Android based mobile phones from all manufacturers make up nearly 80% of all smartphones recently sold worldwide, but Apple’s iPhone and iPad still dominate when it comes to Web browsing in the U.S. and other highly developed countries.
In the U.S., about 62% of all mobile Web browsing in the last year came from iOS smartphones and tablets, according to dotMobi, a Web consulting and Web data measurement firm. The company measured billions of Web sites visited by smartphones and tablets in 101 countries, including the most developed ones.
Overall, iOS devices were used most often for browsing in 34 of the 101 countries measured; Android dominated in 67 nations.
The percentage of mobile users browsing the Web with iOS devices was higher in several nations than in the U.S. In the UK and France, that figure was 65%; in Japan, 68%; in Canada, 73%; and in Australia, 74%.
Meanwhile, Android smartphones and tablets are used more often for browsing in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, including Spain (56%) and Germany and India (both at 58%). Macedonia was strongest for Android usage, at nearly 91%, while South Korea — home of big Android device maker Samsung — had 74% of users browsing with Android.
Eileen O’Sullivan, the chief operating officer of dotMobi, said that Apple still maintains a stronghold across major markets in the world, but added, “its dominance is not guaranteed.” She said that while Apple is still considered an “aspirational brand,” its relatively high prices compared to Android smartphones and tablets could cost it market share in the countries where it leads.
All of dotMobi’s data is freely available on the Web, but users must register to see it.
The company provides maps that rank browsing by OS, even a specific device, and clicking on a country will show the percentage of use for that device in that country. For the U.S., Apple’s 62% share of Web browsing by iPhone and iPad compares to about 19% for Samsung devices and less than 4% each for Motorola, LG HTC, BlackBerry, Nokia and others.
In China, nearly 49.5% of Web browsing is done via iOS devices, with the remainder shared by Android devices from various brands, including Samsung (11%), HTC (9%), Huawei (6%) and Lenovo (3%).
Apple Inc said it would offer an iPad 4 tablet to replace the mid-range iPad 2 at the same price and the company also debuted a cheaper, lower capacity version of its plastic-backed iPhone 5C in Australia, China and some European countries.
The iPad 4 is available at $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $529 for the 16GB Wi-Fi + cellular model at the four major U.S. carriers – AT&T Inc, Sprint Corp, T-Mobile US Inc and Verizon Communications Inc.
The fourth-generation iPad, which has a 9.7-inch Retina display and supports 4G carriers worldwide, was launched in 2012, while the iPad 2 was launched in 2011.
Apple discontinued the iPad 4 last year when it launched its current flagship tablet, the iPad Air. The company had cut the price of iPad 2 to $399 in 2012.
Tablets based on Apple’s iOS platform held 36 percent share of the market in 2013, trailing those based on Google Inc’s Android software that had 62 percent share, according to research firm Gartner.
Apple also launched on Tuesday an 8GB iPhone 5C priced at 429 pounds ($710), 40 pounds cheaper than the 16GB version, according to the company’s UK website.
The 8GB iPhone 5C will also be available in France and Germany.
“We believe this newly configured device will have a lower gross margin as we estimate the difference in cost to Apple for the 8GB of NAND is $5 to $10,” Cross Research analyst Shannon Cross wrote in a research note.
Analysts have said earlier that the iPhone 5C, which is about $100 cheaper than the iPhone 5S, was unable to grab market share from rivals offering lower-cost phones based on Android.
Thousands of email users have been hit by a sick cancer email hoax that aims to infect the recipients’ computers with Zeus malware.
The email has already hit thousands of inboxes across the UK, and looks like it was sent by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). It features the subject line “Important blood analysis result”.
However, NICE has warned that it did not send the malicious emails, and is urging users not to open them.
NICE chief executive Sir Andrew Dillon said, “A spam email purporting to come from NICE is being sent to members of the public regarding cancer test results.
“This email is likely to cause distress to recipients since it advises that ‘test results’ indicate they may have cancer. This malicious email is not from NICE and we are currently investigating its origin. We take this matter very seriously and have reported it to the police.”
The hoax message requests that users download an attachment that purportedly contains the results of the faux blood analysis.
Security analysis firm Appriver has since claimed that the scam email is carrying Zeus malware that if installed will attempt to steal users’ credentials and take over their PCs.
Appriver senior security specialist Fred Touchette warned, “If the attachment is unzipped and executed the user may see a quick error window pop up and then disappear on their screen.
“What they won’t see is the downloader then taking control of their PC. It immediately begins checking to see if it is being analysed, by making long sleep calls, and checking to see if it is running virtually or in a debugger.
“Next it begins to steal browser cookies and MS Outlook passwords from the system registry. The malware in turn posts this data to a server at 184.108.40.206 with the command /ppp/ta.php, and punches a hole in the firewall to listen for further commands on UDP ports 7263 and 4400.”
The measure echoes similar drives around Europe. Publishers in Portugal, France, Belgium and Germany have pushed for compensation in some form or another for links, snippets, headlines and lead paragraphs that appear in news search engines and aggregators such as Google News and Yahoo news.
The search engines draw revenue from advertising placed near news content and media companies have fought for a share of it.
The new rule was introduced in the draft of an intellectual property law that the center-right People’s Party government will present to parliament for approval, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria told a weekly news conference.
Under the proposed changes, the search engines would not have to seek permission to publish brief fragments but would have to pay “an equitable remuneration for the use”.
The government did not say how it would be determined which fragments must be paid for and how amounts would be calculated. This has been a matter of fierce debate elsewhere in Europe.
A spokeswoman for Google in Spain said the company could not comment because it had not yet seen the exact wording of the intellectual property reform bill.
The Association of Spanish Newspaper Editors, known by its Spanish-language acronym AEDE, applauded the proposal.
“We are very satisfied with the intellectual property law, which recognizes a long-standing demand from news editors,” said Irene Lanzaco, deputy director of the association.
Spanish media have been hit hard by a prolonged economic recession as advertising spending has plunged. Dozens of newspapers and other media have shut down and 9,500 journalists have been laid off in the last four years.
European countries have taken different approaches to the issue of news content on search engines.
A year ago Google agreed to pay 60 million euros into a special fund to help French media develop their presence on the Internet, but search engines will not pay publishers in France for displaying content.
Germany passed a new copyright law last March that allows media there to charge search engines for using their content, but the original bill was watered down and links and small excerpts of text were exempted.
Spain’s proposed reform on search engines and content is just one element in a major overhaul of intellectual property rules that the government has been working on since last year.
Internet piracy is widespread in Spain, which is considered to be one of Europe’s worst offenders for illegal downloading of music, films and games.
The draft bill approved by the cabinet on Friday envisages speedier processes to shut down piracy sites and establishes sanctions for sites that redirect users to illegal downloading sites, advertisers on piracy websites and companies that process payments to piracy sites.
Now shipping estimates for new orders stretched into April in several foreign markets, including China, France, Germany, Japan, and the U.K., as first reported by MacGeneration, which is based in France. Soon after, Apple’s U.S. and Canadian online stores followed suit, showing April as the estimated ship date.
Although the Mac Pro — a distinctive-looking black cylinder that’s 10 inches tall and about 7 inches in diameter — went on sale Dec. 19, it almost immediately slipped into back order. The February estimate was later pushed into March before today’s change to April.
The pricey computer starts at $2,999 for the low-end stock configuration and can be tricked out to a top price of $9,599.
At least one analyst predicted that the Mac Pro, while catering to the line’s traditional power users, creative professionals and engineers, would also become a status symbol of sorts for those with the wherewithal to buy one.
The shipping delays continue to hint at low production volumes at the new Apple factory in Austin, Texas, where the computer is assembled. Apple has touted the Mac Pro’s built-in-the-U.S.A. trait, including a rare tweet by CEO Tim Cook at the machine’s launch.
Shortages of the Mac Pro will not materially affect Apple’s bottom line, as the Mac division accounted for just 11% of the company’s revenue for the December quarter. The Mac Pro, while expensive, will make up only a fraction of the unit sales of the line overall, which last quarter reached 4.8 million, the majority of those notebooks from the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro families.
But the extended shortages mean that the revenue the Mac Pro produces is being pushed from the current quarter into the calendar’s second. They also are reminiscent of the fiasco Apple created in late 2012 and early 2013, when it announced a redesigned iMac without an inventory even as it pulled the older models from its stores.
The shortages also spurred profit takers to list their new Mac Pro systems on eBay at prices significantly higher than list.
Mac Pro prices on the auction and sales website today were as high as $6,250 for a configuration that Apple sells for $3,999, a 56% markup. Another of the several listings asked $4,499 for a system that runs $2,999 from Apple, a 50% profit for the seller.
EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding said that there need to be tougher penalties as part of plans to reform the data protection laws in Europe, otherwise firms will continue to ride roughshod over the laws as they exist. She noted that while both French and Spanish authorities have fined Google, the amounts represented too small a fraction of the company’s income to stop the US giant.
“People need to see that their rights are enforced in a meaningful way. If a company has broken the rules and failed to mend its ways, this should have serious consequences,” she said.
Under the new proposals, Google would have faced a far harsher penalty that would make it think twice before ignoring data protection laws. It would have faced a fine of €731 million ($1bn). A sum much harder to brush off. Reding added, though, that a stronger regime for data protection would not just be a fear tactic to scare businesses into shape, but it would also help provide them with a competitive edge over rivals.
“Our reform will thus not only open the market to companies, it will also help them to conquer this market by helping to build citizens’ confidence. And what is more, strong data protection rules will also give companies with serious privacy policies a competitive edge,” she said.
Data protection reforms within the EU have been debated for some time, but an agreement between nations has yet to be reached. The UK is concerned that overly proscriptive laws could damage the economy. Proposals were meant to be in place by 2015 but that date might slip back if member states cannot agree.
Last Friday, Fox-IT, a Delft, Netherlands-based computer security firm, wrote in a blog that attackers had inserted malicious ads served by ads.yahoo.com.
In a recently released statement, a Yahoo spokesman, said: “On Friday, January 3 on our European sites, we served some advertisements that did not meet our editorial guidelines, specifically they spread malware.” Yahoo said it promptly removed the bad ads, and that users of Mac computers and mobile devices were not affected.
Malware is software used to disrupt a computer’s operations, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems.
Fox-IT estimated that on Friday, the malware was being delivered to approximately 300,000 users per hour, leading to about 27,000 infections per hour. The countries with the most affected users were Romania, Britain, and France.
“It is unclear which specific group is behind this attack, but the attackers are clearly financially motivated and seem to offer services to other actors,” Fox-IT wrote in the January 3 blog post.
Google revoked the certificates for users of its Chrome browser last Saturday after a four-day investigation. Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera Software followed suit on Monday.
In a security advisory, Microsoft said it had released an update to most versions of Windows — including Windows Phone 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 — that revoked the pertinent certificates. Unlike other browser makers, Microsoft records trusted digital certificates in Windows, not in its Internet Explorer (IE) browser.
However, the third of Windows PC owners still running the 12-year-old Windows XP have been left out in the cold. “No update is available at this time for customers running Windows XP and Windows Server 2003,” Microsoft said in its advisory.
Google’s discovery also prompted Mozilla to annul the rogue certificates. The revocations will be included with Firefox 26, according to a blog post by Mozilla.
Opera Software blacklisted the certificates in older versions of its Opera browser. The Norwegian company’s newest, Opera 12, did not require an update because that version did not automatically trust ANSSI (Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information), the French Network and Information Security Agency whose intermediate CA issued the original unauthorized certificate.
According to ANSSI, the certificates were signed by DGTrésor, France’s Department of the Treasury. ANSSI described the gaffe as “human error … during a process aimed at strengthening the overall IT security of the French Ministry of Finance.”
According to Google and Mozilla, ANSSI found that a secondary certificate was installed on a network monitoring device, and able to sniff local traffic to and from third-party sites. Microsoft warned that, “An attacker could use these certificates to spoof content, perform phishing attacks, or perform man-in-the-middle attacks” against a large number of Google-owned domains, includinggoogle.com and youtube.com.
The browser makers’ fast response was in contrast to similar incidents in the past, when certificate invalidation took longer. An intermediate certificate issued by Turkish CA Turktrust in mid-2011 and installed on a firewall appliance in December 2012 was not revoked by Microsoft and others until early January 2013.
The C720P Touchscreen Chromebook has an 11.6-inch touchscreen, which displays images at a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The lightweight laptop offers roughly seven-and-a-half hours of battery life and runs on an Intel Celeron 2955U processor based on the Haswell microarchitecture.
Chromebooks are laptops for those who do most of their computing on the Web. Chrome OS is mostly adapted for keyboards, but the touchscreen could ease selection of options in menus and improve interaction in browsers and other applications.
A new wave of Chromebooks running the latest version of Chrome OS started shipping in October.
The laptop will be available in early December through Amazon.com, Best Buy and Acer’s online store. The laptop will be available in the U.S., Switzerland, Germany, U.K., France, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden and Finland.
Other Chromebooks include Acer Chromebook C720-2848, which has an Intel processor and is priced at $199.99, and Hewlett-Packard and Google’s Chromebook 11, which has an ARM processor and is priced at $279. HP’s Chromebook 14 has a 14-inch screen, an Intel processor and is priced at $299 in Office Depot.
The C720P weighs 1.35 kilograms and boots in seven seconds. Other features include 32GB of solid-state storage, 2GB of DDR3 memory, USB 3.0 ports, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and an HDMI slot. Users will get 100GB of free Google Drive storage for two years with the laptop.
China has held onto its lead in the twice-yearly ranking of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, with the Chinese National University of Defense Technology’s Tianhe-2 system bringing 33.86 petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second) to the contest, almost twice the calculations offered by the runner up, the Titan Cray system run by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Measured by the number of systems on the Top 500 list, the U.S. still leads the pack with 265 systems, up from 253 systems in the last ranking released in June. Tianhe-2 topped that list, with Titan following, and both had the same performance numbers as the new rankings released Monday.
Asia has 115 systems on the list, which is down from 118 in June, and Europe has 102 systems. China has 63 systems and Japan has 28 on the list. In Europe, the U.K. has 23 systems, France has 22 and Germany has 20.
The Top 500 list of supercomputers was started in June 1993 to compare the performance of the most powerful computers and show supercomputing growth. Participation is voluntary and requires entrants to run the Linpack benchmark, which measures how quickly a system can solve a dense series of linear equations.
Overall, the latest ranking, which is the 42nd, shows little change from June. There is only one new system in the top 10, the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre’s Piz Daint, a Cray XC30 system that clocked 6.27 Pflop/s on the Linpack benchmark.
Piz Daint also proved to be the most energy efficient machine on the list, a metric the Top 500 started charting. While Piz Daint consumes an average of 2.33 megawatts, it produces 2.7 gigaflops (or 2.7 billion floating-point operations per second) for each watt used.
Taken together, all 500 systems on the list would produce 250 Pflop/s, half of which was supplied by the top 17 entrants on the list. Over 31 systems were able to produce at least a petaflop/s.
Both of the top systems use coprocessors to speed calculations. Tianhe-2 uses Intel Xeon Phi processors and Titan uses Nvidia GPUs. Overall, 53 systems on the list use accelerator/coprocessor technologies.
The Top 500 list is compiled by supercomputing experts at the University of Mannheim, Germany; the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The security vendor said it counted more than 200,000 new infections from July through September, the highest number it has recorded in a three-month period in 11 years. Between April and June, Trend counted 146,000 infections.
The infections were less concentrated in Europe and the Americas and were more distributed throughout the globe, indicating that cybercriminals are diversifying the banking customers they target.
The most affected countries were the U.S., which made up 23 percent of the new infections, followed by Brazil at 16 percent and Japan at 12 percent.
Other top countries affected included India, Australia, France, Germany, Vietnam, Taiwan and Mexico, Trend Micro’s report said.
The malware found was usually ZeuS, also known as Zbot, which dates back to 2006.
Cybercriminals plant ZeuS on websites that will then attack visitors and install the malware if the computer has a software vulnerability. It can then steal online banking credentials and send the details to a remote server, among many other malicious functions.
Trend Micro noted that it also saw KINS, a malicious software program modeled after ZeuS, along with Citadel, a banking credential stealer widely seen in Japan and elsewhere.
The Lumia 1320 and Lumia 1520, revealed at the Nokia World event in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, both have 6-inch screens. The 1520 is the high-end model, with a full HD screen, LTE and a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor. The device has 32GB of storage, which can be expanded by another 64GB using a microSD card slot, something that has been missing from recent Nokia smartphones.
Nokia is leaning on its camera technology to differentiate its products from rivals. The Lumia 1520 has a 20-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization. Nokia has also developed a new app called Camera that lets users access settings more easily, the company said.
The Lumia 1520 will start shipping this quarter in Hong Kong, Singapore, the U.S., China, the U.K., France, Germany and Finland. The price will be $749 before taxes and subsidies.
The Lumia 1320 will be cheaper at $339 before taxes and subsidies, but only has a dual-core processor and 720p screen resolution. It also has a simpler 5-megapixel camera, but users can still access the Internet using LTE. Nokia expects to start shipping it in the first quarter of 2014 in China and Vietnam, followed by other Asian markets, India and Europe.
The lower price will make the smartphone a good fit for the Chinese market, according to Pete Cunningham, principal analyst at Canalys.
Both devices will run a new version of Windows Phone 8 called General Distribution Release 3, to which Nokia has added enhancements such as its Camera app. The software will also be offered to users of existing Lumia devices via an update called Black.
Instagram and Vine will soon be available on Lumia devices too, Nokia announced. App availability is still Windows Phone’s Achilles heel, but the availability of those two third-party apps is a step in the right direction.
Google Inc plans to roll out new product-endorsement ads incorporating photos, comments and names of its users, in a move to match the “social” ads pioneered by rival Facebook Inc that is raising some privacy concerns.
The changes, which Google announced in a revised terms of service policy on Friday, set the stage for Google to introduce “shared endorsements” ads on its sites as well as millions of other websites that are part of Google’s display advertising network.
The new types of ads would use personal information of the members of Google+, the social network launched by the company in 2011.
If a Google+ user has publicly endorsed a particular brand or product by clicking on the +1 button, that person’s image might appear in an ad. Reviews and ratings of restaurants or music that Google+ users share on other Google services, such as in the Google Play online store, would also become fair game for advertisers.
The ads are similar to the social ads on Facebook, the world’s No. 1 social network, which has 1.15 billion users.
Those ads are attractive to marketers, but they unfairly commercialize Internet users’ images, said Marc Rotenberg, the director of online privacy group EPIC.
“It’s a huge privacy problem,” said Rotenberg. He said the U.S. Federal Trade Commission should review the policy change to determine whether it violates a 2011 consent order Google entered into which prohibits the company from retroactively changing users’ privacy settings.
Users under 18 will be exempt from the ads and Google+ users will have the ability to opt out. But Rotenberg said users “shouldn’t have to go back and restore their privacy defaults every time Google makes a change.”
Information Google+ users have previously shared with a limited “circle” of friends will remain viewable only to that group, as will any shared endorsement ads that incorporate the information, Google said in a posting on its website explaining the new terms of service.
Google, which makes the vast majority of its revenue from advertising, operates the world’s most popular Web search engine as well as other online services such as maps, email and video website YouTube.
Google’s latest terms of service change will go live on November 11.
According to Reuters, Saudi regulators blocked the service because it was too difficult to monitor and because it sucked revenue from telecom outfits. The fact that Viber was created by an Israeli probably didn’t help much, either.
Earlier this year the Saudi Ministry of Interior complained that Islamist militants were taking advantage of social media to encourage unrest, but it did not recommend imposing stricter controls. In the end it might have a bit more to do with the three Saudi telecoms wanting to squash competition than militants or personal freedoms.
But it is a good example of how tech is bringing the world together – Islamist militants using an Israeli app to bring down the Wahabi House of Saud, what more could you ask for?
IBM’s CEO Virginia Rometty has taken to her web cam to blast her be-suited staff who are “too slow.” Rometty sent off a five-minute internal video message which was so grumpy they did her the favour of sending it to the Wall Street Journal. She moaned at the company’s sales staff for failing to get ink on the page for a number of potential deals.
“As the quarter ended, hundreds of millions of dollars of software and mainframe opportunities, they didn’t close and that was because we didn’t move fast enough,” she snarled.
Rometty said that in at least one case IBM was too slow to understand the value and then engage on the approval and the sign-off process and it didn’t get done. If a client were to have any requests or questions in the future, IBM had better have a response ready within a day.
“And if anything slows you down, call it out. Engage management, engage leadership and let’s deal with it,” she growled. She has already given her “under-performing” storage crew a dressing down and said she will be taking “substantial actions” to sort out that area of its business and Rometty has also switched the head of corporate strategy with the head of systems and technology in a bid to shake things up.
But on the plus side, she confessed that her strategy was “the right one” and “fundamentals are strong”. So in other words she is right and those lazy suits are wrong. Big Blue missed its first quarter targets after expected income from mainframe systems and related software deals, along with patent licences, had to be rolled over into the second quarter.