As the senior mobile marketing manager, the candidate will “lead marketing for Firefox on both Android and iOS,” the listing stated, adding that “a new Firefox for iOS application [will be] arriving soon.”
Mozilla, which had previously staunchly declined to create a version of its iconic browser for iOS, changed its tune last December, when a company manager said that the open-source developer would “get Firefox on iOS.”
Although Mozilla confirmed that it was working on Firefox for iOS, at the time it gave no hint of a timeline. “We are in the early stages of experimenting with something that allows iOS users to be able to choose a Firefox-like experience,” Mozilla said in a Dec. 2 blog.
Mozilla’s Github repository for iOS Firefox confirmed that.
The reasons for Mozilla’s renewed interest in iOS likely stemmed from Firefox’s decline in browser user share. Over the last 12 months, Firefox has shed 31% of its desktop user share by metrics vendors’ Net Applications count, and now has less than half the share of Google’s Chrome.
Mozilla has put its shoulder behind other mobile initiatives. But Firefox OS, an open-source mobile operating system based on the browser, has not yet gained significant traction and its Firefox browser for Android hasn’t moved the needle. According to Net Applications, Firefox’s usage share on mobile was just 0.7% last month, or about one sixty-sixth that of Safari.
Sony Corp on Monday announced a new high-end Xperia smartphone featuring an aluminium frame and a 5.2-inch screen, showing it is still in the phone race even as it scales down its struggling mobile operations.
The launch of the new flagship model comes amid a painful restructuring at the Japanese consumer electronics giant which has thrown the future of its smartphone division into doubt, with top executives saying an exit cannot be ruled out.
But as the company focuses on cutting costs rather than growing its mobile market, the division still needs investment in new products and marketing to maintain Sony’s brand and hold off a more rapid deterioration.
Sony said the Xperia Z4 would be available in Japan around the middle of the year, though it did not provide a launch date, details on carrier partners or price. The handset would be available in four colours and was slightly thinner than the previous Z3.
Hiroki Totoki, who was appointed last year to turn around the mobile unit, said Sony was targeting the upper end of the market where rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc dominate.
“There’s a broad variety in the prices of smartphones, from around $100 to $1,400 at the upper end,” he told a news conference. “We want to focus in the upper half of that.”
Sony’s mobile division has fallen far behind high-end rivals such as Samsung and Apple, while at the low end it is battling pricing pressure from Asian manufacturers such as China’s Xiaomi Inc.
The company whose Walkman and Trinitron TV once played a critical role in the global entertainment industry has struggled in recent years to come up with trend-setting gadgets.
Sony announced in February that it would scale down its weaker operations such as TVs and mobile phones to focus instead on more successful products such as video games and camera sensors.
Apple Inc is gearing up to launch its electronic payments service in Canada in November, the first international expansion of Apple Pay, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The iPhone maker is in talks with Canada’s six biggest banks, Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank , Bank of Nova Scotia, Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and National Bank of Canada, the people told the Journal.
The banks are open to an agreement, but are not happy with Apple’s fee proposals and are worried about security vulnerabilities like the ones that U.S. banks experienced, the Journal said, citing the people.
It was still unclear if all six Canadian banks would launch Apple Pay at the same time, the Journal said.
Apple launched the service, a mobile payment app that allows consumers to buy things by holding their iPhone6 and 6 Plus devices up to a reader, in the United States in October.
Microsoft Corp has finally rolled out a long-awaited suite of touch-friendly Office apps that allow Windows phone users to work on Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents on their phones with touch commands and to transfer them easily between devices.
Test versions of what Microsoft is calling its Office Universal apps are available to download immediately and full versions will be available by the end of the month, Microsoft said.
Many Office users have waited months for Microsoft to introduce the apps, which adapt their look and commands to the device being used, whether Windows Phone or tablet.
Microsoft, in a departure from tradition, has already released similar touch-friendly Office apps for Apple Inc’s iPad and iPhone, and for tablets running Google Inc’s Android.
The company’s reasoning was that those popular devices, which have dominated mobile computing, represented a bigger and more lucrative market for its Office products than its own Windows mobile devices.
Basic functions are free for everyone, but for advanced editing features, users must pay for a subscription to Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based version of Office.
Microsoft is set to release a new version of Office for desktop PCs, and a new version of Windows, later this year.
The P8, which runs Google’s Android operating system, has a 5.2 inch display screen — slightly larger than the Samsung Galaxy S6, unveiled last month, and the iPhone 6 — and an eight-core 64-bit processor.
Made from a single piece of metal, the phone is thinner than its rivals, with a width of 6.4 millimeters, Huawei said at a packed global launch event in London.
Like Apple, the Chinese company also launched a super-size version, the P8 Max, which comes with a 6.8 inch screen.
Huawei, a major player in the telecoms network equipment market, ranked fourth in global smartphone sales last year, shipping 68 million units, giving it a 5.5 percent share, according to research group Gartner.
The market is dominated by Samsung and Apple, which Gartner said had combined sales of nearly 500 million units.
Industry analyst Ben Wood said the P8 ticked all the boxes on design and performance, but it had a mountain to climb to position Huawei as a premium brand.
Seeking to differentiate itself from rivals, Huawei showed it could innovate, with features such as “knuckle sense”, which can differentiate between a knuckle and a finger to select and share content.
It also optimized the devices’ cameras to take “selfies”, including an ability to adjust skin tones, a move consumer device marketing president Shao Yang said would particularly increase its appeal to fashion-conscious young women.
“Huawei didn’t do very well in the past in the female market; this is the big potential market for the P-Series,” he said in an interview after the launch.
Huawei, and fellow Chinese companies Lenovo and Xiaomi, are leading the challenge to the two big players, particularly in their home market.
MediaTek is working on two new tablet SoCs and one of them is rumored to be a $5 design.
The MT8735 looks like a tablet version of Mediatek’s smartphone SoCs based on ARM’s Cortex-A53 core. The chip can also handle LTE (FDD and TDD), along with 3G and dual-band WiFi. This means it should end up in affordable data-enabled tablets. There’s no word on the clocks or GPU.
The MT8163 is supposed to be the company’s entry-level tablet part. Priced at around $5, the chip does not appear to feature a modem – it only has WiFi and Bluetooth on board. GPS is still there, but that’s about it.
Once again, details are sketchy so we don’t know much about performance. However, this is an entry-level part, so we don’t expect miracles. It will have to slug it out with Alwinner’s $5 tablet SoC, which was announced a couple of months ago
According to a slide published by Mobile Dad, the MT8753 will be available later this month, but we have no timeframe for the MT8163.
But there’s nothing to see here as far as Torvalds is concerned. It’s just another day in the office. And all this in “Back To The Future II” year, as well.
Meanwhile under the bonnet, the community are already slaving away on Linux 4.1 which is expected to be a far more extensive release, with 100 code changes already committed within hours of Torvalds announcement of 4.0.
But there is already some discord in the ranks, with concerns that some of the changes to 4.1 will be damaging to the x86 compatibility of the kernel. But let’s let them sort that out amongst themselves.
After all, an anti-troll dispute resolution code was recently added to the Linux kernel in an effort to stop some of the more outspoken trolling that takes place, not least from Torvalds himself, according to some members of the community.
Neither company would confirm the new product, said to be announced this week, according to the Wall Street Journal. The report said AmEx payments won’t be possible with the coming Jawbone UP3, but will appear on a future product.
Apple Watch, which last Friday went on pre-order, will also support NFC payments. Apple recently said it has more than 700,000 U.S. stores supporting its technology. In addition to American Express, Apple Watch supports MasterCard and Visa.
The use of NFC in wrist-wearable devices for use with in-store payments is expected to grow. In January, a Fitbit representative at the International CES trade show said the company plans to remain open to including mobile payment capabilities in its fitness bands.
However, adding NFC could drive up costs for wearable devices while creating a sense of application bloat. One smartwatch maker, Guess Watch, a subsidiary of Timex, has not included NFC in its Guess Connect smartwatch, which is coming in the fall for about $350. “We don’t think [payment capability] is what a fashion-focused consumer wants,” said Rob Pomponio, senior vice president for creative services at Guess Watches in an interview at CES in January.
What will matter to consumers about mobile payments on a smartwatch or fitness band will be whether the device can be widely used in stores. While Apple Watch can presumably work in payment terminals at 700,000 stores, that is just a fraction of the 12 million payment terminals in the U.S.
Samsung Electronics Co has put together a standalone team of about 200 employees to work exclusively on making screens for rival smartphone maker Apple Inc’s products, Bloomberg reported, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter.
The team at Samsung Display Co, which provides screens for iPads and MacBooks, helps develop products and is only allowed to share information about Apple’s business within the group, Bloomberg said.
The team, formed on April 1, also helps with sales and Apple is now the biggest external customer for Samsung components, Bloomberg said.
Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock and a Samsung Display spokesman declined to comment on the report.
Samsung and Apple last year agreed to drop all patent litigation outside the United States, scaling down a protracted legal battle between the smartphone rivals.
The legal battle between the smartphone rivals began in the United States in 2011 when Apple accused Samsung of copying its iPhone designs. Samsung countered that Apple was using pieces of its wireless-transmission technology without permission.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is predicting record shipments for its new Galaxy S6 smartphones and said it will face challenges to meet demand for the curved-edged version due to production constraints, adding to hopes for a turnaround in mobile sales.
The S6 models are widely expected to sell briskly following a string of positive reviews, boosting prospects for an earnings recovery in 2015. This week, the company estimated its January-March operating profit to be its highest in three quarters, which analysts said was partly because Samsung put its own chips in the new phones.
Samsung expects the flat screen S6 to sell more than the higher-margin S6 edge – priced about $120 more in South Korea – but mobile chief J.K. Shin said at a media event on Thursday the firm won’t be able to keep up with demand for the latter model in the near term because the curved screens are harder to manufacture.
“Some carriers are switching existing orders to get more of the S6 edge, and it looks like demand for the model will exceed supply throughout this year,” said HMC Investment analyst Greg Roh. “That means average selling price will fall at a slower rate, which will have a positive impact on Samsung overall.”
Samsung has not disclosed its shipment record for the handset. Analysts regard the Galaxy S3 as its best-selling model overall, though they estimate the Galaxy S4 to have done better in its initial year, when a model is most profitable.
Nomura estimated that Samsung sold 80 million S3s in three years from its 2012 launch, and 43 million S4s from the model’s April 2013 launch to the end of that year. Some analysts say Samsung could ship 50 million or more S6 phones this year.
Samsung’s Shin also said the South Korean electronics maker is preparing a variety of wearable devices, including a new version of its Gear smartwatch, but did not give specifics. Arch-rival Apple Inc is due to roll out its much-anticipated smartwatch on April 24.
Samsung is not happy with recenlty published stress test that showed the Galaxy Edge S6′s frame bending and screen cracking under applied pressure, saying a smartphone wouldn’t experience such force in normal use.
The Galaxy 6S Edge bent and its screen shattered after being exposed to 110 pounds of force, according to a test conducted by SquareTrade, which sells warranties for smartphones, tablets and other electronics. Even with a shattered screen, the phone still worked. SquareTrade posted a video of the test last Thursday.
SquareTrade also tested the iPhone 6 Plus and the HTC One M9. The iPhone bent under 110 pounds of force, but the screen remained intact. The HTC device bent and became inoperable after it suffered 120 pounds of force.
On Monday, Samsung issued a statement that listed the company’s problems with SquareTrade’s test.
Samsung claimed that smartphones are rarely exposed to that much force, and that 66 pounds is the “normal force” generated when a person sits. It maintains that the Galaxy S6 Edge won’t bend at even 79 pounds of force.
Samsung also said that because SquareTrade only tested the front of the phone, the test failed to show the strength of the phone’s back. It wants SquareTrade to conduct the test again, this time subjecting both the front and back of the phone to applied force.
“We are confident that all our smartphones are not bendable under daily usage,” said Samsung, which also included a video of its Galaxy S6 phones undergoing stress tests.
An upcoming MediaTek SoC has been spotted in GFXbench and this tablet-oriented chip has created a lot of speculation thanks to the choice of GPU.
The Cortex-A53 based MediaTek MT8163 was apparently tested on a dev board with 2GB of RAM and the benchmark failed to identify the GPU. GFXbench identified the GPU as a part coming from “MediaTek Inc. Sapphire-lit”.
Spinning up the rumour mill
This is where the speculation starts, as many punters associated the GPU with AMD, and the presence of the word “Sapphire” also prompted some to conclude that AMD’s leading GPU add-in-board partner had something to do with it.
The Sapphire word association doesn’t look like anything other than clutching at straws, because it’s highly unlikely that an AIB would have much to do with the process of licensing AMD IP for mobile graphics.
However, this does not necessarily mean that we are not looking at a GPU that doesn’t have anything to do with AMD. The fact that MediaTek’s name is on it is perhaps more important, because it suggests an in-house design. Whether or not the part is indeed an in-house design, and whether it features some AMD technology, is still up for debate.
Why would MediaTek need AMD to begin with?
MediaTek relies on ARM Mali GPUs, although it uses Imagination GPUs on some designs. So where does AMD fit into all this?
As we reported last month, the companies have been cooperating on the SoC graphics front for a while, but they are tight lipped about the scope of their cooperation.
MediaTek is a supporter of HSA and a founding member of the HSA Foundation, but this doesn’t prove much, either, since the list of founding members includes ARM, Imagination, Texas Instruments, Samsung and Qualcomm.
Using AMD technology on SoCs would have to be a long-term strategy, built around the concept of using AMD IP to boost overall SoC performance rather than just GPU performance. This is why we do not expect to see the fruits of their cooperation in commercial products anytime soon.
Improved compute performance is one of the reasons MediaTek may be inclined to use AMD technology, but another angle is that “Graphics by AMD” or “Radeon Graphics” would sound good from a marketing perspective and allow MediaTek to differentiate its products in a saturated market.
While most stars have winds that pile the gas around them into columns streaming from their poles, some stars expel spherical winds of expanding material. A real-time study over almost two decades reveals for the first time a star in the process of changing from spherical winds of charged particles to streaming columns of them, linking the two structures together.
Describing how scientists understood stars with spherical expanding winds, Carlos Carrasco-González, of the Centre of Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics in Mexico, said, “We were speculating that these stars were in a younger stage, and that they would develop collimated winds in the future. But this has been proposed by theoretical works, and we had not actually obtained proof of this.” Carrasco-González served as lead author on a study that examined the massive young star W75N(B)-VLA2 over 18 years, and a second study that examined the star in 2014.
“With this work, we have obtained a link between the two stages, the spherical and the collimated one,” Carrasco-González said.
Sunlike stars are abundant and easily observable in the galaxy, so formation theories about them are fairly well established. But massive young stars remain more challenging. Because they are rare, these stars tend to lie farther from the sun, making them harder to observe in great detail. Furthermore, they are often embedded in the dusty clouds where they form, making them difficult to observe in the optical wavelengths for telescopes like NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
As a result, a number of theoretical problems plague scientists’ understanding of how these stars form.
“The main problem is that the strong light that arises from these massive protostars can push out the material which is falling onto it, and at some point the star stops growing,” Carrasco-González said.
According to theory, this growth ends before the star becomes the kind of behemoth that scientists observe. Yet scientists are observing these stars, so some physical mechanism must allow the objects to continue to gather material before pushing it all away.
In 1996, Carrasco-González and his team used the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (JVLA) to observe a massive young star located 4,200 light-years from Earth. At the time, the star had a circular ring of material around it stretching 185 astronomical units in diameter. (An astronomical unit is the distance from the Earth to the sun — 93 million miles or 150 million kilometers). Scientists interpreted the disk as material heated up by the circular winds flowing evenly from the star.
While the scientists continued to study other characteristics of the star with different instruments, it wasn’t until 2014 that the team used the JVLA again, and realized the star had changed significantly. The new image revealed that the material no longer encircled the star; instead, an elongated jet of material stretched outward. The estimated age for the expanding shell is about 25 years.
For a star, with a lifetime of tens of billions of years, a quarter of a century is barely the blink of an eye. So, these observations allowed astronomers the rare opportunity to study star evolution in real time.
“If the changes are due to either the turn-on of a new jet or a blob of gas being ejected in the jet, then these would be very rare events,” Melvin Hoare, of the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, told Space.com by email. Hoare, who was not part of the research, wrote the Perspectives article that accompanied Carrasco-González’s research.
“The likelihood of catching one is rare,” Hoare wrote.
The research and the Perspectives article were both published online today (Thursday, April 2) in the journal Science.
Most stars tend to emit strong winds, though these winds may originate from a variety of processes. The magnetic field may play a role in extracting material from the stellar atmosphere, as is the case of the sun, or in gathering material from the surrounding disk of material.
Massive young stars are hot and bright; W75N(B)-VLA2 shines about 300 times as brightly as the sun. Because it is a form of energy, the starlight pushes against the cold molecular cloud of material that surrounds it, heating and exciting it to create the signatures Carrasco-González and his team observed over time.
When the jet of wind hits the cold material, it forms a bow shock as it slows down, like a wave breaking off the front of a boat. Slowly, it pushes the material away. Eventually, the cloud of material stretches from its circular physique to create an outflow along its rotation axis, the axis around which the star spins.
The winds themselves may be sporadic, occurring at random times, or they may occur periodically, repeating on a regular schedule. Because VLA2 is part of a three-star system, Carrasco-González suggests that the occurrence is periodic, taking place as the stars draw closer together, allowing the winds to become stronger.
“We think that the behavior observed in this star should also be periodic because, if not, we would be very lucky to catch this moment,” he said.
In other words, because the process lasts for less than two decades, it is very unlikely to be observed if it is a random event. On the other hand, if the episodes are periodic, behaving in the same way at different points in time, “it is more likely to be observed,” Carrasco-González said.
The team cautions that the change may not be as radical as it appears when studying the images. After the hot, young star was observed in 1996, the JVLA underwent an upgrade that allows it to take a more in-depth view of the signature of the ionized winds. Therefore, it is possible that the wind was blowing a column that the instruments simply couldn’t measure 18 years ago. However, if the star had already begun to form a column along its axis, that column would have been weak, the team said in its research.
If the hot, young star is truly evolving, then it has a good chance of helping scientists improve their understanding of how the winds evolve.
“The next step should be to study the behavior of the magnetic field in this star,” Carrasco-González said.
“We know from theoretical models and some observational studies that magnetic fields should play an important role in the formation and collimation of outflows,” he said. “But we still do not have good observational information on how magnetic fields work in these winds.”
While the number of mobile patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) jumped by 17 percent between 2013 and 2014, the total fell by 4 percent at the European Patent Office (EPO), according to the report from Chetan Sharma Consulting release last week. The U.S. continued to gain on Europe as the place where mobile inventions are devised, a trend driven by software development in Silicon Valley and Americans’ heavy use of mobile data, the report said.
The mobile boom is a big part of U.S. innovation right now. Fully 26 percent of all patents issued by the USPTO last year were for mobile technologies, while only about one in 10 patents issued in Europe fell into that category, the report said.
The growing U.S. lead in mobile innovation comes as the cellular industry starts to define its next major set of standards, called 5G. The earlier 2G, 3G and 4G standards took shape when Europe played a stronger role in mobile, but the U.S. started to come into its own in the middle of the last decade, according to Sharma. Now European industry and government are trying to work together to make sure they aren’t left behind in 5G development.
While South Korea’s Samsung has the world’s biggest mobile patent portfolio, IBM is getting more patents granted now: It surpassed Samsung to take the top spot for 2014. Qualcomm came in third place, followed by Microsoft and Google. About half of the top 50 companies winning mobile patents over the past few years are based in the U.S., the report said.
A survey from research firm Phoenix Marketing International found that 68 percent of respondents who have used Apple Pay had encountered an issue when making an in-store purchase.
The leading compliant made by nearly half of respondents was that retailers’ sales terminals took too long to record a transaction. Other problems: employees who didn’t know how to process sales with the mobile wallet (42 percent); errors in how the sale posted (36 percent), like a transaction appearing twice; and out of service Apple Pay terminals (27 percent). Almost half of the Apple Pay users surveyed (47 percent) found that the particular store they visited didn’t accept Apple Pay although the retailer was supposed to support the service.
Apple Pay launched in October and is accepted at 700,000 locations and supported by 2,500 banks in the U.S., CEO Tim Cook said at an event earlier this month. Retailers that accept Apple Pay include Macy’s, Subway, Nike, Whole Foods and McDonald’s. Apple hasn’t shared details on when the service will be expanded internationally.
People appear eager to use Apple Pay, with 59 percent answering that they have asked store employees if the merchant accepts payments with the service. Using Apple Pay requires linking a credit or debit card to the service.
A majority of respondents used the mobile payment system in Apple stores (46 percent), followed by McDonald’s (36 percent) and Macy’s (30 percent). Apple Pay was also popular at Nike stores, Whole Foods and Walgreens.
Smartwatch shipments will swell by an impressive 500% this year, fueled by the interest in the coming Apple Watch and its impact on other smartwatches already in the market, according to market research firm IDC.
IDC also lowered its Apple Watch forecast to 15.9 million shipments in 2015, down from 22 million, a 28% reduction. That’s partly because more details have surfaced and the sales date of April 24 was later than IDC had previously expected, according to IDC analyst Ryan Reith in an email.
Even with that reduction, the Apple Watch will account for 62% of the smartwatch market in 2015, Reith said. IDC had expected the 22 million in Apple Watch shipments for this year in a forecast conducted last August, well before the shipment date and other details were announced at Apple’s Spring Forward event on March 9, Reith said.
A February forecast by CCS Insight put potential Apple Watch sales at 20 million in 2015. Apple Watch goes on sale April 24, starting at $349, but some gold-encased models will start at $10,000. Apple will begin taking pre-orders April 10.
IDC grouped the Apple Watch with Motorola’s Moto 360, several Samsung Gear watches and others under a category it calls smart wearables, or devices capable of running third-party apps. For all of 2015, IDC said 25.7 million smart wearables will ship, up 511% from the 4.2 million shipped in 2014.
The IDC smartwatch forecast is much lower than a recent prediction by Gartner, which says 40 million smartwatches will ship in 2015, up from about 5 million in 2014.