rising to $32 billion by 2015.
The research firm defines Enthusiast and Performance class PC gamers as those who spend over $1,000 on equipment.
"We are witnessing the market morph and grow into different areas. This has always been a strong point of PC gaming; the ability to adapt to different entertainment environments and requirements. The hobbyist aspect of the DIY market is driving billions in component sales and small form factor rigs are being hooked up to HDTVs, essentially being used as 'super consoles," said Ted Pollak, Senior Gaming Analyst at Jon Peddie Research.
Average selling prices for some components could suffer as competition heats up in 2013, but unit shipments will continue to rise, and components like SSD's are counterbalancing and buoying system integrated and DIY ASPs.
Perfect 10, the adult publisher, has sued microblogging service Tumblr over alleged piracy.
The adult company is infamous for its attempts to sue major corporations for using their images without permission but they have not been successful in the past.
Amongst the former recipients of lawsuits are Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Yandex, Giganews, Megaupload, Rapidshare, Depositfiles, Mastercard, Visa and CCBill. The first few were over search engine results with Perfect 10's pictures, the next few were over pictures and videos being hosted on the site's servers and the last few were for providing payment services for allegedly infringing sites.
In the latest case, Perfect 10 has accused Tumblr of failing to remove content when served with DMCA takedown notices.
Reads the complaint: "Tumblr has ignored its obligations under the DMCA. As of the date of this filing, Tumblr has failed to completely process any of Perfect 10's DMCA notices, taking down at most only a handful of the over 200 infringing images identified by Perfect 10, many of which had Perfect 10 copyright notices or watermarks conspicuously placed on the images.
Dell and Red Hat have signed an OEM agreement this week, giving more options for enterprise customers who are looking for open-source options.
"I think everybody's wanting to have alternatives," adds Ron Pugh, Dell executive director and general manager of the company's OEM solutions group for the Americas (via CW). "Most of our customers have ... seen that there are some benefits [to Linux use] from a time-to-market perspective and working with the open-source community."
Red Hat recently became the first open-source business to reach a $1 billion valuation.
The first verticals in the new partnership will be telecommunications and security equipment manufacturers, where Red Hat is already very prominent.
"We see this as the next step in companies moving from proprietary architecture to building their own things from the ground up to a commodity ... solution, and both companies see that we can help each other," concludes Pugh.
GE, Philips and Sylvania have each showcased LED lightbulbs today that can last for up to two decades.
The bulbs will use much less energy than current generation bulbs, but will cost significantly more due to using LED instead of filaments.
Last month, Philips introduced their LPrize LED, at a cost of $60. The bulb only consumes 9.7 watts while having the equal power of a 60-watt incandescent lamp. Today, the company showed off the EnduraLED, although it has the same power as a 100-watt incandescent bulb while consuming under 15 watts.
Sylvania and Philips's products will hit stores later this year. GE's bulb, which uses 9-watts and can replace 40-watt bulbs, will sell for $50 later this year.
If used for three hours per day, each of the bulbs will last for two decades.
The European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes has noted today that she does not expect the controversial ACTA bill to become law in the EU.
ACTA is a global trade agreement that is aimed at stopping digital piracy and the exchange of material pirated goods.
While the bill has been signed by the U.S., Canada, Japan and 22 of the 27 EU nations it still needs final approval by the European Commission to become law. Kroes says this is highly "unlikely" due to invasion of privacy concerns.
Adds Kroes: We are "likely to be in a world without SOPA and without ACTA and we now need to find solutions to make the Internet a place of freedom, openness, and innovation fit for all citizens."
The Commissioner does feel an ACTA-esque agreement is inevitable in the future, but the current bill has enormous shortcomings. Citizens' freedom to privacy must not be invaded, she notes. When asked about thoughts on future bills, Kroes says: "Yes the Internet should be open; and yes it should be free. But that is not the same as being a lawless wild west."
Major Chinese PC maker Lenovo will invest $800 million to build new facilities in an effort to better compete in the tablet, smartphone and overall mobile device market.
The facilities will begin operating in October 2013 in Wuhan and will support research and development as well as production and sales.
Lenovo adds the new plants will help the company produce more mobile devices for the international market. The revenue generated from the plants is expected to reach 10 billion yuan ($1.58 billion USD) by the end of 2014 and then 50 billion yuan by then end of 2018.
The company is the second largest PC maker in the world but they have only "skimmed the surface" of the smartphone and tablet market. Lenovo has released a number of "Le" phones in China which have met some commercial success.
China has quickly become the largest market in the world for smartphone shipments, so it makes perfect sense that Lenovo would like to get a larger piece of that pie. The company already controls 9.1 percent of the Chinese smartphone market, up from 1.8 percent in 2011.
As reported last week, Microsoft has made the 4GB Xbox 360 model of the console with Kinect available for $99 as long as you sign up for a two-year contract.
The contract is for Xbox Live Gold at $15 per month, bringing the total cost of the contract and hardware to $459.
If you were to purchase the bundle outright for $299 and purchase Xbox Live Gold subscriptions at $60 (full MSRP) per year, that price would come in at $420, significantly cheaper but with more cost up front.
One caveat of the deal (if you are interested), is you must live near a retail Microsoft Store, which are mainly only in California with some scattered around the U.S. Additionally, you will need to pass a credit check to take advantage of the deal.
Finally, just like with a smartphone contract, if you break the contract early you will be hit with an early termination fee that starts at $250 for the first three months then drops $12 per month afterwards.
EPIX, the joint streaming venture between Paramount, MGM, and Lionsgate has announced today the addition of two of 2012's blockbuster films to its catalog.
Marvel Studio's and Paramount's The Avengers and Lionsgate's The Hunger Games will see their on-demand debut via EPIX, online and via EPIX apps on mobile devices.
Both movies are easily the top grossing films so far in 2012, with The Avengers making $650 million worldwide in just one week, and Hunger Games bringing in $620 million in two months.
"EPIX is all about providing its subscribers the biggest and best movies anytime and anywhere. We are thrilled to bring this year's two biggest blockbuster titles to the EPIX slate, providing even more value to our viewers and affiliated distributors. We congratulate our studio partners, Paramount and Lionsgate, on their tremendous success," added EPIX CEO and President Mark Greenberg.
According to multiple sources, Apple has also been in discussions with EPIX in an effort to bring the streaming movie channel to Apple TV users. The talks are ongoing and are in early stages.
In March, Eastman Kodak, the bankrupt photography pioneer, sold their online photo services to Shutterfly for a final price of $23.8 million.
Today, a federal bankruptcy judge has approved the sale, and Kodak will shut down the Kodak Gallery on July 2nd.
Shutterfly offers exactly the same services as Kodak Gallery including free photo-sharing, the ability to get pics printed or put on DVDs, and the ability to have pictures put on mugs, in photobooks and T-shirts.
In an email to current customers, Kodak wrote that users who do not want their photos and accounts transferred over to Shutterfly must opt-out via their site before May 28th. Kodak did warn that the full migration "will be a massive undertaking, involving the movement of billions of photos" and that user's photos may not be fully available until later in the year.
Google plans to move for a mistrial after Jury fails to answer fair use question.
The case is being watched closely by Silicon Valley, as Oracle accuses Google of infringing copyrights it holds related to the Java programming tools it provides.
A federal jury on Monday found that elements of the Android operating system infringed on technology from Java, a platform bought by Oracle only two years ago. Google had questioned whether Oracle's copyrights were even valid, and that it should be excused under fair use principles, as it only used parts of Java that have always been freely available.
Oracle is seeking over $1 billion in damages from the search giant, but the Jury's failure to determine whether Google's actions were legally protected fair use comes as a major blow to Oracle's prospects of securing such high damages.
The Jury did not reach an agreement on Google's fair use defence, prompting a Google attorney to inform U.S. District Judge William Alsup that he will move for a mistrial on the issue of the APIs. Judge Alsup ordered both sides to prepare detailed arguments on that motion, which he will consider at a later date.
Although the government has not confirmed the move, news out of India is that there has been a massive blocking of torrent and other video-sharing sites.
Sites like The Pirate Bay, KickAssTorrents, BitSnoop and Vimeo have allegedly all been blocked from access in the nation. ISPs, "as per instructions from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT)," have banned access and users will be met with a screen that says something to that effect.
While the ban on the Pirate Bay is certainly not the first in the site's infamous history, Vimeo being blocked has shocked some residents. The site is one of the popular video-sharing sites in the world, and is a hub for amateur filmmakers to share their new work.
The site is much more similar to YouTube than it is to The Pirate Bay, although YouTube is still standing block-free.
It also appears that some ISPs are still letting customers access the sites, but Reliance Communications and Zylog Wi5 are certainly not.
If accurate, the MacBook Air will sell for just $799, $200 cheaper than the current base model.
The source claims the Apple supply chain is gearing up for a third quarter release of the device.
While there is no word on specs, it is easy to see why Apple would drop the price on the ultrabook. Rivals like Intel have been aggressively pushing ultrabooks for 2012, with Intel recently stating that $599 ultras will be available by the end of the year, sporting mid-to-high end features.
Thermal runaway event was the result of a bad repair.
In November of last year, a report surfaced about an iPhone that started burning shortly after an Australian flight had landed. A cabin crew member had noticed smoke coming from near a passenger seat during the taxi to the gate after arrival at Sydney. The crew member instructed the passenger to throw the source of the smoke to the middle of the isle, and then discharged a fire extinguisher on it.
The source was identified as an Apple iPhone 4. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) launched an investigation into the incident, which also included the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in the United States.
The investigation found that the iPhone had been repaired after the screen was damaged, and that repair was not carried out by an authorized service center. At the base of the iPhone is a 30-pin connector, held in place by two screws at either side. The investigators noted that the screw appeared to be missing.
Amazon has announced its new efforts to create original content for the Amazon Prime streaming video service.
The e-tailer will actively develop comedy and children's TV shows to be distributed over the service which is free to all Amazon Prime subscribers. Prime costs $79 per year and entitles users to free two-day shipping on most items and highly discounted one-day or same-day shipping.
Aspiring writers and filmmakers can submit ideas for television series to the Amazon Studios unit and the company will select one project per month and test it for viability with an audience before taking it to development.
Explains Reuters: "Within 45 days of getting pilot TV scripts, Amazon said it will either extend an option on the project for $10,000 or ask the creator to put the idea on the Amazon Studios website. If the company decides to distribute a full-budget series, the creator will get $55,000 and up to 5 percent of Amazon's net receipts from toy and T-shirt licensing, and other royalties and bonuses."
The move comes on the heels of Netflix putting significant money down to move into the original content business. Netflix's first original series, "Lilyhammer" is available now and four other shows, including a new season of cult-classic "Arrested Development," will hit in 2013.
eBay has confirmed plans to upgrade their search engine to better compete against e-tailing giant Amazon.
"Amazon is on version 8.0 of search. EBay is at 2.0, but they are thinking about how they make this huge leap to 3.0," says Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor. ChannelAdvisor helps merchants sell more online.
eBay's search tech, dubbed "Voyager," has seen a complete overhaul in the last four years after the hiring of Mark Carges as CTO. He hired 100 new employees to bring the total to 150, including several prominent engineers from Microsoft's Bing.
For 2013, the company is working on "Cassini,' the third version of the search engine. Cassini "will trawl full product descriptions, rather than just the titles of listings, and match search queries to photographs of products, while taking into account information about the seller and the buyer," explains Reuters.
Additionally, the new update will take into account past purchases and browsing, making it more tailored to their intent. "Voyager is pretty literal. It takes a query and matches it faithfully against the title of items. It's not intuitive," notes Carges. "Cassini will take the user's query and understand that."
HTC's new flagship has gone on sale today via AT&T and numerous retailers.
The device will sell for $200 with two-year contract via AT&T or $150 through Amazon. Unsurprisingly, the phone is backordered as of posting, with an 8-day delay expected from Amazon.
HTC's One X device is the high-end model among three new phone "HTC One" branded phones.
The device has a large 4.7-inch display with 1,280x720-pixelHDresolution and Gorilla Glass. The phone runs on Android 4.0 with HTC Sense 4.0, and the phone maker has decided to keep three buttons, one for back, home and running/recent apps.
Along with LTE, the phone will also have a powerful 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor.
DataWind, the company behind the $35 Aakash tablet for the Indian market, has introduced two new "UbiSlate" tablets for the nation.
The UbiSlate 7+ and UbiSlate 7C are both considered "premium" devices compared to the Aakash although that word is hardly fitting when compared to American and European tablets that have been released in the last two years.
DataWind's 7+ has a 7-inch, 800 x 480 pixel resistive touchcscreen display with 2GB of internal storage, while the 7c has a capacitive touchscreen display and 4GB of internal storage.
Each tablet is run by a 800MHz single-core processor and 256MB of RAM. There are no cameras or mics, but there are USB and microUSB ports.
Both tablets run on Android 2.2 Froyo, have 2.5G cell modems and have small 3200mAh batteries. The tablets will cost less than $75 and 2GB of data bandwidth costs just $2 per month.
Sprint CEO Daniel Hesse has confirmed he will take a paycut this year following the company's expensive expenditures to get the iPhone.
Hesse will repay $346,000 he has received and will forfeit all additional incentive pay.
"These voluntary actions regarding my personal compensation, which total $3,250,830, will eliminate any benefit for me to the discretionary adjustment the compensation committee made earlier this year,"added the exec.
Sprint invested $15 billion on the iPhone earlier this year, gaining access to the popular smartphone for the next 5 years.
However, Sprint pays Apple a huge amount for the luxury of having the device, paying a subsidy that is $199 more per device than it pays for other smartphones.
The Japanese chipmaker Elpida Memory, who filed for bankruptcy protection in February, is close to being acquired by U.S.-based Micron Technology.
Liabilities, as of March 2011, were $5.5 billion and the company's desperate attempts to refinance or get a bailout from the Japanese government failed. Elpida was Japan's last DRAM maker and the company was ultimately done in by a Yen at its strongest levels since the end of World War II. Furthermore, South Korean rivals like Samsung managed to take large market share in a short period of time thanks to cost efficiency.
At the time of the bankruptcy, Elpida and Micron at 12.1 percent market share each.
Micron bid $2.5 billion and pledged to keep the company's plants open and employees hired.
It appears that actually putting together a strong cast and a good story can still lead to strong box office sales.
The Marvel blockbuster "The Avengers" has sailed to a $200 million opening weekend, despite pirated copies being available from the movie's international release a week earlier. The figure is the largest in history, by far, beating out last year's Harry Potter finale by $30 million.
In just one week, the film has brought in an astonishing $650 million internationally. That total is more than individual movies "Thor," "Iron Man," and "Captain America" made during their lifetime runs, although each were successful.
Disney, the distributor of the film, says the final figures may even end of being slightly higher: "There aren't even words, to be honest. I'm running low on double takes. Every time we looked at a number, it just got bigger than what we could have hoped for in the best-case assumption. With this film, this weekend, anything is possible."
The Avengers film stars an all-star cast of superheroes including Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Nick Fury and Hawkeye.
According to social media analytics firm SocialBakers, Brazil now has the second largest population on Facebook.
The social networking giant has over 900 million total users from nearly every country on the planet.
After seeing a large jump in the last quarter of 22 percent, Brazil now has 46 million Facebook users, beating out India who has held the spot for some time now.
What has lead to the growth? SocialBakers says: "Brazil owes its success [on Facebook] to brands building high social awareness and a proactive and creative approach in gaining more fans especially in the FMCG, alcohol, beauty and fashion sectors."
Until January, Google's original social network from 2004, Orkut, was the top social network in Brazil and the site still has over 30 million users in the nation. However, the site is beginning to lose support from game and app developers as they move to the greener pastures of Facebook.
According to sources, early manufacturing is already being done for the Xbox Next (Durango).
If accurate, the work is being done in Austin, Texas by Flextronics, the same company that manufactured the original Xbox and the current-gen Xbox 360.
Of course, the manufacturing will not be for retail SKUs but likely for developers to work out debugging.
As has been standard, Microsoft declined comment but did add the following: "Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend its lifecycle like introducing the world to controller-free experiences with Kinect and re-inventing the console with a new dashboard and new entertainment content partnerships.
"We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention. Beyond that we do not comment on rumours or speculation."
California resident Robert Herskowitz has sued Apple this week for punitive damages.
Apparently, the company double billed him for purchasing a song on iTunes and would not offer a refund.
Last month, Herskowitz purchased the track "Whataya Want from Me" by Adam Lambert and was charged $1.29 twice for the song in an apparent glitch. After reaching out to Apple via email, he received this response:
"Your request for 'Whatya Want from Me' was carefully considered; however, according to the iTunes Store Terms of Sale, all purchases made on the iTunes store are ineligible for refund. This policy matches Apple's refund policies and provides protection for copyrighted materials."
The angered consumer has now filed a lawsuit against Apple seeking an injunction and punitive damages of $5 million. Herskowitz claims there was a breach of contract, breach of faith, unjust enrichment, unfair competition and business law violations.
Over the past few days we have discussed at length the new hardware in the Samsung Galaxy S III, which was, to be completely honest, not revolutionary.
The device has a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display, a powerful 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos processor and an 8MP camera, all of which are high-end but not leaps and bounds better than previous generation devices.
However, what should differentiate the phone from others in the market is its software, which Samsung has customized and tweaked to the point where it does not feel too much like the stock "vanilla" Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich you may be accustomed to.
The phone will have an emphasis on "natural interaction," says the company. First off, a feature called "Smart Stay" uses the front-facing camera to monitor your eyes and keep a "bright display for continued viewing pleasure." Even if you have your phone set to go to sleep with inactivity, Smart Stay will keep it on if you are staring at the screen, reading, or otherwise. When your eyes are no longer staring at the screen, the display dims to save battery life, as well.
In a move that has been a long time coming, Verizon has announced it has selected a vendor to help the company deliver users the ability to make texts to 911 emergency services.
With the new ability, those with speaking or hearing disabilities can have the same access to 911 as those without have had for half a century. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski applauded the carrier for the move, and encouraged others to follow suit.
Says Verizon: "Verizon is at the forefront of 911 public-safety innovations, and today's announcement is another step in making SMS-to-911 service available to those who cannot make a voice call to 911."
The service would require that your device can text, which all phones, smart or not, have the ability to do.
Verizon says the service should launch in early 2013.
Last week, the High Court ruled that all UK ISPs must block The Pirate Bay.
Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media must now block all access to the Swedish file sharing site but it appears the ruling is doing wonders for the site's traffic.
A source from the site has told Torrentfreak that The Pirate Bay's traffic has actually increased by over 12 million following the court ruling. "We should write a thank you letter to the BPI," says the source.
The ban began on Wednesday when Virgin Media's four million customers lost access, followed by other ISPs throughout the week.
As expected, The Pirate Bay did not take the ban lightly, and offered a work-around and a call to arms:
As usual there are easy ways to circumvent the block. Use a VPN service to be anonymous and get an uncensored internet access, you should do this anyhow. Or use TOR, I2P or some other darknet with access to the internets. Change your DNS settings with OpenDNS. Or use googles DNS servers... we could go on...But don't forget that we can't allow this shit to happen. Next time they're coming for something else. And yes, there will be a next time if we don't stop them. Write to your ISP and tell them to appeal the case. Write to your local MPs and tell them that this is not allowed. Make sure your voice is heard. Remember, we're all the pirate bay, and we must stand united against the censorship from our opponents!
First unveiled at the Mobile World Congress event in February, LG will begin shipping the Optimus L7 smartphone this month.
The device will first hit the UK and other nations in Europe, followed by Asia later in the year. There was no word on a U.S. launch.
LG's latest device runs on Android 4.0 ICS, following suit with other LG phones.
In terms of features, the phone has a 4.3-inch WVGA display with "ultra-wide viewing angles," a 1GHz dual-core Cortex A5 processor and a 5MP standard camera with LED flash.
Says the company: "For consumers desiring high-end style and sophistication in a smartphone, LG Optimus L7 offers beauty and performance in one smart package. The L7 is a significant addition to our L-Series portfolio and we are confident that it'll prove highly attractive to users. We expect it to be one of our most popular smartphones."
The comments came via an interview with Samsung mobile president J.K. Shin.
Shin, sitting with the WSJ, says the company has certainly embraced the possibility of making mobile company acquisitions. Furthermore, they are "aggressively" hiring foreign software engineers in an effort to remain the top dog in the smartphone world.
Notes Shin: "The technology industry is growing very quickly and it is too much of a burden to try to do everything in-house. There are many qualified workers from India that are very skilled in software. And there are small companies that we can acquire that have good research and development capabilities."
Without naming companies, Shin did shut down the speculation the company is looking into purchasing RIM, the struggling BlackBerry maker.
It has also become clear that Samsung is in fact angry at Google's purchase of Motorola Mobility and its expected foray into the hardware business later this year. However, the company will continue to ridewith Android as it is the top open mobile operating system.
LG has introduced their Optimus LTE2 Android device this week, the first to feature 2GB of RAM.
The unveiling came within a day of Samsung's high-profile 'Unpacked' event, where the company showed off the much-anticipated Galaxy S III.
Outside of the 2GB of RAM, the LTE2 also features some other powerful specs. The device has a 4.7-inch HD IPS display, a dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, LTE support and a large 2150mAh battery.
The device will go on sale in mid-May, beating out the Galaxy S III which will hit Europe at the end of the month and the U.S. and Canada in June.