Although the iPhone remained the top smartphone by customer satisfaction, with a score of 81 in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) published Tuesday, Apple’s lead largely evaporated. Not only did Apple’s score fall two points from the year before, satisfaction in competitors’ devices jumped.
Samsung’s satisfaction score grew the most, increasing by five points to 76, a 7% gain. Motorola’s score climbed 5.5% to 77 points, while Nokia’s gained a point to close at 76, a 1.3% increase. Other smartphone manufacturers’ scores slumped: Those of HTC and LG slid 4% and 5.3%, respectively.
2012′s eight-point gap between Apple and the best of the rest was halved in 2013, as Apple now leads the next-closest, Motorola, by just four points.
ACSI’s director, David VanAmburg, attempted to explain Apple’s shrinking lead.
“While the iPhone 5 had strong sales, it has not bolstered Apple’s overall customer satisfaction,” said VanAmburg in a report accompanying the survey results. “[And Samsung's] improvement is the largest yet for any cell phone manufacturer.”
VanAmburg credited the 2012 launch of the Galaxy S3 for the boost to Samsung’s score, and noted that the 81 scored by the iPhone lagged behind the 86 garnered by Apple’s Mac personal computers and iPad tablets last September.
ACSI’s results generally conformed with media coverage and customer reactions to the iPhone 5 — which was seen as a minor upgrade, even though it sported a slightly larger screen — and Samsung’s Galaxy S3 and S4, which have been applauded. Most analysts, for instance, have portrayed Samsung as Apple’s only real competitor.
According to IDC, Samsung shipped 71 million smartphones in the first quarter, while Apple shipped 37 million iPhones, or just over half as many. Apple’s share shrunk to 17.3% for the quarter, down from 23% the same period in 2012; meanwhile, Samsung’s share climbed from 28.8% to 32.7%.
The new bid marks a significant boost from its earlier offer of $2.97 per share and beats Dish’s $3.30 bid. Clearwire shareholders had been scheduled to vote on Sprint’s offer at a special meeting Tuesday, but that meeting has now been postponed until May 30.
Sprint already owns roughly half of Clearwire, which has been its partner for 4G WiMax service since 2008. After Softbank agreed to invest $20 billion in Sprint and take a 70 percent share in the company, Sprint moved to complete its ownership. It plans to use Clearwire’s spectrum to beef up its new LTE network.
But Dish, a satellite TV and broadband provider, has made offers for both Sprint and Clearwire in an attempt to get into the relatively fast-growing mobile business. On Monday, Sprint announced it had received permission from Softbank to negotiate with Dish on its $25.5 billion offer, though Sprint said it still favored the Softbank deal.
Clearwire’s board of directors agreed to Sprint’s offer in December, but some minority shareholders in Clearwire had vowed to reject the deal, saying it undervalued the company and its significant spectrum holdings. Sprint had already increased its offer once, in December, from $2.90 per share to $2.97.
Intel will offer five GPU SKUs in its upcoming Haswell based processors and a further two for its server chips.
Intel has been placing greater emphasis on its graphics performance in the last few generations of its chips, with Ivy Bridge finally bringing full profile OpenCL capability. Now the firm has released some more details on the GPUs that will be available with its Haswell processors, with five options for desktop and laptops that the firm claims are up to twice as fast on its favoured 3DMark benchmarks.
While Intel showed off performance figures using various versions of its favoured synthetic 3Dmark benchmark, the firm also said that its next generation GPU will support Microsoft’s DirectX 11.1 and OpenGL 4.0 along with OpenCL 1.2. The firm also said it will put DRAM on the same package as the GPU.
Intel also revealed what GPUs certain processors will have. The Core i7-4650U, a 15W TDP chip for ultrabooks, will have a GT3 GPU, while the Core i7-4558U, a 28W TDP mobile chip, will have a higher performance GPU aimed at larger laptops. The firm will drop its internal GTx codenames in favour of more marketable monikers.
Before Intel plasters its HD Graphics and various other stickers on the GPUs, the firm said GT1 GPUs will be destined for processors carrying the Pentium and Celeron branding, with GT2 being the most common GPU found in processors branded as Core. Intel’s GT3 and GT3e GPUs will come in three flavours for particular TDPs, with the firm using the desktop Core i7 4770K and Core i7 4770R as examples of chips with different TDPs, 84W and 65W respectively, with different GPUs and benchmark performance.
While Intel’s GPUs in Haswell processors are still unlikely to be enough for gamers, it is clear that Haswell chips will provide another significant jump over Intel’s previous generation GPUs, which is particularly important for laptop users who are starting to see higher resolution displays but are forced to run with integrated graphics.
Finnish startup Jolla has announced its first smartphone, which debuts its Sailfish OS on a 4.5-inch screen. The device integrates the company’s unique back covers with the software, allowing the look to change and new features to be added.
Jolla, which was founded by former Nokia employees who wanted to continue the development work the Finnish phone maker had done on the MeeGo OS, is with the introduction one big step closer to entering the ultra-competitive smartphone market.
“The earliest memories I have of things really crystalizing is from the summer of 2011. I was on holiday and there was a conference call I took on the beach, and the people that became Jolla, the founders and many of the early contributors were on that call. But to me the hard work really started in January 2012,” said Marc Dillon, who recently stepped down as the company’s CEO to focus on developing the first phone.
The LTE-smartphone — which is just called Jolla, for now — is powered by a dual-core processor and has an 8-megapixel camera. It also has 16GB of integrated storage which can be expanded using an SD card.
The smartphone has been designed to look like two thin slabs that have been bonded together, and users can change the color of the back one with different snap-on covers. The back cover isn’t just about the hardware design. It is integrated with the OS and can be used to add features and change the look, a concept Jolla calls “the other half.”
“This is one of the most powerful things we have … a very simple example could be that you have covers with different colors,” Dillon said. “So you change the back of the device to a red one in the evening and a black one for the office and that would also change the user interface because there is a connection there.”
The cover could also have more memory for extra content that could be used by artists to put out limited edition phones, according to Dillon.
The company’s core offering is the Sailfish operating system, which Jolla hopes will lure users away from competing platforms. To help boost the availability of apps, the OS will be able to run Android applications.
The heart of the OS consists of thumbnails of opened applications on the homescreen from which users also can access multiple features directly by scrolling from side-to-side or just clicking on them to access the main feature.
“The true multitasking is working in lots of different applications. You can have a video running in a thumbnail while you are doing something else on the device,” Dillon said.
The Jolla will start shipping during the fourth quarter and cost a!399 (US$510) including taxes in the EU. It can be preordered on Jolla’s website.
DAS (distributed antenna systems) using coaxial cable have been the main solution to the problem, but they now face some limitations. To address them, Corning will introduce a DAS at this week’s CTIA Wireless trade show in Las Vegas that uses fiber instead of coax all the way from the remote cell antennas to the base station in the heart of a building.
Cable-based DAS hasn’t kept up with the new world, according to the optical networking vendor. Though Corning is associated more often with clear glass than with thin air, it entered the indoor wireless business in 2011 by buying DAS maker MobileAccess. That’s because Corning thinks optical fiber is the key to bringing more mobile capacity and coverage inside.
The system, called Corning Optical Network Evolution (ONE) Wireless Platform, can take the place of a DAS based fully or partly on coaxial cable, according to Bill Cune, vice president of strategy for Corning MobileAccess. Corning ONE will let mobile carriers, enterprises or building owners set up a neutral-host DAS for multiple carriers using many different frequencies.
Though small cells are starting to take its place in some buildings, DAS still has advantages over the newer technology, according to analyst Peter Jarich of Current Analysis. It can be easier to upgrade because only the antennas are distributed, so more of the changes can be carried out on centralized gear. Also, small cells are typically deployed by one mobile operator, and serving customers of other carriers has to be done through roaming agreements, he said.
Corning ONE links each antenna to the base station over optical fiber, converting the radio signals to optical wavelengths until they reach the base station. Fiber has more capacity than coax, can handle higher frequencies, and requires just one cable from a MIMO antenna, Cune said. Because of fiber’s high capacity, it’s relatively easy to bring other mobile operators onto the DAS.
The system is based on optical fiber, but it can be extended over standard Ethernet wiring to provide backhaul for Wi-Fi access points. Each Corning ONE remote antenna unit that’s deployed around a building will have two Ethernet ports to hook up nearby Wi-Fi access points, which can use the fiber infrastructure for data transport to wired LAN equipment, Cune said.
In addition to the GK110 based Nvidia Geforce GTX 780, we managed to get some details regarding the GK104-based GTX 770 as well. Scheduled to be officially launched a week after the GTX 780, on May 30th, the GTX 770 will aim a similar price point as the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition but will end up to be at least a bit faster.
As noted and rumored earlier, the GTX 770 will be a simple rebrand of the GTX 680, but with slightly higher clocks. It features 1536 CUDA cores and runs at 1046MHz base GPU clock. It also feature Nvidia GPU Boost 2.0 that will take the GPU up to 1085MHz when possible. It will be available with both 2GB and 4GB of memory, clocked at a pretty impressive 7000MHz and paired up with a 256-bit memory interface.
As it is based on a version of the GK104 chip it is no wonder that it needs 6+8-pin PCI-Express power connectors and has a 230W TDP. It will also feature two DL-DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs. Judging by earlier leaks, pictures and some information that we saw, it will also use a reference cooler similar or same as the one on the GTX Titan. This means that the card will be significantly quieter.
Judging by the slides, it should end up anywhere between 10 and 20 percent faster than the HD 7970 GHz Edition and in some cases, like Tomb Raider, Crysis 3 and Max Payne 3, on par or just a tad bit faster.
Of course, we will not talk about the price as Nvidia can easily change it a day before the launch, but it is expected to be somewhere around the HD 7970 GHz Edition, or $450+ range.
The term virus is frequently used as a catch-all for malicious software, but actually describes a very specific type of program that infects files and replicates, noticeable impairing a computer. Most malware these days tries to not be so obvious.
But Microsoft has noticed that viruses — which have been present on around 5 percent of the computers the company regularly polls — have increased in prevalence in some regions, wrote Tim Rains, director of the company’s Trustworthy Computing section.
In the fourth quarter of last year, viruses were present on about 7.8 percent of computers scanned by the company, he wrote. In some locations, such as Pakistan, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Somalia, Egypt and Afghanistan, the percentage of computers with viruses ranged from 35 to 44 percent, he wrote.
Those developing nations all have a low percentage of broadband connections, which may contribute to those computers having fewer security protections.
“Although we don’t have complete data for all the aforementioned locations, we can see that 30 percent to 40 percent of computers in some of these locations do not have up-to-date real-time anti-virus software installed, compared to the worldwide average of 24 percent,” Rains wrote.
More than 8 million computers worldwide are infected with Sality, a virus that infects files with certain extensions such as “.scr” and “.exe” and can also shut down the processes and services of security software, he wrote. It mostly just affects computers still running Windows XP.
To infect computers, Sality has used a vulnerability that was also targeted by Stuxnet, the malware designed to wreck Siemens equipment used by Iran in its nuclear fuel refinement program.
“Sality’s success proves that file infectors can be still be successful,” Rains wrote. “Unlike viruses from yesteryear, attackers today are trying to steal information, sometimes by turning on computers’ microphones and cameras.”
The person acknowledged that other parties were involved, adding that DirecTV was “one of many” suitors. Media reports have previously identified Time Warner Cable Inc as another company weighing a potential stake in the company.
Representatives of DirecTV and Time Warner Cable declined to comment on Friday.
Reuters reported in April that former News Corp president Peter Chernin had bid around $500 million for Hulu, the service he helped create in 2007. Reuters also reported that Guggenheim had been hired to advise Hulu and was also contemplating a bid.
DirecTV had circled Hulu once before, when the video company put itself on the block in 2011. Other suitors at the time included Google Inc,Amazon.com Inc and Dish Network Corp. Talks collapsed over the price of that deal.
Hulu has more than 3 million subscribers paying $7.99 a month for its premium service, and generated revenue of around $700 million last year. It sells advertising for its free service.
The Wall Street Journal was the first to report DirecTV’s interest late last Friday.
Tumblr, a place for posting cat memes and duck faces, is apparently in Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s sights, with Allthingsd reporting that she is the main driver of a possible acquisition. Yahoo and Tumblr are in “had been in serious talks,” with Mayer having had her eye on the company ever since she worked for Yahoo rival Google.
The report also claims that Tumblr has been “stepping up its efforts” recently to raise funding that could value the company at $1bn, seemingly interested in a potential buyout by Yahoo as long as the price is right.
Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman quoted said that the firm is looking to attract more 18-24 year olds, which is the demographic of the blogging service.
“One of our challenges is we have had an aging demographic,” Goldman said. “Part of it is going to be just visibility again in making ourselves cool, which we got away from for a couple of years.”
One of Allthingsd’s closely guarded sources said that Yahoo acquiring Tumblr fits in nicely with Mayer’s plans.
“If you could pick a company that fits in with what Marissa Mayer has demonstrated in her career – aesthetics, software technology and fast-growing – you could not land on a better choice,” the unnamed source said.
The merger will come as no surprise, as Tumblr boasts 117 million visitors each month, the majority of which are in the 18-24 demographic. However, it still remains unclear what Yahoo would do with Tumblr.
Yahoo will reportedly announce this afternoon.
Google Inc announced on Thursday a half-dozen apps specially designed to work on its Glass devices. News network CNN, fashion magazine Elle, as well as online apps Tumblr and Evernote were among the half-dozen new apps for Glass unveiled during Google’s annual developer conference in San Francisco.
Google Glass is a stamp-sized electronic screen mounted on the left side of a pair of eyeglass frames which can record video, access email and messages and retrieve information from the Web.
Google began distributing the devices last month to a limited number of developers, but it has yet to specify when a version will be available for consumers or at what price.
The futuristic-looking devices have been a common sight at the Google conference this week, with many of the attendees and staffers wearing Glass. But Google executives gave Glass short shrift during the more than three-hour keynote talks on Wednesday, barely mentioning Glass among the litany of new products and services discussed on stage.
Oracle is building a third data-center in the UK, to service the British administration’s G-Cloud plans right next to the sweet smelling Mars Chocolate factory.
According to the company, the new data-center, opening in July, is located in Slough. It will offer cloud services and infrastructure as a service, to government bodies as well as to independent software vendors working on state contracts. Oracle president Mark Hurd said in a press release that the new Equinix Slough data center, will supplements the existing facilities at Linlithgow near Edinburgh and in Slough.
“As this whole cloud evolves and develops, you’ve got a lot of issues that come up. You’ve got security concerns, you’ve got data-sovereignty issues, you’ve got regulatory issues, you’ve got various issues that come up about the location of data — some of those are the physical location of data,” Hurd said.
The new data-center is specifically for government projects. It will meet the specific requirements of G-Cloud, including the IL3 security protocols as well. Hurd claims that it will be ring-fenced data-center, specifically to serve UK government, which is one of Oracle’s biggest clients in the UK.
Hurd said the company now has more than $1bn in cloud subscription revenue and claimed the company was now the second biggest player in the cloud.
“We’re globalising our capability. We have a very broad distribution capability so we sell close to the customer and we move our capabilities close to the customer as well,” Hurd said.
There are multiple theories for the decline in pay, but a common one cited by analysts is simply that the new people being hired are paid less than those already on the job.
The average annual wage of all workers in the software services sector was $99,000 in 2012, about $2,000 less than the prior year, reported TechAmerica Foundation in its annual Cyberstates report.
The foundation is an affiliate of the industry trade group TechAmerca. It uses Labor Dept. data to assemble its report.
Matthew Kazmierczak, a senior vice president at TechAmerica, said if there is lots of hiring in an industry and the pay for new hires is below average, the average wage could go down.
The hiring could be below the overall salary average “if many of the new jobs are more ‘entry’ level or people without the same specialized skills or years of experience (managerial or otherwise) as a more seasoned employee,” said Kazmierczak.
“It is also possible that with the recession, wages [for new hires] dropped as more people were competing for jobs. So wages for new jobs are below average,” said Kazmierczak.
The Cyberstates report puts the tech labor force at 5.95 million in 2012, an increase of 1.1% from the prior year. Of that, 1.87 million workers are in software services jobs.
Software services, which includes government defined labor categories software publishers, custom programmers, computer facilities management and other computer related services, are the best paid and the largest segment of the tech work force.
Dell’s profit for the quarter, ended May 3, was $130 million, down 79 percent from $635 million in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue declined 2 percent to $14.07 billion.
Dell’s PC division was particularly hard hit. Sales for the quarter were down 9 percent to $8.9 billion, Dell said, and the group’s operating profit skidded 65 percent lower to $224 million. Laptop sales were hit especially hard.
Its enterprise business showed mixed performance. Sales of servers and network gear were up 14 percent but storage was down 10 percent. Dell’s services division reported a 2 percent increase in revenue.
Dell is trying hard to build an enterprise software business, which it hopes will eventually generate higher profits than its PC division. The software group reported an operating loss for the quarter, however, as Dell invested in new sales and R&D staff.
Dell’s earnings for the quarter on a pro forma basis, which excludes one-time items, were $0.21 a share, well off the analyst forecast of $0.35 a share, according to Thomson Reuters.
In a statement, CFO Brian Gladden said Dell’s profits were affected by steps it took to improve its competitiveness. “We’ll also continue to make important investments to support our strategy and drive long-term profitability,” he said.
Michael Dell announced in February that he planned to take the company private in a deal with Silver Lake Partners valued at $24.4 billion. The company founder has said he wants some breathing room to focus on long term investments without the constant scrutiny from Wall Street.
IBM has opened an office in Beijing that will help developers port Linux applications to its Power architecture.
IBM has been pushing its Power architecture for over 20 years, with its RISC chips intended for use in mission critical systems. Now the firm is working with Red Hat and Suse to help Linux developers port applications to the Power architecture by opening an office in Beijing.
While the firm has pushed its AIX operating system, IBM’s proprietary variant of Unix, as its favored operating system for use in Power systems, the rapid development and maturity of Linux has meant that more and more firms are considering Linux based distributions such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Suse Enterprise Linux instead of proprietary Unix variants.
IBM said its Chinese offices will offer Linux training workshops that will show developers how to port Linux applications and make use of the Power architecture, and specifically the parallel processing capabilities of the Power7+ processor. The firm added that developers will also have access to IBM’s business consultants and it will even help developers market their applications.
Colin Parris, IBM Power Systems GM said, “China is one of the fastest growing countries to adopt open source technologies like Linux – and Power Systems is often the best platform for Linux because of its advanced performance, security and virtualisation.”
IBM, despite its history with AIX, has been a vocal supporter of Linux for well over a decade and its decision to help developers port applications to the Power architecture is a pragmatic move to ensure its hardware sales will not dry up, even if revenue from AIX licenses starts to decline as a result of its porting initiative.
IBM even referred to the Power based cluster that ran Watson, the program that hit the headlines for its ability to play the television game show Jeopardy, as an example of a Power based system that runs Linux.
Users wearing Epson’s Moverio BT-100 smart glasses will be able to play, pause, rewind, fast forward or select a video by tilting or turning their head in a specific direction. The capability is made possible through an application developed to enhance the end-user experience of YouTube.
The smart glasses and hands-free YouTube capabilities will be demonstrated at the Google I/O conference, which will be held in San Francisco between May 15 and 17.
Moverio smart glasses run on Android software and have technology that projects a virtual 80-inch display at the center of the user’s view. The smart glasses being demonstrated have gyroscopes, accelerometers and magnetometers to track head movement, which ultimately enables hands-free playback of videos on YouTube.
The Moverio glasses are tinted like sunglasses but are see-through, much like Google Glasses. But users can also block out the see-through capability to watch videos from the Internet. Users can also run Android applications on the glasses.
The Moverio glasses are also connected to a remote that allows users to control or play back videos. They have Wi-Fi capabilities and also can display 3D images.
Epson is widely known as a printer and projector maker. The company has already said it wanted to improve gesture-based controls on its smart glasses, and bringing hands-free interaction to YouTube could set the stage for improvements in virtual reality applications.
The smart glasses are already available and are priced at US$699.99