Archive for the ‘News’ Category
NBC mentioned it would deliver two complementary mobile apps for its extensive London Olympics coverage and now they have arrived. Available for Android phones and tablets as well as the iPhone and iPad, they’re built on Adobe technology to deliver the information and live streaming video, as well as handle the TV Everywhere authentication with the cable providers that’s necessary to view all of the content. The NBC Olympics Live Companion is specifically designed to operate as a second screen for users to pull up stats and extra info on while they watch TV, and the NBC Olympics Live Extra app delivers video of every event streaming live to users wherever they are. It supports multiple camera angles, social features like the Facebook tie-ins NBC announced yesterday and users can even switch between the two apps at will.
Digg, once one of the shining stars of the social media world, is now a sad shell of of its former self. The once mighty news-sharing service founded by Kevin Rose, has just been snatched up by a small New York City firm called Betaworks for a paltry $500,000, according to the Wall Street Journal. The site still draws roughly seven million visitors a month, but that’s a far cry from the more than 30 million was pulling in during its 2008 heyday. And the pocket change paid for the property pales in comparison to the over $45 million it raised from investors over its lifetime. The sale follows the departure of its most high profile exec, the aforementioned Rose, who is now in charge of Google Ventures. Betaworks plans to revitalize the brand involve folding it into News.me, another social news service, which launched in April of last year. The deal only includes the property itself and the brand — none of Digg’s remaining employees will be making the move to Betaworks. Of course, there were very few left once the Washington Post subsidiary Social Code hired 15 engineers from the floundering service, which accounted for more than half of its workforce. However, TechCrunch and AllThingsD are both reporting that there’s a lot more to consider besides the cash outlay.
SOURCE via Wall Street Journal
If there was doubt as to whether or not Android would soon become the majority smartphone platform in the US, that’s just been erased by Nielsen. Google crossed the tipping point in the second quarter after getting close in the winter, with 51.8 percent of current smartphone users running some variant on the green robot’s OS. As we’ve seen in the past, though, the increase is coming mostly at the expenses of platforms already being squeezed to within an inch of their lives, such as the BlackBerry (8.1 percent) and Windows (4.3 percent combined). Apple still isn’t in a position to fret: it kept climbing to 34.3 percent and swung the attention of recent buyers just slightly back in its direction. The real question for many of us might center on what happens in a summer where Samsung has thrown a Galaxy S III-sized curveball at Americans and any new iPhone is likely still a few months away.
SOURCE via Nielsen
We’re no CSI, but if we were Amazon, planning to make a phone, we’d definitely want to make sure developers were happy, that we had some weight in the patent world, and had an idea of the end design. With that all sorted, we’d likely hire a senior Director of Business Development from a major competitor — which is exactly what has happened. Robert Williams, formerly of said position at Microsoft Windows Phone is joining his fellow WP alumni, Brandon Watson, over at camp Bezos as Director of the App Store. Of course, this could just be a strategic move on behalf of the company’s Android market, and the Amazon phone is still very much just a rumor, but with more pieces of the puzzle starting to fit, and the book seller’s ability to turn things on their head, we’re far from ruling it out just yet.
SOURCE via The Verge
Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer might be working overtime to keep Apple at bay, but the PC market that his company largely built is hurting, if you ask researchers at Gartner and IDC. Both estimate that shipments of traditional computers dropped by a tenth of a point in the second quarter of 2012 — not a good sign when Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors and a wave of Ultrabooks were supposed to usher in a PC renaissance.
While the exact numbers vary, the two paint a partly familiar picture of the world stage: HP and Dell are taking a bruising, while ASUS and Lenovo are making huge leaps forward. Depending on who you ask, though, Acer is either kicking Dell down to fourth place or occupying that all too comfortable spot itself. The economy and tablets are once again blamed for making would-be PC upgraders jittery, although this time it may also be the wait for Windows 8 leading some to hold off.
If there’s a point of contention, it’s the US figures. Gartner and IDC alike agree that Acer, Dell and HP all took a drubbing. The two analyst groups are at odds with each other when it comes to everyone else, though. Apple will have gained market share to as much as 12 percent, but either increased or shrank its shipments; it’s Lenovo or Toshiba completing the top five outside of the usual suspects.
Accordingly, take results with a grain of salt until all the PC builders have reported in. Nonetheless, if the groups have the same reasonable level of precision as they’ve had in the past, Microsoft may have to defer its ambitions for a little while longer.
SOURCE via Gartner
Chipzilla didn’t get its position as the king of semiconductors by twiddling its thumbs, folks. It became a Valley behemoth by delivering us faster and better silicon, and its latest $4.1 billion purchase — a 15 percent stake in silicon manufacturing equipment maker ASML Holding NV — should help keep Intel atop the CPU heap. You see, Intel’s in the process of retooling its chip manufacturing process to use bigger diameter silicon wafers, which’ll make those Ivy Bridge, ValleyView and other future chips cheaper for all of us. Such retooling can take years to implement, which is likely why Intel was willing to plunk down so much cash to ensure nothing futzes with its manufacturing timetable. The company’s investment will presumably give it the clout to get ASML’s crucial lithography equipment on the fast track to completion. Hop to it, fellas, we want our CPUs at bargain-basement prices, and we want them now.
In an LCD panel price fixing tiff that’s been raging on for what seems like time incarnate, Sharp has settled with Dell and two unnamed companies for $198.5 million to make it go away. Japanese panel makers like LG, Samsung and Toshiba are also defendants in the legal dragnet, and numerous fines and settlements totalling more than a billion dollars have already been paid out to the likes of AT&T and the US Department of Justice. This decision comes hot on the heels of an $87 million setback in court for Toshiba — a ruling that may have taken the edge off of Sharp’s defence.
SOURCE via Reuters
The United Nations defines the stereotype of a peace broker, so it’s not that far-fetched to hear that its International Telecommunication Union (ITU) wing is hoping to step in and cool down the rapidly escalating patent world war. The organization plans to convene a Patent Roundtable on October 10th — in neutral Geneva, Switzerland, of course — to have smartphone makers, governments and standards groups try and resolve some of their differences. Those mostly concerned about Apple’s actions won’t be happy with the focus of the sit-down, however. Most of the attention will surround allegations that companies are abusing standards-based patents, which will put the heat largely on a Google-owned Motorola as well as Samsung. Still, there’s hope when the the ITU’s Secretary-General Dr. Hamadoun Touré talks of desiring a “balancing act” between what patent holders want and what customers need. Our real hope is that we don’t have to hear talk of customs delays and product bans for a long while afterwards.
SOURCE via ITU
The fine was the result of an investigation based on allegations that Intel used unfair monopolistic powers against AMD. However, Intel is not rolling over and paying the fine just yet, stating that the EU’s analysis is “defective” and relied on a “quality of evidence” that is “profoundly inadequate”.
In May 2009, the EU slapped Intel with a record fine that was based on 4.15 percent of Intel’s 2008 revenue. Even if the EU said that this was less than the “allowable maximum” of 10 percent, the fine was unprecedented and the EU did not miss an opportunity to provoke a challenging reaction from Intel. For example, EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes preempted previous discussions about a likely appeal by stating: “I’d like to draw your attention to Intel’s latest advert calling them sponsors of tomorrow, now they are sponsors of the European taxpayer.”
As the appeal process begins, Intel has filed a 84-page document against the 542-page decision provided by the EU. According to Reuters, Intel claims that the commission does not have enough evidence to rule on any wrongdoing on the side of Intel “and relied too much on subjective comments by the company’s customers.” However, the EU maintained that Intel is guilty Intel gave out unfair rebates to retail chains and PC makers that put its rivals at a disadvantage.
“These kind of rebates can only be intended to tie customers and put competitors in an unfavorable position,” the Commission’s lawyer argued.
A ruling could be expected within a few months, but Intel has another option available should it fail with the current appeal process: It can take its fight to the the EU Court of Justice.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 chipset is certainly hot (well, not too hot), but it looks like demand is expected to grow even further, causing the San Diego-based SoC maker to turn to allies in the east to help beef up supply. According to China Economic News Service, United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) and Korea-based Samsung will join Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) to manufacturer the 28nm chips beginning later this year, in an attempt to increase S4 availability ahead of the Windows RT launch. The article cites Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs as saying that a shortage is expected to continue, due to the complicated techniques necessary to manufacturer 28nm chips, and that the company may consider adding its own manufacturing plant in the future. All in all, it doesn’t seem like a terrible position for QCOM to be in. Full details are at the Taiwanese source link below.
SOURCE via CENS