According to several metrics sources, Edge’s share of the global Windows 10user base was significantly lower in January than was Internet Explorer’s (IE) share of all Windows users, signaling that Microsoft has not been able to maintain the historical — or even current — percentages of Windows customers on its newest browser.
Last month, Edge’s share of all Windows 10 users was 26% in U.S.-based analytics firm Net Applications’ estimate. That was a decrease of two percentage points from December, and 10 points lower than in September.
In comparison, Net Applications’ IE-only share of all Windows users was a much more substantial 48%, or nearly double that of Edge on Windows 10. In other words, almost half of all Windows users ran a version of IE last month, while just over one-fourth of Windows 10 users ran Edge.
Because Edge works only on Windows 10, and IE only on Windows, it’s relatively easy to calculate the percentages. That’s not the case with other browsers, including Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox, which run on multiple editions of Windows and on rival operating systems, such as Apple’s OS X.
Other measurement sources portrayed the same situation: Edge has not held up its side of the bargain for Microsoft.
Irish vendor StatCounter, for example, pegged January’s Edge global share of Windows 10 at 13%, while IE’s share of all Windows was a more substantial 19%.
A third source, the Digital Analytics Program (DAP), tagged Edge’s share of Windows 10 for January at 24%, up one point from December. According to DAP, the IE-only share of all Windows traffic was 40%.
BlackBerry Ltd plans to cut 200 jobs at its hometown headquarters in Ontario and in Florida in order to trim costs, as the smartphone maker moves to turn around its fortunes and put more emphasis on its enterprise software business.
“As BlackBerry continues to execute its turnaround plan, we remain focused on driving efficiencies across our global workforce,” the company said in an emailed statement.
The company declined to comment on what percentage of its workforce is affected by the cuts. According to a filing, the company had 6,225 employees as of Feb. 28, 2015.
The layoffs will affect 75 manufacturing jobs in Sunrise, Florida, a state government website showed.
The company also confirmed that Gary Klassen is one of the people who has departed in the latest round of cuts. Klassen was one of its longest-tenured employees and the inventor of its BBM messaging service.
One source familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue, said many of the Canadian cuts were people working on its BB10 handset software at its Waterloo, Ontario, headquarters.
A spokeswoman for BlackBerry declined to comment on which divisions will be affected by the cuts, but said the company stood by its commitment to release further updates on its BB10 software.
Last September, the company laid off roughly 200 staff, who had worked on the hardware and design of the BB10 devices. The company began releasing the BB10-based devices in January 2013, but despite positive reviews the smartphones failed to win back market share from Apple Inc’s iPhone, and the slew of Android-based devices that dominate the global market.
In a final attempt to revive its handset business BlackBerry released its first Android-based device in November. It has stated it plans to release at least one more Android-based phone this year.
BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen has said he will make a decision on whether the company’s handset business is viable in the financial year beginning in late February.
Firefox OS for smartphones will be retired once Mozilla wraps up version 2.6, George Roter, who leads Mozilla’s Participation Lab, said in a long message posted to the company’s website.
Firefox OS 2.6 is currently slated for a May 30 release.
Nearly two months ago, Mozilla confirmed that it wascalling it quits on Firefox OS in its current incarnation, ending more than four years of work building a browser-based, smartphone operating system.
Instead, Mozilla said that it would use the resources freed up by the shuttering of Firefox OS on smartphones to pivot toward an operating system for connected devices, the category dubbed “Internet of things,” or IoT.
“The main reason [these decisions] are being made is to ensure we are focusing our energies and resources on bringing the power of the Web to IoT,” said Roter.
Roter was more direct in explaining the reasoning for turning off Firefox OS’s spigot than were Mozilla executives in December.
“The circumstances of multiple established operating systems and app ecosystems meant that we were playing catch-up, and the conditions were not there for Mozilla to win on commercial smartphones,” Roter acknowledged. “We have decided that in order to succeed in the new area of connected devices we must focus our energy completely on prototyping the future and exploring how we can make the biggest impact in IoT.”
Ari Jaaksi, the executive who runs Mozilla’s Connected Devices group, was just as candid. “We could not create a compelling and differentiating end-user value proposition and we failed to build the full ecosystem,” he wrote on a company blog, referring to Firefox OS for smartphones.
Along with the demise of Firefox OS, on March 29 Mozilla will stop accepting submissions to its app store for Web apps that run in Firefox on Android as well as the desktop- and tablet-centric versions of the browser. Apps for those platforms now in the store will be removed on that same day; in other words, Mozilla will kill the small app ecosystem it had struggled to create.
After March 29, only apps for Firefox OS on smartphones will be available on the store. Mozilla is also dead-ending the store’s payment support, meaning that developers will have to scramble to find another payment provider or make their paid apps free.
Twitter has said it only takes down accounts when they are reported by other users, but said that it has increased the size of teams monitoring and responding to reports and has decreased its response time “significantly.”
Twitter’s announcement comes as many tech companies – led by Facebook – have taken stronger steps to police controversial content online in the face of threats from legislators to force the companies to report “terrorist activity” on their sites to law enforcement.
Silicon Valley has been wary of engaging with government officials, concerned about endless demands for similar action from countries around the world as well as fears about being perceived by consumers as tools of government.
The announcement was also notable because Twitter has said little about its efforts to combat Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and similar groups even though it has been criticized for not doing enough.
Islamic State, which controls last swathes of Iraq and Syria, has heavily relied on the 300 million-person site, as well as others, to recruit fighters and propagate violent messages.
Seamus Hughes, deputy director of George Washington University’s program on extremism, said Friday’s report showcased an “impressive number” of takedowns, but said that Twitter still appears to police extremist content in a mostly “episodic” way.
Many extremists have migrated toward smaller, less monitored platforms in recent months in response to major Silicon Valley firms stepping up their content policing, Hughes added.
In January, a delegation of top national security officials met tech industry leaders from Twitter, Facebook Inc, Apple Inc, and Google parent Alphabet Inc, but most companies, including Twitter, did not send their chief executive officers.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, called Twitter’s announcement a “very positive development,” but said more was needed.
“Addressing the use of social media by terrorists will require a sustained and cooperative effort between the technology sector, the Intelligence Community, and law enforcement,” he said.
Still, Twitter said in a blog post that it has cooperated with law enforcement when appropriate.
That’s what Canadian researchers found when they studied fitness-tracking devices from eight manufacturers, along with their companion mobile apps.
All the devices studied except for the Apple Watch transmitted a persistent, unique Bluetooth identifier, allowing them to be tracked by the beacons increasingly being used by retail stores and shopping malls to recognize and profile their customers.
The revealing devices, the Basis Peak, Fitbit Charge HR, Garmin Vivosmart, Jawbone Up 2, Mio Fuse, Withings Pulse O2 and Xiaomi Mi Band, all make it possible for their wearers to be tracked using Bluetooth even when the device is not paired with or connected to a smartphone, the researchers said. Only the Apple device used a feature of the Bluetooth LE standard to generate changing MAC addresses to prevent tracking.
In addition, companion apps for the wearables variously leaked login credentials, transmitted activity tracking information in a way that allowed interception or tampering, or allowed users to submit fake activity tracking information, according to an early draft of the report, “Every Step you Fake: A Comparative Analysis of Fitness Tracker Privacy and Security.” It was published by Canadian non-profit Open Effect, and researched with help from the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto.
The apps are typically used to gather data from the fitness tracking device and upload it to a central server, where users can analyze their performance and perhaps compare it with that of other device wearers.
Using a man-in-the-middle attack, researchers were able to spy on traffic between the apps and the servers for all but two of the apps, Apple’s Watch 2.1 and Intel’s Basis Peak 1.14.0. For the six remaining apps, this allowed them to observe even encrypted data sent via HTTPS.
Apple and Intel used a technique called certificate pinning to avoid being fooled by the fake security certificates presented by the researchers. Intel has been highlighting the risks of poorly secured wearable devices since at least 2014, when it published the report “Safeguarding the Future of Digital America 2025.”
Internet search giant Google has finally added Australian slang and language recognition to its applications, addressing complaints that its software had difficulty in understanding thick local accents and complex place names.
Long accustomed to having their distinctive slang misunderstood, Australians can now substitute “footy” for football, “arvo” for afternoon and find directions to Mullumbimby or Goondiwindi, a spokesman told Reuters.
The extended vocabulary came after Google, which is now part of holding company Alphabet Inc, added an Australian accented voice to its Google Maps and search applications last week.
“People are starting to talk to their phones much more regularly now. Mobile voice searchers have doubled in the last year,” Google Australia spokesman Shane Treeves said.
“Particularly all those tricky Aussie place names, they just sound much better in an Aussie voice that can get them right.”
Google and its chief competitor, Apple Inc, have saturated the United States and Western Europe with their devices, leaving foreign language markets as some of the prime places to grow.
In December, Apple released a version of its virtual personal assistant, Siri, for Arabic speakers in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Google’s Android phones’ search function already offered some support in Arabic.
Google’s Android operating system was used by roughly 54 percent of mobile devices sold in Australia in December, placing it ahead of Apple iOS at 38 percent, according to data published by research firm Kantar Worldpanel.
The addition of Australian language features to Google’s software could carry with it a sense of vindication for local users, who have long groused about its inability to understand them.
Samsung is rolling out a rental phone service which will replace a phone that is been used for a year with the latest model.
The system is similar to the rental model which was introduced by Apple in September of last year. Samsung will bring the service out in March in South Korea but it is also in talks with Bright Star, which is a business that specializes in distribution of mobile in the US so it is pretty likely to be tried over the pond too. We have not heard about it talking to any EU distributor but it is also fairly likely.
Under the deal you replace your old phone with a new phone every year if you make a two year contract and pa a year worth of instalments. The company then makes a bit of dosh flogging the used phones.
The first phone to be rented will be the Galaxy S7 that happens to be being released in March. It will also have a higher resale value as a used model.
Officially Samsung is saying nothing as the Galaxy S7 is not even in the shops yet.
Mobile telecommunication businesses such as SK Telecom, LG Uplus and others are also preparing to release similar services. This is not the first time they have had a crack at programs likes this there were operations like Zero Club, Free Club and others in the past which operated in a similar way. It should make the introduction of the rental phone service using Apple’s model a doddle.
If it takes off it could be a change in distribution model for phones. As mobile markets are saturated and as subsidies for mobiles disappear, rental phones are seen as an alternatives that will create new demand. Much of the success however depends on the resale value of the older phones.
This month, market research firm IHS predicted that Apple would introduce some form of wireless charging on the iPhone 7 expected to arrive in September; that move seems more likely given that Apple introduced an inductive, proprietary charging solution in 2015 on the Apple Watch.
Adding fuel to the wireless charging fire, Bloomberg has reported that Apple is working with partners in the U.S. and Asia to develop new wireless charging technology that could be deployed on its mobile devices in 2017.
“We still expect [wireless charging with the iPhone 7], but this latest rumor suggests a longer term look at much greater spatial freedom — claiming to take away the charging pad altogether,” David Green, a research manager at IHS Technology, said.
Two years ago, the Windows Phone 8-based Lumia 920 smartphone introduced wireless charging. Then Samsung launched dual-mode wireless charging on its Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge phones. Now, the focus is on Apple to see whether it will also add wireless charging to the iPhone, Green said.
Wireless charging is proving to be very popular with those who have used it, and the market tripled in size last year compared to 2014, with more than 160 million wireless charging receivers shipped across all markets.
The three major wireless charging industry groups have adopted a form of resonant wireless charging, which allows a more “loosely coupled” approach where handsets can be several centimeters away from a charger or placed at any angle on a charging pad.
For example, AirFuel Alliance’s Rezence-specification, which allows charging from across several centimeters, includes the ability to use a charging bowl or charging through a desktop.
There’s also uncoupled charging technology, where powering up devices through Wi-Fi, for example, sends low levels of power (typically less than 1 watt) across a room.
Ossia, Energous and uBeam all demonstrated uncoupled charging technology at CES earlier this month.
Revenue for the fourth quarter was 53.3 trillion won (US$45.5 billion), up just 1 percent from a year earlier, Samsung announced Thursday in Seoul. Net profit plummeted 40 percent to 3.2 trillion won.
A day earlier, Samsung’s biggest rival, Apple, said it too was seeing weaker than expected demand for handsets. The Cupertino company reported iPhone sales that were almost flat and forecast its first quarterly revenue drop since 2003.
Samsung isn’t expecting much better. It sees a difficult environment in 2016 characterized by slowing IT demand.
“It would be a challenge to maintain 2016 operating profit levels,” said Kim Sang Hyo, Samsung’s vice president of investor relations, in a conference call with analysts.
A weak macro economy around the world will hurt business in the first half, but things should get better in the second half, the company said.
Sales in Samsung’s key mobile division fell 10 percent in the quarter to 24 trillion won. That was the result of an earlier pile up of unsold phones at retailers, and the fact that Samsung sold fewer high-end phones and more that were lower priced.
Samsung doesn’t divulge the number of smartphones it sells, preferring to announce total sales of all phone types. That figure was 97 million last quarter, with smartphones accounting for around 85 percent.
For 2016, it expects the mobile business will see single-digit growth due to tepid demand for new smartphones and tablet PCs.
Samsung’s semiconductor and display panel operations — it’s second-biggest business area — was the only good performer last quarter. Sales rose 11 percent year-on-year to 19.7 trillion won thanks to healthy demand for flash memory chips and continued demand for mobile and server DRAM.
An analyst has cut his estimate of projected sales of the rumored new 4-inch iPhone, reportedly called the “iPhone 5se,” in half, from 18-20 million down to 10-12 million units.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that the new 4-inch iPhone, as little new to offer, despite getting a lot of media attention.
“We don’t regard the product as innovative, either in terms of form factor … or hardware specs.”
Kuo said that Apple will ship 43 million units, a decline of 44 per cent quarter-over-quarter and 29 per cent year-over-year.
The smaller iPhone will likely include an all-metal design but is otherwise as silly a move as the 5c, which had a plastic body but tanked.
“We see MacBook as a stronger candidate for becoming a theme given solid growth in the business segment, as well as a potential upgrade to hit the market in 1H16,” Kuo said.
In other words Apple is starting to regress to the days when all it had was its PCs and was so desperate for money it had to borrow off Microsoft.
Samsung and TSMC are starting to slug it out introducing Gen.3 14 and 16-nano FinFET system semiconductor processes, but the cost could mean that smartphone makers shy away from the technology in the short term.
It is starting to look sales teams for the pair are each trying to show that they can use the technology to reduce the most electricity consumption and production costs.
In its yearly result for 2015, TSMC made an announcement that it is planning to enter mass-production system of chips produced by 16-nano FinFET Compact (FFC) process sometime during 1st quarter of this year. TSMC had finished developing 16-nano FFC process at the end of last year. During the announcement TSMC talked up the fact that its 16-nano FFC process focuses on reducing production cost more than before and implementing low electricity.
TSMC is apparently ready for mass-production of 16-nano FFC process sometime during 1st half of this year and secured Huawei’s affiliate called HiSilicon as its first customer.
HiSilicon’s Kirin 950 that is used for Huawei’s premium Smartphone called Mate 8 is produced by TSMC’s 16-nano FF process. Its A9 Chip, which is used for Apple’s iPhone 6S series, is mass-produced using the 16-nano FinFET Plus (FF+) process that was announced in early 2015. By adding FFC process, TSMC now has three 16-nano processors in action.
Samsung is not far behind it has mass-produced Gen.2 14-nano FinFET using a process called LPP (Low Power Plus). This has 15 per cent lower electricity consumption compared to Gen.1 14-nano process called LPE (Low Power Early).
Samsung Electronics’ 14-nano LPP process was seen in the Exynos 8 OCTA series that is used for Galaxy S7 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820. But Samsung Electronics is also preparing for Gen.3 14-nano FinFET process.
Vice-President Bae Young-chang of Samsung’s LSI Business Department’s Strategy Marketing Team said it will use a process similar to the Gen.2 14-nano process.
Both Samsung and TSMC might have a few problems. It is not clear what the yields of these processes are and this might increase the production costs.
Even if Samsung Electronics and TSMC finish developing 10-nano process at the end of this year and enter mass-production system next year, but they will also have to upgrade their current 14 and 16-nano processes to make them more economic.
Even if 10-nano process is commercialized, there still will be many fabless businesses that will use 14 and 16-nano processes because they are cheaper. While we might see a few flagship phones using the higher priced chips, it might be that we will not see 10nm in the majority of phones for years.
A big focus of the AT&T discounts is special deals on Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones and Gear S2 smartwatches. Analysts interpreted that focus on Samsung devices as a way to clear out inventory prior to expected upgrade announcements coming in late February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
AT&T is also facing pressure to add more subscribers, as analysts — including Evercore ISI this week– have predicted AT&T’s fourth-quarter postpaid subscriber loss will be more than 300,000. That comes amid reports that T-Mobile added 4.5 million net subscribers for the fourth quarter and Verizon Wireless added 525,000.
All the major carriers, including AT&T, hit the December holidays with special device deals, but AT&T apparently didn’t feel enough impact on its inventory from those offers, analysts said.
AT&T and Samsung are motivated to get rid of all the old inventory before new models arrive, said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. “Retailers won’t run such an aggressive promotion unless they have a lot of stock.”
An AT&T spokeswoman provided a different explanation: “Due to popular demand, AT&T is bringing back some of its holiday promos.”
Those promos — available to both consumers and business customers at AT&T retail stores — include a free Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch for a limited time to any customer buying a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, or a free Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 for buying a Galaxy smartphone on an AT&T Next wireless plan. AT&T is also offering an iPad mini 2 for $99 when a customer buys a new iPhone on the Next plan.
For business customers, the 2-for-1 smartphone deal is new. It allows business customers to buy a new smartphone and then get another smartphone, valued at up to $650, for free.
Rumors circulated this week that HTC is planning to set up a new company focusing entirely on virtual reality (VR), but the firm denied the reports on Tuesday.
The Chinese-language Commercial Times cited “unnamed industry sources” in stating that HTC chairwoman Cher Wang was planning to spin off the firm’s VR operations into an independent entity, but the company issued a statement on Tuesday saying that this is not true.
HTC said that it will chart a direction for the development of its VR operations with the goal of creating the best value for its shareholders, according to a report in Focus Taiwan.
Nevertheless, HTC stock rose 5.23 percent on Monday to NT$76.5 (£1.59) and remained unchanged on Tuesday.
The rumour came just a week after HTC confirmed that its Vive VR headset will be available to pre-order from 29 February and should still see an April shipping date as previously reported.
HTC unveiled the Vive Pre at CES 2016, a new and improved version of the headset that will soon go out as a development kit. The company promises to create “fully immersive experiences that change how we communicate, how we are entertained, and how we learn and train”.
The Vive Pre features components that have been redesigned from the ground up to provide better comfort, ergonomics and performance. There are also improvements in visuals and versatility, said HTC, to “create a world without limits”.
Wang explained in an interview with The Telegraph that the company had chosen to refocus on VR and away from smartphones, as it is now “more realistic”.
“Yes, smartphones are important, but to create a natural extension to other connected devices like wearables VR is more important,” she said.
The pre-order announcement comes a few days after VR rival the Oculus Rift finally went on sale to the general public. However, since the device’s official price of $599 was unveiled, the makers behind the headset have been criticized for underestimating its price in the past, and potential buyers have said that it is far more expensive than they were led to believe.
On Monday, Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the permanent injunction would come into effect 30 days after the entry of the order. The ban covers the implementation of features like the “slide-to-unlock” and auto word correction capabilities in some of Samsung’s earlier phones.
The smartphones covered under the order include Samsung’s Admire, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S II, Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy S II Skyrocket, Galaxy S III and Stratosphere products, which are Samsung’s older smartphones.
Judge Koh’s order also banned from sale “software or code capable of implementing any Infringing Feature, and/or any feature not more than colorably different therefrom.”
The court had earlier issued a summary judgment that Samsung infringed the patent relating to the autocorrect feature. A jury then found that Samsung also infringed two other patents, including one that covered the slide-to-unlock feature, and awarded Apple damages of $119.6 million for all infringed patents.
The decision by Judge Koh is significant as Apple has just begun to get benefits from its litigation against Samsung in the California court. The Judge had earlier refused to issue a permanent injunction saying that Apple had not shown it would suffer irreparable harm without an injunction. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, however, vacated her decision and remanded it back to the lower court for further proceedings.
The Chinese company had forecast last year that it would sell at least 80 million phones during the year. It had sold 34.7 million handsets during the first half of the year.
Growth in smartphone sales is slowing down in China because of saturation of the market, said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. Xiaomi is also facing stiff competition from other players who have copied the company’s strategy based on online sales, content and exclusive apps, he added.
Research firm Canalys said in October that Huawei had overtaken Xiaomi as China’s top smart phone vendor in the third quarter of last year. Xiaomi fell to second place after its shipments shrank year on year. Xiaomi is under tremendous pressure to keep growing as an international player as it slows down in its key home market, the research firm added.
About 90 percent of Xiaomi’s sales have come from China, said Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Research. The company, which had acquired a star status because of its meteoric growth and aggressive publicity campaigns, has tried to reduce its dependence on the Chinese market, selling in other markets such as India, Indonesia and the Philippines.
But other than in China and India, its performance in markets it has entered has been lackluster, Shah said. Even in India, it is not among the top five as it faces competition from established local and foreign brands who have been quick to match Xiaomi’s online sales strategy, he added.
Xiaomi offers an app ecosystem, which has proven to be attractive in China where the Google Play store is banned, but this has not helped the company in India and other markets where Google Play is available, Shah said.