The Android-based device will plug into a display’s HDMI port so that it can run applications or access files stored remotely. It will have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities and is aimed at users who do most of their computing on the Web.
Ophelia can turn any screen or display into a PC, gaming machine or a TV set-top box, said Jeff McNaught, executive director of cloud client computing at Dell. Users will be able to download apps, movies and TV shows from the Google Play store, McNaught said. Users will also be able to run Android games or stream movies from Hulu or Netflix.
It is meant to be an inexpensive alternative to tablets and PCs, McNaught said. However, users need to be close to a TV screen, display or projector with an HDMI port to use it.
The company is working on a keyboard-like technology for users to type when Ophelia is docked to a screen, he said.
Dell will demonstrate Ophelia on 19-inch and 55-inch screens at next week’s Citrix Synergy conference in Los Angeles. It was introduced in January at the International CES show.
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.
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.
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
Google also announced several APIs that will let developers add more capabilities to their Android apps, including in the areas of location and improving battery life.
“It’s been an amazing year for Android developers,” said Android and Chrome vice president Sundar Pichai.
Google has sent more money to developers through their Play Store sales in the last four months than it did in all of 2012 and revenue per user is now 2.5 times higher than it was a year ago, the company said.
Showing a map of the world where Android penetration is less than 10 percent — which encompassed most of the world outside North America and Europe — Pichai said Google’s next focus is “bringing the next 4.5 billion online.”
To date, Google has seen more than 48 billion Android application installs, and 2.5 billion in the last four months alone, said Hugo Barra, vice president and product manager of Android.
Google announced an update to Google Play Services, a layer of software managed by Google on top of Android, which includes APIs for Google services like Google Maps and Google Now.
Google Play Services is updated independently of Android, to give developers access to the latest Google APIs, helping to solve the Android fragmentation problem.
Google launched new location APIs as part of Google Play Services. The first, Fused Location Provider, includes a low-power location mode that should extend battery life by using less than 1 percent of battery per hour, Barra said.
The second, Geofencing, let’s developers define “virtual fences” around geographic areas that are triggered when a user enters and leaves those areas. “This has been a big ask from you guys,” Barra told the developer audience, who cheered the news.
The last is Activity Recognition, which uses accelerometer data and machine learning to figure out when the user is doing things like walking, driving or cycling.
Google Inc unveiled a music service on Wednesday that allows users to listen to unlimited songs for $9.99 a month, challenging smaller companies like Pandora and Spotify in the market for streaming music.
With its new service, announced at its annual developers’ conference in San Francisco, Google has adopted the streaming music business model ahead of rival Apple Inc, which pioneered online music purchases with iTunes.
Google’s “All Access” service lets users customize song selections from 22 genres, ranging from Jazz to Indie music, stream individual playlists, or listen to a curated, radio-like stream that can be tweaked. It will be launched for U.S. users first, before being rolled out to several other countries.
At the conference, Google also unveiled improvements to other services, including new mapping features and a voice-activated search. The focus was on giving more options to users of mobile devices using its Android operating system.
Google’s shares jumped more than 3 percent while Pandora Media Inc shares were down more than 1 percent on Wednesday afternoon.
The entry of the world’s largest Internet company amps up the competition in the nascent market for subscription-based, streaming music. Amazon.com Inc and Apple are among the Silicon Valley powerhouses sounding out top recording industry executives, according to sources with knowledge of talks.
Pandora is spending freely and racking up losses to expand globally. Even social media stalwarts Facebook and Twitter are jumping onto the streaming-music bandwagon.
All these companies see a viable music streaming and subscription service as crucial to growing their presence in an exploding mobile environment. For Google and Apple, it is critical in ensuring users remain loyal to their mobile products.
Music has been integral to the mobile experience since the early days of iTunes, which upended the old models with its 99-cent-per-song buying approach.
Now, as smartphones and tablets supplant PCs and virtual storage replaces songs on devices, mobile players from handset makers to social networks realize they must stake out a place or risk ceding control of one of the largest components of mobile device usage.
At $9.99 a month, Google’s service is costlier than the $3.99 required for Pandora, but on par with Spotify.
Google executives said their new service takes the work out of managing massive music libraries, noting the streaming model can be endlessly customized.
The firm is in its ascendancy, and is blowing the ink dry on a deal with Disney and getting ready to show the much anticipated Arrested Development Series Four.
While Lovefilm told us that it does not provide subtitles on the films and TV shows it provides, Netflix, its main rival, has improved the subtitles feature on the PS3, making it easier for the hard of hearing to make their selection.
“The first thing you will notice an updated design that is more consistent with the Netflix player on the Web as well as our mobile and tablet applications,” said Chris Jaffe, director of product innovation at Netflix.
“The key feature in this update is the ability to easily manage your audio and subtitles selections. You can now do that directly in the player on the PS3, without having to return to the browse experience.”
The PS3 app now has the same audio and subtitles feature as the Xbox version. It’s going to prove handy for the hard of hearing, and Jaffe said that users will be able to select the Audio and Subtitles settings while they’re watching a movie. PS3 Blu-ray remote control users can just press the Subtitles button.
This is 2013 and nothing happens without someone adding something “social” to it. This update to the Netflix PS3 app also makes sharing whatever title you are watching easier.
There are some playback improvements including “trickplay” mode – a fast-forward or rewind option, and a 10 second skip back button.
“The updated Netflix player experience is available now on PS3 and will be coming soon to select Smart TVs and Blu-ray players,” said Jaffe.
Outlook.com, which replaced Hotmail and offers a similar feature for chatting with people on Facebook and Skype, will roll out this Gmail capability over the next few days to its 400 million users worldwide, according to Microsoft.
People will also be able to engage in IM chats with Gmail users from the interface of their SkyDrive cloud storage and file sharing application.
“With this feature, the next time you’re reading an email from someone who uses Gmail, you can reply with a quick chat right from your Outlook.com inbox. And if you’re working together on an Office document in SkyDrive, you can send an instant message to a Google contact with just a click,” wrote Microsoft official Douglas Pearce in a blog post on Tuesday.
Pearce also took a dig at Gmail in the blog post, saying that the new feature is “one more reason to make the switch” and that part of the motivation was to help Outlook.com users chat “with friends stuck on Gmail.”
Microsoft launched a preview of Outlook.com with much fanfare in July 2012,positioning it as a re-imagining of webmail from the data center to the user experience, and as a better option to Gmail and Yahoo Mail.
Microsoft has also been attacking Gmail for months via its Scroogledcampaign, in which Microsoft accuses Google of disrespecting the privacy of Gmail users by matching ads to the text of their messages.
Earlier this month, Microsoft announced it had completed migrating all users from Hotmail to Outlook.com, whose improvements include a redesigned user interface, broad syncing capabilities, improved message sorting and native integration with Facebook, Twitter and other sites.
Analysts regarded the move — announced today at BlackBerry Live — as mostly positive, since it could help an improving BlackBerry expand its reach beyond its own new Z10 and Q10 smartphone customers.
Today, there are 60 million BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) customers, a tiny fraction of the number of messages sent via Facebook or Twitter. But BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said BBM users are very active, sending 10 billion messages a day, and half the messages received are read within 20 seconds.
Opening up BBM to iOS 6 devices and above and Android Ice Cream Sandwich devices and above will expand BBM’s reach, Heins said.
“BBM is so great that it’s too good to keep only to ourselves,”Heins said during an upbeat keynote presentation at the event, which is mainly for BlackBerry developers and partners. “Why now? It’s a statement of confidence, that BlackBerry 10 is strong and the response is so good that it’s time that BBM become multi-platform.”
BBM’s interoperability with Android and iOS is now in beta, and will launch commercially this summer, Heins said. At first, only text messaging will be available to individuals and groups on other platforms. Features already available in BlackBerry 10 on BBM such as voice and video and screen sharing will be added later this year, with updates every two to four weeks.
Video codec VP9 is nearing completion according to the WebM project, which said it’s “putting the finishing touches” on it.
The WebM project is sponsored by Google and uses the VP8 video codec, which has been embraced by Google in its Chrome web browser and perhaps most importantly on its video sharing website Youtube. Now the project has said it putting the final touches its replacement VP9 and is working on launch plans.
Senior business product manager for the WebM project Matt Frost said developers are finishing work on the VP9 bitstream and sorting out launch plans. Frost said the project is accepting final contributor comments and making decisions about experimental code, adding that work on authoring a draft bitstream specification has started.
Frost also said that the VP9 bitstream will be frozen on 17 June, with Google’s Chrome web browser and Chrome OS to implement VP9 by default. Google said it will support the VP9 codec on Youtube once it has enabled support for the codec in its Chrome web browser and, due to a licensing deal Google signed with MPEG LA, there should be no licensing issues with VP9 when it is released.
With Google’s blessing, VP8 and the upcoming VP9 video codec are well placed to take over from Adobe’s Flash video, which still lingers on despite Apple’s best efforts to kill it. The only remaining obstacle facing WebM’s VP9 codec is getting Mozilla and Microsoft to offer built-in support in their web browsers, though it is unlikely that Mozilla will wait very long to support it.
On Tuesday, Verizon, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA joined the “It Can Wait” campaign that AT&T began last year. Next Monday, the campaign will kick off TV, radio and online ads warning consumers about the dangers of texting and driving, and a driving simulator will tour the country to demonstrate how dangerous the practice can be.
Recent studies have raised concerns over the growth of texting while driving and its dangers, especially for teenagers. Almost 43 percent of high school students of driving age had texted while driving in the past month, according to a recent survey by the Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York.
The co-branded summer campaign, scheduled to run through Labor Day on Sept. 3, was timed for what the carriers called the most dangerous season for teen driving. It will also include messages in Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Radio Shack stores as well as the carriers’ retail shops.
More than 200 organizations are also joining in the campaign. On Sept. 19, just as they did last year, backers of the program will ask consumers to take a pledge not to text while driving.
“They are doing the right thing,” said mobile analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates. “I don’t think anybody, including the carriers, wants people texting while they’re driving.”
At the same time, the carriers may also be trying to head off further regulation of mobile use in cars. Texting while driving is illegal in many states, as is talking on a phone without a hands-free system. However, regulation might someday go further to outlaw mobile use even with hands-free systems, he said. Carriers may also fear being named in lawsuits over texting-related accidents, so they’re taking strong steps to warn against it, Gold said.
The company said over the weekend it welcomed Loki, Astrid, GoPollGo and MileWise to its growing mobile team. “We recently added 22 entrepreneurs to our growing mobile team,” the company said in a Twitter message in a possible reference to some of the people from the four companies who have moved to Yahoo.
Loki’s flagship application is its location-aware game, Geomon. “We are thrilled to be joining the exceptional folks at Yahoo!. We believe fully in their commitment to creating outstanding mobile products,” the Loki team said on their website.
Earlier in the week, Yahoo also acquired GoPollGo, a social polling tool. The company’s founder and team said they were moving to Yahoo, and would no longer be supporting their offerings.
It is not clear whether Yahoo has bought all these companies for their products and technology or just to get their experienced staff in the area of mobile as it tries to build up its own mobile capabilities. The way the services are being shut down suggests that their user base did not particularly interest Yahoo. The company could not be immediately reached for comment.