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Is Samsungs Galaxy S7 Active Really Waterproof?

July 13, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

If you look at adverts for Samsung’s new Galaxy you would be forgiven for thinking that the smartphone is waterproof. Unfortunately according to US consumer reports, it isn’t.

The Samsung advert shown in Italy ends with the dramatic placing of a Galaxy into a glass of water. Which looks impressive.

Consumer Reports performs an immersion test when a manufacturer claims that its product is water-resistant and the Galaxy S7 Active failed.

While the phone performed extremely well in other tests. Consumer Reports is refusing to recommend it because the water resistant claim is incorrect.

Samsung says its phone follows an engineering standard called IP68 that covers both dust- and water-resistance, and that the phone is designed to survive immersion in five feet of water for 30 minutes.

Consumer Reports placed a Galaxy S7 Active in a water tank pressurised to 2.12 pounds-per-square-inch, the equivalent of just under five feet of water, and set a timer for 30 minutes. When it removed the phone, the screen was obscured by green lines, and tiny bubbles were visible in the lenses of the front- and rear-facing cameras. The touchscreen was borked.

A second Galaxy S7 Active also failed the same test and neither phone worked properly again.

Samsung says it has received “very few complaints” about this problem, and that in all cases, the phones were covered under warranty. A spokes Samsung sang:

“The Samsung Galaxy S7 active device is one of the most rugged phones to date and is highly resistant to scratches and IP68 certified. There may be an off-chance that a defective device is not as watertight as it should be.”

The company says it is investigating the matter.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Can Licensing Save Blackberry?

June 29, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

Blackberry is hoping to pull its nadgers out of the fire by licencing its mobile software to other outfits.

However BlackBerry CEO John Chen had to admit that there has been zero revenue from the endeavour, which he started off last month.

Chen said he’s been in discussions with some phone manufacturers and set-top box operators who have expressed interest and “anything was possible.”

He added he’s not opposed to licensing BlackBerry’s security software either if the right deal comes along. He expects BlackBerry to break even or record a slight profit in its new mobility solutions segment, which includes device and software licensing sales, during the third quarter that in November.

Making the segment profitable this fiscal year is one of the company’s top goals, Chen said.

It’s too soon to project how much revenue the software-licensing venture can garner, Chen said, so to achieve the goal by the end of November, BlackBerry will have to ensure its devices are on track for profitability as well.

The company’s newest phone, the Android-powered Priv, has moved slower than hoped. In fact it moved slower than a student who had been up all night playing counterstrike.

During BlackBerry’s first quarter — the second full quarter to include Priv sales — the smartphone segment generated US$152 million of revenue and had a US$21-million operating loss. Chen promised that loss would be significantly smaller in the next quarter.

The company sold roughly 500,000 devices at an average price of $290 each, he said, which is about 100,000 smartphones fewer than the previous quarter and about 200,000 fewer than two quarters earlier. BlackBerry previously said the company needs to sell about three million phones at an average of $300 each to break even, though Chen indicated that may change as the software licensing business starts to contribute to revenue.

Chen said the Priv has proved unaffordable to most people, except for top-level executives.

The company plans to release two mid-range, Android-powered phones before its current fiscal year ends Feb. 28, 2017, he said. More information on the devices is expected next month, but Chen said one will only have a touch screen rather than BlackBerry’s traditional keyboard.

The company is trying to reach the market in more innovative ways. It’s currently hosting a pop-up shop in New York City, and Chen said he’d consider more of them around the world if the trial is successful.

“I really, really believe that we could make money … out of our device business,” he said during a conference call with analysts Thursday morning.

Chen previously indicated the company will stop making smartphones if the device business remains unprofitable. While he said he doesn’t believe that will be necessary, the software licensing plan could help make the transition smoother if the time comes.

BlackBerry  reported a $670 million net loss in the first quarter of its 2017 financial year, but said its recovery plan for the year remains on track.

Revenue was below analyst estimates at $400 million under generally accepted accounting principles, or US$424 million with certain adjustments.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Google Fiber Acquires Webpass, Increases Urban Coverage

June 24, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Google Fiber has agreed to purchase Internet service provider Webpass to quickly increase its urban coverage and offer customers a combination of fiber and wireless delivery of high-speed Internet.

For Google Fiber, which has typically worked with cities in planning and building a fiber network from scratch, the acquisition will give the Alphabet business a headstart in many markets, particularly in dense urban areas.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Google did not immediately comment on the acquisition.

Webpass in San Francisco owns and operates its Ethernet network, thus removing its dependence on phone and cable companies. It has operations in San Francisco, Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley, San Diego, Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Chicago and Boston. The company offers business connections from 10 to 1,000 Mbps and to residential customers service from 100 Mbps to 1Gbps.

Google is already working in San Francisco, where Webpass also operates, and is negotiating with property owners and managers in buildings near existing fiber infrastructure to explore connecting their residents to gigabit Internet.

Webpass will help to further expand that coverage as it will remain focused on the rapid deployment of high-speed Internet connections for residential and commercial buildings, mainly using point-to-point wireless, Webpass President Charles Barr said in a blog post Wednesday that announced the proposed acquisition.

“Google Fiber’s resources will enable Webpass to grow faster and reach many more customers than we could as a standalone company,” Barr wrote.

 

 

 

BlackBerry Says Device Business Is Top Priority

June 24, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

BlackBerry Ltd’s top priority this year is to make its devices business turn a profit, its chief executive said, even as it weighs the future of its hardware operation.

“The device business must be profitable, because we don’t want to run a business that drags onto the bottom line,” Chief Executive John Chen told investors at the company’s annual meeting. “We’ve got to get there this year.”

Chen has previously said a decision would be made by September on the future of the unit, which has suffered a sustained drop in sales in recent quarters.

But at the meeting, attended by around 100 people, he said he sees better opportunity in providing services that enable increasingly commoditized hardware to do more.

“I don’t personally believe handsets will be the future of any company,” he said.

BlackBerry, once the smartphone market leader before being displaced by Apple Inc and competitors run on Alphabet Inc’s Android platform, has worked to reposition itself as a software and service provider focused on device management for large organizations.

In its presentation to investors, the company said it expects the broader market for types of software it is producing to expand to $17.6 billion by 2019, from $525 million in 2012 and below $4 billion in 2015, powered by growth in medical, legal, financial and automotive industries.

But some of those in attendance were skeptical about BlackBerry’s ability to deliver on its strategic pivot.

“The first word that comes to mind is lackluster,” said one shareholder at the meeting who declined to give his name. “Time is running out.”

Chen reiterated that BlackBerry wants to grow its software revenue by 30 percent in this fiscal year, which he estimated would be double overall market growth, and to notch positive free cash flow.

BlackBerry is due to report first quarter results on Thursday.

Chen took up the CEO role in 2013 with a reputation as a turnaround artist. But the company’s stock has only risen modestly since then, with many investors waiting for signs the now-smaller company will be able to carve out new opportunities.

“I appreciate the strategy,” said Ken Tota, an investor in BlackBerry’s biggest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. He said he was optimistic a renewed focus on security could help reinvigorate BlackBerry over the next five years.

“It’s a niche, but it’s a worldwide niche,” he said.

 

 

Spotify Says ‘No’ To Sales Rumor

June 10, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Daniel Ek, co-founder of Swedish music streaming service Spotify which boasts the largest paid subscriber base in the world, said on Thursday he had no intention of selling the company.

While investors believe privately owned Spotify is probably heading for a public listing, some industry analysts see the loss-making company as a takeover target for a larger tech giant with deeper pockets.

“My selfish ambition with Spotify is just trying to show … that we can create one of those super companies here in Europe,” he told journalists at the symposium Brilliant Minds, which aims to bring artists and musicians together with the tech community.

Asked if that meant he was not up for selling the firm, Ek said: “I’m not going to sell, no.”

Spotify, founded in 2006, pays more than 80 percent of its revenue to record labels and artists and has not yet shown a profit as it spends to grow internationally. It competes in a business crowded with formidable rivals such as Apple Music, Google Music and YouTube.

Many other European tech start-ups have been swallowed up by bigger Silicon Valley competitors.

Ek said Silicon Valley got an earlier start in building up its tech giants but that Europe finally has the right conditions to support its own entrepreneurs.

“For the first time now there’s an ecosystem around it with capital and experience that can actually help guide entrepreneurs,” he said.

“The number one advice I tell everyone is ‘don’t sell’, because that’s the biggest problem we have. All these things could grow gigantic if you just kept the course and kept doing what you’re doing,” he added.

Last year Spotify made an operating loss of 184.5 million euros ($205 million), widening from 165.1 million in 2014.

Spotify, whose investors include Northzone, DST Global and Accel, does not disclose details about its ownership but the co-founders no longer own a majority, having sold off stakes.

 

Yahoo Hires Advisors To Help Sale Trove Of Patents

June 9, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Yahoo Inc  has hired boutique investment bank Black Stone IP LLC to aid in the selling of nearly 3,000 of the internet company’s patents, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The company has sent letters to a number of potential buyers for the patents, which date back to when the company was founded in 1996 and also include its original search technology, the report said.

The deadline for bids for the patents has been set for mid-June by Yahoo, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In March, Yahoo said it would explore the sale of $1 billion to $3 billion of patents, property and “non-core assets”.

Yahoo and Black Stone IP were not immediately available for comment.

 

Verizon Reportedly To Submit $3B Bid For Yahoo

June 8, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Verizon Communications Inc is gearing up to submit a second-round bid of around $3 billion for Yahoo Inc’s core internet business, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Private-equity firm TPG was also expected to submit a second round bid for the assets, the newspaper reported.

Reuters reported last month that Verizon had added Bank of America to its roster of investment banks, as it looked to gain an edge over other bidders for Yahoo’s core assets.

Yahoo is expected to hold at least one more round of bidding, and the offers could change by the final round, the paper reported.

Yahoo did not comment on the report, while Verizon declined to comment.

 

In-Home Tech Support Companies HelloTech, Geekatoo Merging

May 24, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Los Angeles-based startup HelloTech and rival in-home tech support company Geekatoo announced that they have merged, in a sign of consolidation in the hotly competitive on-demand sector.

HelloTech will combine its network of about 150 college students who provide on-demand tech repair to Southern California consumers with Geekatoo’s U.S. network of about 5,000 technicians, the companies said in a joint statement.

The merger connects HelloTech with Geekatoo’s national market and provides Geekatoo with more access to venture capital funding, HelloTech co-founder Richard Wolpert said in an interview.

HelloTech, which launched about a year ago, has raised $17 million from investors, while 5-year-old Geekatoo has raised close to $3 million.

“You could either use capital to expand really quickly or you could merge with a company like Geekatoo that had already spent money doing this,” said Mark Suster, managing partner at Upfront Ventures, which backed HelloTech.

The new company keeps the HelloTech name and will be led by Wolpert. He said the deal was a stock transaction, rather than a cash payment, but declined to provide further details.

Both companies dispatch in-home tech support within hours of a request to fix a wonky printer, install a new TV or troubleshoot WiFi problems, among other services.

HelloTech hit a few bumps last year after launching, with some negative customer feedback that its workforce of predominantly college students was unprofessional.

Wolpert said the company has worked out the glitches. HelloTech has a five-star rating on customer review site Yelp.

Geekatoo Executive Chairman Christian Shelton saw demand for tech services rising as more people add internet-connected devices – such as the smart thermostat Nest or WiFi camera Dropcam – to their homes.

The U.S. tech support industry makes about $30 billion in annual revenue, according to research by Parks Associates, a consulting firm.

“The opportunity is massive,” Wolpert said.

The company’s main competition is Geek Squad, a tech support service founded in 1994 and owned by big-box retailer Best Buy.

HelloTech targets baby boomers with disposable income to spend on new gadgets and someone to help get them up and running.

“There is enormous wealth in the baby boomer generation,” Suster said, and their “digital lives are becoming increasingly complicated.”

 

 

Apple Goes Further With Intel

May 20, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

Intel has scored a more significant chunk of the upcoming iPhone 7 which is due to be released this year.

Digitimes deep throats claim that Intel will  supply half the modem chips for use in the new iPhones slated for launch in September 2016.

Intel will itself package the modem chips for the upcoming new iPhones, but have contracted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and tester King Yuan Electronics (KYEC) to manufacture the chips, the sources said.

Qualcomm is currently the supplier of LTE modem chips for the iPhone, but Apple has been keep to avoid focusing on one supplier. Still, the figure of half the iPhone 7′s is much more than many expected. It is a pity for Intel that the iPhone 7 is not expected to be a big seller – mostly because there is little new under the bonnet and it looks the same as the iPhone 6S.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is There A ‘For Sale’ Sign In Pandora Music’s Future?

May 18, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Corvex Management LP disclosed that it owns 9.9 percent of Pandora Media Inc and urged the internet music streaming company to consider being sold instead of pursuing a “costly and uncertain business plan.”

Corvex, a hedge fund run by Keith Meister, a protégé of billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, said it had met with the company’s management and had withdrawn a plan to replace some of its board members. However, it now believes Pandora should hire an investment bank to help the company explore its strategic options including a sale.

“We believe there is likely to be significant strategic interest in the company at a substantial premium to the company’s recent stock price,” Corvex said, adding that large internet companies, handset makers and media companies could be potential buyers.

Pandora’s shares are down more than 25 percent in 2016 and more than 45 percent year-over-year. Corvex owns about 22.7 million shares in the company, making the hedge fund Pandora’s largest shareholder.

Pandora said in response that it is in constant dialogue with shareholders and committed to achieving long-term value for them.

“Pandora has a profitable core business, combined with a strong balance sheet. We are confidently investing to fully capture the massive opportunity ahead of us,” the company said in a statement.

Oakland, California-based Pandora has faced tough competition from music-streaming rivals such as Spotify, Apple Inc , Alphabet Inc’s Google and Amazon.com and has failed to turn an annual profit as a public company.

Analysts have said Pandora, which had a market capitalization of $2.29 billion on Monday, could be an acquisition target for larger media or internet companies looking to beef up their online music offerings.

Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren, a former musician who spearheaded Pandora’s music algorithm technology, returned to the company March 28 to become CEO, squashing some investors’ hopes the company could be sold.

Westergren told Reuters on April 15, “If you want to sell a company, you don’t do that by spending half a billion on acquisitions and hiring a new CEO.”

 

 

Is Apple In A Free Fall?

May 16, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple shares are continuing to fall as more investors realise that the share price is not going to go up any more.

For a while now people have been buying Apple shares with the expectation that they will always go up. This always was largely based on a fantasy created by the Tame Apple Press that assumed the company would keep coming up with new technology ideas which would always be successful.

However lately Apple has not come up with any new ideas and has taken to re-issuing its old phone designs. It has also been floundering in its key Chinese market. The company’s only new idea has been for content creation through its Apple Music streaming brand. The only problem with that is that the software has been killing off user’s iTune libraries.  It has also been banned in China which means that hopes that Apple would make money there are still thwarted.

Shares of Apple dropped below $90 on Thursday for the first time since 2014 as Wall Street worried about slow demand ahead of the anticipated launch of a new iPhone later this year. Some more reasonable analysts even think that the iPhone 7 is going to be a disaster because it lacks any new tech and has the same design as the poor performing iPhone 6S

Component suppliers in Taiwan have confirmed that they have received fewer orders from Apple in the second half of 2016 than in the same period last year.

Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang saidt that investors were getting negative data points about component orders and production forecasts, and the features on the new iPhone do not seem to be a big change from the 6S.

Apple briefly relinquished its position as the world’s largest company by market capitalisation to Alphabet – oh the horror.

At the close, Apple and Google each had market values of about $495 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data. In the past year, Apple’s market capitalization has fallen by more than $200 billion. Which just goes to show this whole value thing was an illusion.

Suppliers of iPhone components also fell, with Skyworks Solutions off 4.54 percent, Broadcom down 1.95 percent and Qorvo declining 1.76 percent.

Revenue from China slumped 26 percent during the March quarter. Apple faces increasing competition from Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi and Huawei selling phones priced below $200, Rosenblatt’s Zhang said.

Last week, Dialog Semiconductor, which sells chips used in iPhones and other smartphones, cut its revenue outlook due to ongoing softness in the smartphone market.

The Tame Apple press is trying to do its best to find analysts who recommend buying the stock claiming it is too cheap.However how much should you pay for an outfit which has milked its cash cow and has nothing new on the horizon.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Do Smartphones Cause Cancer?

May 11, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

It is looking incredibly unlikely that mobile phone use is giving anyone cancer.  A long term study into the incidence of brain cancer in the Australian population between 1982 to 2013 shows no marked increase.

The study, summarized on the Conversation site looked at the prevalence of mobile phones among the population against brain cancer rates, using data from national cancer registration.

The results showed a very slight increase in brain cancer rates among males, but a stable level among females. There were significant increases in over-70s, but this problem started before 1982.

The figures should have even been higher as Computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and related techniques, introduced in Australia in the late 1970s can spot brain tumors which could have otherwise remained undiagnosed.

The data matches up with other studies conducted in other countries, but in Australia all diagnosed cases of cancer have to be legally registered and this creates consistent data.

The argument that mobile phones cause cancer has been running ever since the phones first arrived. In fact the radiation levels on phones has dropped significantly over the years, just to be safe rather than sorry. However it looks like phones have had little impact on cancer statistics – at least in Australia.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Will Samsung Truly Support OLED TVs Next Year?

May 6, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Samsung has rejected a claim from the OLED Association predicting that it would reintroduce an OLED TV lineup in 2017.

President and TV Chief of Samsung Electronics, Kim Hyun-Seok, has reaffirmed that the company has no intentions to manufacture OLED TVs. But it would appear that the rumour will not die that easily.

The Korea Herald said Kim’s “tone and manner was stronger than ever,” which indicates that Samsung might have something else planned for the upcoming lineup of televisions it’s expected to showcase at CES 2017.

Samsung had been investing in OLED research, and so far has been skeptical about adopting it. It has said that the market is not ready for the emerging technology because it costs too much to make and the production process is tricky. Instead Samsung is pushing its newly-developed cadmium-free 10-bit Quantum Dot technology. It already has the manufacturing facilities in place to produce them on a larger scale. It claims that Quantum Dot outpaces current OLED TVs in terms of clarity and brightness.

What cunning plan Samsung has for next year will probably be centred around quantum dot and making sure that it comes out at a cheaper price than what it is on the market now.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Dell Technologies To Become New Name Of Combined Dell, EMC

May 4, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Dell’s planned $67 billion purchase of EMC will create a broad collection of businesses called Dell Technologies.

Under that banner, the pure Dell name will live on in the company’s client business, including its PCs, while its enterprise infrastructure division will be called Dell EMC, chairman and CEO Michael Dell announced on Monday at EMC World in Las Vegas.

Dell Technologies will be the only company selling everything from edge devices to core data centers and cloud infrastructure, a mission that rival HP backed away from when it split into Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc., Dell said.

He pitched the end-to-end strategy as a boon to customers who want a single partner that can do everything, letting them focus on business growth.

“You want technology made easier,” Dell said.

Dell Technologies will include all of what’s called Dell today, plus EMC’s core Information Infrastructure storage division, Pivotal, Virtustream, the partly public VMware and two security businesses: Dell’s SecureWorks and EMC’s RSA unit.

For EMC, owning a collection of semi-autonomous businesses and making them add up to something more is called federation, and it has come under attack from some investors and skeptics. On Monday, Dell called it a family and said Dell Technologies will be able to align its businesses and invest in new technologies at its own pace as a privately held company.

The acquisition is on track under its original terms and timeline, Michael Dell said. The deal still needs regulatory and shareholder approvals.

 

 

Amazon To Beef Up Alexa With Investment In TrackR

May 4, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Amazon.com Inc is investing between $250,000 and $500,000 in Bluetooth technology firm TrackR to expand the reach of its Alexa virtual assistant, according to a source familiar with the matter

Alexa is the cloud-based system that controls the Amazon Echo, a speaker system launched by Amazon in 2014 that has emerged as a surprise hit. “Alexa” is the name the device responds to when users make requests, such as “turn on radio.”

Amazon and TrackR declined to comment on the size of the investment.

Like Apple Inc’s  Siri and Google’s Google Now, Alexa is designed to answer questions or take other actions in response to simple voice queries.

Unlike its rivals, Amazon allows non-Amazon devices to integrate Alexa technology. The investment in TrackR came through Amazon’s $100 million “Alexa Fund,” which invests in and supports technologies that broaden Alexa’s abilities.

Santa Barbara, California-based TrackR uses Bluetooth technology to help track lost items. Users put a small chip on an item, such as a wallet or TV remote, and can order those products to make a sound through their phone so that they can be found.

If a TrackR customer loses an item out of Bluetooth reach, any TrackR user can connect to the device using the company’s network to alert the owner of the lost item.

The Alexa partnership will give the TrackR service a voice response capability and will also integrate in the other direction and enable people to find their lost items via the Echo.

“The ability to bring on more partners and realize that you are building an entire ecosystem – I think that is what was really important for us,” said Chris Herbert, who co-founded TrackR with friend Christian Smith in 2009.

TrackR raised $8.7 million last year in a Series A round led by Foundry Group.

Amazon has made roughly 15 investments so far through the Alexa Fund, including The Orange Chef, which helps connect kitchen prep devices, and Garageio, which makes a connected garage door opener.