New chipset allows for inexpensive worldwide 4G handset
Qualcomm today announced that it has introduced the Snapdragon 410 chipset with integrated 4G LTE World Mode. The new Snapdragon 410 chipsets are manufactured using 28nm process technology and feature processors that are 64-bit capable along with accelerated graphics performance with the Adreno 306 GPU, 1080p video playback, and up to a 13 Megapixel camera. Snapdragon 410 chipsets integrate 4G LTE and 3G cellular connectivity for all major modes and frequency bands across the globe and include support for Dual and Triple SIM.
December 13 date of device sale, December 18 date of 4G rollout
Potentially dispelling the rumors and false starts, China Mobile is taking preorders for iPhones on Thursday in Shanghai, according to an advertisement that briefly appeared on its website and a call placed to customer service. Using the slogan "4G is here!" the ad not only announced the opening of iPhone sales, but also suggests phones from other vendors such as Sony, Samsung, and HTC, that all support the new 4G network that the carrier has been building out for the last two years.
Exec hints at platform expansion
Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus has fueled speculation that the company is preparing to bring its TWC TV app to the Apple TV platform. Speaking at a UBS investor conference in New York, the executive noted that the company is preparing to expand the range of supported platforms for the app, which is currently available on iOS and Android devices, game consoles and smart TVs.
Agents infiltrate World of Warcraft
Eight tech giants, including industry competitors Apple, Google and Microsoft, have joined forces to demand reforms to the US government's surveillance tactics. In an open letter sent to President Barack Obama and members of Congress, the companies argue that current surveillance practices, as detailed in ongoing leaks from former National Security Agency staffer Edward Snowden, have created an imbalance "too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual-rights that are enshrined in our Constitution."
Threat of antitrust investigation by EC if Nokia overreaches with patents
Nokia has been warned by the European Commission (EC) to avoid becoming a "patent troll," once the company completes the sale of its Devices and Services arm to Microsoft. Joaquin Almunia, head of competition and vice president of the EC, reconfirmed the Commission's approval of the purchase, but advised that there is a danger that Nokia could try to "extract higher returns" from its patent portfolio.
BBC adds five free HD channels to high-definition lineup
The BBC will be adding five new channels to its lineup in the United Kingdom tomorrow for Freesat, Freeview, Sky, and Virgin Media users. The broadcaster will be adding HD versions of BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News, CBBC, and CBeebies to its existing high-definition channel lineup, with the BBC advising that this brings the total subscription-free HD channel range from the corporation to seven. Earlier this year, the BBC revealed it would be shutting down its dedicated 3D channel, due to a lack of viewers.
Older models being traded in hints at strong wave of new-model upgraders
Online trade-in site Gazelle has reported that iPad trade-ins for cash jumped 175 percent over normal on the weekend of Black Friday, a certain indicator that Apple CEO Tim Cook's prediction that it would be an "iPad Christmas" is likely to come true. The Apple tablet, which continues to dominate the category three and a half years after its introduction, has also topped holiday wish list compilations and has seen some constrained supplies of the two latest models, particularly the Retina iPad mini.
Call appointment of personal friend as antitrust monitor 'flatly unconstitutional'
In a new editorial that could have been written by Apple's legal team in a candid moment, the Wall Street Journal rakes Apple e-book trial judge over the coals for both recent and previous missteps, from "essentially [ruling] before hearing the evidence" to appointing a personal friend with no experience in antitrust issues (and requiring an $1,000-per-hour assistant) as an inquisitor who believes his job is to "investigate Apple all over again" in an unconstitutional manner.
FCC chair claims need to prevent Obamacare website-like debacle in auction
Citing a need for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to "get the enabling technology right," new chairman Tom Wheeler has delayed a spectrum auction. The auction pays television broadcasters for unused spectrum left unused after the shift to digital television. The FCC will then auction off the reclaimed spectrum to wireless carriers to expand wireless networks.
Carrier maintains position despite rumors of imminent launch
The world's biggest cellphone carrier, China Mobile, says it is still discussing an iPhone deal with Apple, according to a Reuters report. "We are still negotiating with Apple, but for now we have nothing new to announce," comments Mobile spokeswoman Rainie Lei. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal claimed that a deal had been signed, supporting rumors that Mobile might start selling iPhones as soon as December 18th.
Companies call for clarity from the court
The US Supreme Court has decided to hear a patent-infringement case that calls into question the validity of patent protection for certain software features. In the legal battle fought between Alice Corporation and CLS Bank International, in which the former alleges violation of a software patent related to financial transactions, lower courts have failed to reach a consensus regarding the technology's patent eligibility.
Companies accused of limiting online sales
European Commission agents have reportedly raided corporate offices of Samsung, Philips and retail giant Media-Saturn, as part of an investigation over improper price manipulation, according to a Reuters report. Regulators believe the companies may have colluded to limit online distribution in an attempt to artificially inflate prices.
Wireless spectrum purchase put to use by Verizon in cities
Even though the carrier is undergoing a restructuring of ownership, Verizon Wireless has managed to improve its LTE network in a number of cities. The carrier has reportedly increased the amount of bandwidth available to customers, with some markets seeing Verizon tripling its LTE capacity, thanks to its earlier $3.9 billion wireless spectrum purchase.
Android, iOS, Windows all gain share at BlackBerry's expense
Apple's share of the smartphone market in the US continues to grow slowly, though chief rival Samsung is growing at a faster rate but still has a long way to go to catch up. Android sales combined continue to dominate, but have seen very slow or flat growth in recent months -- however, in the latest three-month ComScore MobiLens survey, the platform managed twice the growth rate of iOS. Windows Phone also gained share, with all three platforms benefitting from BlackBerry's continuing fall.
Judge agrees to no ex parte meetings, reiterates procedures
In response to complaints from Apple about the court-ordered monitor the company is saddled with as a result of its e-book case, Judge Denise Cote in an order filed on December 2 agreed to change one policy associated with the monitor, and reminded Apple of the procedure for objecting to specific actions or other problems with the monitor. Apple has charged that the monitor is unqualified, overpaid, extortionist, disruptive, exceeding his authority and that the judge had provided for off-the-record, secret meetings with him.
Spotify to bring mobile listening with ads
Internet music service Spotify is reportedly set to roll out free music streaming for mobile devices, expanding on its existing free Internet radio features. A report in The Washington Post claims that the Sweden-based music company has reached licensing deals with the major global music companies to roll out free streaming to mobile devices, allowing mobile users to enjoy a Spotify that only subscribers and desktop users had access to beforehand. The catch: the new streaming feature will be supported by ads.
Bill aims to reduce frivolous litigation
The US House of Representatives has passed a bipartisan bill that aims to reduce negative impact from the practice derisively known as patent trolling. Passing by a wide margin of 323 to 89, Rep. Bob Goodlatte's (R-VA) Innovation Act (PDF) focuses on a range of litigation reforms to help protect businesses against frivolous patent-infringement lawsuits.
Potential for money laundering, tricky regulation causes China Bitcoin setback
The Bitcoin virtual currency has received a setback on its path to widespread use, after China's central bank advised against its use by the country's investors and banks. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) warned financial institutions that they should not trade in Bitcoins due to the potential risks associated with the currency.
Apple devices dominate wish-lists in most other electronics categories -- even routers
If there was one word to summarize what's at the top of US Christmas gift lists when it comes to electronics, the word is "Apple." Retail analyst firm Parks Associates revealed that in its latest survey, the iPhone maker -- long the most popular brand for tablets, smartphones, MP3 players and TV set-top boxes -- is now also the hottest brand in desktop computers. The top spot for desktops was previously held by Dell for the last two years, with Apple coming in second until the 2013 survey.
Report hinges on single, unnamed source, but signs are there
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a formal agreement between Apple and the world's largest -- and up till recently, the biggest iPhone holdout -- carrier, China Mobile, has been signed. The story is confirmed only by a single, unnamed source -- normally a violation of journalistic standards -- but other evidence to support the contention has appeared, including a pre-order site connected to China Mobile serving a wealthy Shanghai suburb and state media announcements.
$130 million in cash and stock shares to exchange hands
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved Verizon's $130 billion buyout of Vodaphone's share of Verizon Wireless. The ruling paves the way for Verizon's complete ownership of the wireless business when all aspects of the transaction are concluded in the first half of 2014.
Samsung's next flagship may have appeared in benchmarks
The newest version of Samsung's Galaxy S line of flagship devices may well have appeared in online benchmark tests. Fone Arena on Wednesday pointed to new results from GFXBench, showing an as-yet-unannounced Samsung device with the model number SM-G900S. If the device shown off were to prove to be Samsung's next flagship handset, it would signal a huge push on the part of the manufacturer to differentiate its gadgets, as the handset in the benchmarks appears to sport a 2K resolution screen.
Skitch iOS update restores PDF reading, markup support, web capture
The iOS version of screen capture and markup app Skitch (free) has been updated, mostly restoring features that were previously removed. Users can now once again open and read PDFs in the program, as well as markup and re-save a PDF (the latter feature requires an Evernote Premium account, however). Crop mode has been removed and various bugs fixed, and web capture has been added back in. Evernote, which bought Skitch two years ago, has dealt with continuing criticism over the company's changes to the program, which was originally created to quickly capture, annotate and share screenshots. Evernote Premium accounts cost $5 per month or $45 per year.
Beats Music streaming service to launch next month
Beats Music, the streaming music site spun out from the maker of the popular premium headphones, will make its debut in January of next year, it was revealed on Wednesday. The site for the service has gone live, and users can now register a user name for when it goes live next year. The particulars of Beats' new music offering are as yet unknown, but the company will likely reveal them in the weeks leading up to its unveiling.
Court appears skeptical of Judge William Alsup ruling
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC, appears to be siding with Oracle in the company's lawsuit against Google over Android APIs. A formal ruling has yet to be handed down, however Reuters' Dan Levine and The Recorder's Scott K. Graham, both in attendance at today's hearing, published Twitter posts suggesting that the appeals court is likely to reverse Google's earlier win.
First-gen iPad mini, iPhone 5c also see surges
iPad Air activations grew some 51 percent over the previous weekend during the course of Black Friday and the rest of the Thanksgiving weekend, according to new Localytics data. The figure is based on the number of new devices that appeared in Localytics tracking for some 20,000 apps. The iPhone 5c and first-generation iPad mini also did well, each growing by 26 percent.
Supplement to USB 3.1 specification could lessen USB cable frustration
Future USB cables will be able to be plugged in upside down, according to details about a future connector's specification. The redesigned Type-C connector will form part of the USB 3.0 Promoter Group's "supplement to the USB 3.1 specification," something which will potentially help lessen current frustrations by users plugging USB devices into hubs and computers.
Repeated reports may be an 'echo chamber' effect, or mirror actual trials
Rumors and other unconfirmed reports about Apple products -- particularly those that are only in an experimental prototype or testing phase -- are difficult to sort out. Readers who see similar reports on multiple sites or in various print and online outlets have a tendency to believe them after a while, even if the reports are just echoing each other. New reports have emerged recently from different sources claiming that Apple is at least probing the idea of larger iPad and iPhone models, but a healthy dose of skepticism is often required.
Revenue shared based on stream popularity
Following criticism from musicians, Spotify has defended its business model by providing an in-depth look at its royalty payment framework. In a lengthy blog post, the company claims to have paid out more than $1 billion USD in royalties to-date, including $500 million from this year alone, with 70 percent of overall revenue being shared with the artists.
PC market to bottom at 25M units per month
The traditional PC market will likely have fallen by 2013 by the time 2013 ends, slightly more than the 9.7 percent that had been previously forecast. This according to new figures from industry tracking service IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. The new numbers point to a bottoming out for the struggling PC industry, not a continual withering as some have presumed. PC shipments will not, according to IDC, continue to dwindle, but will hit a bottom in the coming year and show near flat growth thereafter.
Discounted iTunes codes wipe out PayPal gifts launch supplies
PayPal has launched an online gift store, with Apple as its only launch partner, in preparation for holiday season shopping. The PayPal Digital Gifts store, coming a week after the service provided support for prepaid credit cards, will allow existing PayPal users in the United States to buy gifts and gift cards to provide to other people.
Persistent security claims by US officials behind market exit
Huawei is planning to pull out of the United States, according to an interview with CEO Ren Zhengfei. The head of the company is effectively giving up on the US market, following two years of criticism and intense scrutiny by the US government, along with accusations that the telecommunications company is helping the Chinese government spy on US citizens and businesses.
Sails on Google barge to cost $350,000 alone
The mysterious barge construction in San Francisco could have cost Google $35 million to undertake, according to a new report. The project, dubbed Hanger 3 after the Treasure Island hanger it is being worked on, will apparently be one of three floating buildings, with a similar structure set to be moored in areas of Los Angeles and New York City, as well as in San Francisco itself.
Deal conditional on regulatory approvals, bankruptcy court rulings
Financially troubled SSD manufacturer OCZ Technology Group today announced that the company has signed an asset purchase agreement with Toshiba Corporation to acquire substantially all of OCZ's assets in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding for $35 million, subject to customary regulatory approval. The move comes only a few days after OCZ revealed that bankruptcy was imminent and its assets had been seized by debtors. The offer has already been approved by both Toshiba's and OCZ's board of directors.
Apple tablets top-selling item at most major retailers
A survey done by retail analyst InfoScout based on over 100,000 Black Friday sales receipts from iOS and Android smartphone owners has revealed both expected and unexpected trends: the fact that Apple's latest iPad models were the runaway top seller among both tablets specifically and consumer electronics generally is not surprising -- but that 40 percent of iPad sales went to self-identified Android smartphone owners was less predictable. Even that, however, is not the most surprising finding.
Company studies Twitter tweets to determine trends, ad effectiveness, more
Apple has confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that it has purchased social media analysis firm Topsy Labs for over $200 million, though the final price was not disclosed. The company declined to elaborate on why it acquired Topsy, which is mainly known for its analysis of Twitter's output of both tweets and user data -- but its ability to target ads to iTunes Radio and mobile users, find "influencers" or use Twitter's data on music tastes to help shape iTunes Radio stations are all among the possibilities.
Decision effectively upholds existing law
The US Supreme Court has declined to hear a legal challenge against New York's sales-tax law for online purchases, according to a Reuters report. Retailers Amazon and Overstock had asked the court to determine if the tax regulations violate the Constitution, however the decision effectively upholds the New York Court of Appeals' March ruling that sided with the state.
New Eminem album free, others discounted
Microsoft is giving hip-hop loving users of its Xbox Music service the chance to download a free copy of Eminem's Marshal Mathers LP2. The company's Major Nelson announced the giveaway on Monday, saying that it is open to Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Phone users. Downloading the album on any one Windows device will grant access to it across all of one's Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Phone 8 devices, as well as on one's Xbox console.
DOJ approval effectively leaves European regulators as last major acquisitions hurdle
The acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services section by Microsoft has taken one more step towards completion. The US Department of Justice approval in a Federal trade Commission filing has effectively completed the deal's regulatory processes in the United States, effectively leaving just the European regulators standing in its way.
Free upgrade spurs quick adoption
Mavericks is already the predominant version of OS X in use by the public, according to November tracking data from Net Applications. During that month, Mavericks' share rose from 0.84 percent to 2.42 percent of the Mac's total global share of 7.55 percent. Mountain Lion's share, meanwhile, plummeted from 3.31 percent to 1.85, while Lion dipped from 1.56 percent to 1.34. Leopard and Snow Leopard, already marginal platforms, dropped only slightly, slipping from 0.33 and 1.6 percent to 0.32 and 1.53 percent, respectively.
Four-member startup joins Yahoo Labs team for language processing work
Yahoo is continuing its trend of buying companies, and has announced possibly its last acquisition for this year. The search company has confirmed its purchase of SkyPhrase, a startup that is working on processing natural language requests, for an undisclosed amount, with the company's small team of four employees being integrated into the Yahoo Labs team in New York.
Demographic skews older, and with more buyers under median income
"Almost half" of the people who bought the iPhone 5c in September and October were people switching from Android phones, particularly ones by Samsung and LG, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. By comparison, some 80 percent of iPhone 5s purchases were by people upgrading from a previous iPhone. Kantar also notes that over 40 percent of 5c buyers were earning less than $49,000 per year, versus roughly 20 percent for the 5s. 5c buyers also tended to skew older, with an average age of 38 instead of the 5s' 34.
Camera sensor arms race continues with claimed 20MP component
Samsung is reportedly working on a new camera module capable of taking 20-megapixel photographs. The company's Advanced Development Team is apparently hoping to get the high-resolution component ready for shipping in the second half of 2014, something which could coincide with a future major smartphone release, such as a successor to the Galaxy Note 3.
IE 11 now approaching Safari's install numbers
Microsoft's Internet Explorer 11 web browser more than doubled its share of the worldwide browser market in the month of November. This according to new figures from research firm Net Applications, which showed Internet Explorer 11 at 3.27 percent of the worldwide web browser market. The November surge saw IE11 leaving Opera far behind, and the Microsoft-made browser is now approaching Apple's Safari browser in terms of market share.
Amazon to deliver packages by drone
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Sunday revealed a new service that could soon deliver Amazon orders directly to customers' doorsteps by unmanned aircraft. Bezos revealed Prime Air Sunday night on CBS' 60 minutes, telling CBS Anchor Charlie Rose that the company has been working on the technology in its Seattle headquarters for months. The service isn't set to roll out for some time, but it could mark a revolution in the online retail market, as Amazon could bypass the current package delivery system entirely, delivering goods to customers in as little as half an hour.
Samsung discussing 'crisis awareness' in big management gathering
South Korean tech giant Samsung will gather the heads of its assorted management teams at its Giheung Nano Campus in order to discuss the best ways to maintain its lead in the tech sector. This according to ZDNet Korea, which reported this week that the tech conglomerate will hold a massive management meeting between the 17th and 19th of next month. In attendance will be both Samsung Electronics vice president Ohhyun Kwon and Samsung Display president Ginam Kim.
Real-world usage again shows iOS far ahead of Android, other rivals
Yet another real-world usage statistic has surfaced showing that users with iOS devices are far more engaged with them than those of any other platform. Among Black Friday buyers who used mobile devices to shop online, 82 percent were on the iOS platform doing so, with the remaining 18 percent using Android. Using mobile devices to shop on Black Friday was up 9.8 percent overall from last year, with mobile devices accounting for 38 percent of all Black Friday shopping traffic and 21 percent of online sales.
Hard drive with 7,500 bitcoins lost in landfill
An IT professional in the United Kingdom is scouring a landfill site for a specific computer part he threw away, along with a bitcoin fortune. James Howells of Newport, South Wales, disposed of the drive without realizing the value of its contents earlier this year, with the 7,500 bitcoins on the drive worth around $7.5 million at the currency's present value.
Smartphone data consumption higher on phablets
Owners of smartphones with larger screens consume considerably more data on their devices than do the owners of smaller devices like Apple's iPhone. The finding comes from new figures out from The NPD Group, which looked at monthly Wi-Fi and cellular data consumption among American consumers. For the three months ending July 2013, NPD found that the owners of smartphones with screens sized 4.5 inches and larger used 44 percent more data than those with smaller devices.
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