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The Pirate Bay Goes To Smartphones?

July 30, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

The Pirate Bay, the self-styled “world’s most resilient torrent site”, has released a mobile version of its website for the first time.

The Mobile Bay taps into the increasing storage capacity of mobile devices and the growing number of uncapped 4G data plans.

Offering millions of uploaded torrents from blockbuster movies and TV shows, cracked software packages and pornography, the vast majority of its content is considered illegal in almost every country of the world, leading to a global game of cat and mouse as the outfit adapts to stay online.

Up to now, the only version of the website has been the desktop version which simply resizes, however a spokesperson for The Pirate Bay admitted to Torrentfreak that “the normal version of the site renders like crap on a mobile device”.

The mobile website appears not to have been blocked by UK ISPs as yet, as we were able to access it this afternoon. It has all the functionality of the regular website but with a mobile friendly page format.

Unfortunately, that includes the many adverts for casinos, clandestine video websites and other nasties that manifest as pop-unders on the desktop version.

The Pirate Bay already has its own web browser for the desktop, an adapted version of Firefox that uses privacy tool Tor, and a number of unofficial web browsing apps exist for The Pirate Bay in mobile app stores.

Peter Sunde, a co-founder of the Swedish torrent tracker was recently arrested after being on the run for eight years, having been convicted of aiding copyright infringement in 2009.

Courtesy-TheInq

Bose Sues Beats Over Patent Infringement

July 29, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Headphone maker Bose has filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against rival Beats Electronics, which Apple recently agreed to purchase in a US$3 billion deal.

In its complaint, Bose alleges that the “active noise cancellation” system in Beats Studio and Studio Wireless headphones infringes on five of its patents that relate to digital audio processing, compression and noise cancellation technology.

They are U.S. patents 6,717,537; 8,073,150; 8,073,151; 8,054,992; and 8,345,888.

In addition to the suit, which was filed in Delaware, the company also lodged a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission asking the trade court to ban Beats from importing the headphones into the U.S.

Companies are increasingly filing lawsuits with the ITC in addition to the domestic court system in the hopes an import injunction will provide extra leverage when it comes to negotiations over alleged infringement.

The lawsuit comes just under two months after the Apple deal was announced. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of September, and it’s unknown if the lawsuit could change that schedule or the acquisition price.

Apple and Beats did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

 

 

Is The Demand For DRAM Slowing?

July 29, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Hynix has reported a slowing down of growth in the memory chip profits as it posted its first drop in quarterly profit in two years, casting doubt on medium-term revenue growth.

SK Hynix President Kim Joon-ho told analysts that the problem was a change in product mix and a transition to more complex production technology will crimp third-quarter shipments growth for the key DRAM business. Analysts are concerned that DRAM shipments growth will be increasingly limited in the latter half of the year, given the technology migration issues, which would lead to slower top-line growth. But Hong said such concerns were overblown, as limited shipments growth would help keep supply tight and support chip prices.

Hynix posted an operating profit of $1.07 billion for the April-June period which is not to be sneezed at. But that result was 2.7 percent below the same quarter a year earlier. The other problem is the rise in the value of the won, which toll on revenue, which fell 0.2 percent compared with the previous corresponding period. The currency on average gained more than 9 percent against the dollar during the April-June quarter from a year ago.

President Kim said growth in shipments of DRAM chips, mainly used in personal computers and servers, would slow to a mid-single-digit percent rate in the third quarter, from 13 percent in the April-June period. Shipments of NAND chips, typically used in mobile devices, would slow to a high 20 percent rate from 54 percent.

He said that DRAM market trends will remain favorable due to better-than-expected demand for personal computers as well as data centre-related server demand.

“The launch of new mobile products by major companies and the development of LTE-related demand in China will likely keep demand-side conditions firm,” he added.

Analysts played down concerns of a supply glut arising from the company’s plans for capital investment in the second half of 2015, and expected short-term earnings to remain firm.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is Apple Having Issues With Sharp?

July 17, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

There is a spat brewing between Apple and its long term supplier Sharp. Sharp has been making Apple displays for ages and has an entire plant dedicated to this purpose. The manufacturing gear now belongs to Apple and Sharp wants to buy the equipment back for $293 million.

Apparently, Sharp wants to diversify its production and shift away from supplying only to Apple. Jobs’ Mob is amenable to the idea of selling the facilities but only if Sharp never sells anything to Samsung. Samsung mostly utilizes OLED screens in most of its products, so there is little for Apple to worry about. However some devices still use LCD screens and might have Sharp gear under the bonnet.

An agreement has not yet been reached and it seems unlikely as the manufacturer is not keen on accepting the blatant anti-competitive behaviour or as Apple would say “shrewed negotiation ability.”

Sharp does not want to piss off Apple. It is busy producing iPhone 6 screens for Apple and the Kameyama Plant No. 1 which is the one that Sharp wants to buy back, flat out.

Courtesy-Fud

Standalone Wearables Coming This Year, Says AT&T

July 10, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The most successful wearable devices will be ones that can operate without a phone, and AT&T will have at least one of them by the end of this year, the man who manages the carrier’s partnerships said.

“It needs to be an independent device. It needs to do something different for the end user, for people to buy it en masse,” said Glenn Lurie, AT&T’s president of emerging enterprises and partnerships.

A likely place to start could be wearables for wellness, such as a device that knows when your workout’s begun, holds your music, and lets you post information about your performance to social networks, he said. “I think you’ll see devices like that this year,” Lurie said.

The hottest devices will be able to work both on their own and with a phone, Lurie said. They’ll also have to be simple to use, a bar that no wearable has crossed yet, he said.

Once wearables start talking to LTE on their own, the sky’s the limit of what consumers will take with them, Lurie said. “Just like tablets, it’s going to all of a sudden explode.”

Cars will be another hot category of connected devices, with natural-language commands letting drivers do many things, he said.

“We believe technology in a car can make the car not only a safer place, but a place where you can do everything you can do today with your smartphone in your hand,” Lurie said. But there are hurdles left to be crossed: Cars will need to be able to talk to both Android and iOS phones without those phones coming out of the driver’s pocket. And as cars age through several generations of mobile technology, their software will have to be upgradable over the air. “The car is going to become a smartphone with four wheels.”

Lurie has overseen AT&T’s new businesses and partnerships for years, going back to the carrier’s blockbuster deal to carry the Apple iPhone exclusively for five years. Speaking before the audience at the MobileBeat conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, he wasn’t giving away any secrets about what manufacturers are showing off to AT&T.

“The things I’m seeing are pretty darn exciting,” Lurie said.

 

Google Wants Closer Relationship Between Chromebooks, Android Devices

June 27, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Chromebooks will soon be capable of receiving notifications and running applications from Android smartphones and tablets.

Google is working on bridging the gap Chromebook laptops and Android mobile devices, making app and data exchange seamless, said Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps, during a speech at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco.

Users will be able to run Android applications such as Vine, Evernote and Flipboard on mobile devices or Chromebooks, Pichai said. In an on-stage demonstration, the applications were transferred from a smartphone to Chromebook.

“We’ve been working on this project for a while,” Pichai said. “We want this to be intuitive for users.”

Other demonstrations highlighted how the Chromebook was linked to Android smartphones. A Chromebook showed notifications about an incoming call and text message on a smartphone, and also showed an alert that the smartphone battery was low. This is similar to how smartwatches display notifications and music playlists from Android smartphones.

Chromebooks are primarily aimed at users who do most of their computing on the Web. A handful of smartphone-like features such as Google Now have been added to the Chromebook, whose users are also able to download movies from Google Play to watch offline.

Chromebooks have larger screens than Android mobile devices and one challenge is to port touchscreen mobile applications to Chromebooks for use with mice and keyboards, Pichai said.

Developers may have to modify code to work on different screen sizes and input mechanisms. Google hopes to make it easier for developers to change code so the applications can be adapted for Android and Chrome interfaces, Pichai said.

The feature updates will be delivered to Chromebooks later this year, Pichai said.

The Android and Chrome OSes are based on Linux, but are built as different operating systems. Google will continue to make adjustments to the OSes so mobile devices and PCs can connect and work seamlessly, Pichai said.

“We are investing a lot more in this area,” Pichai said.

 

 

YouTube To Debut Weekly Radio Show On Sirius

June 27, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

YouTube is making a foray into radio with a weekly show on satellite radio service Sirius XM that will feature the online video website’s most popular and emerging artists, the companies said on Thursday.

The show called The YouTube 15 will be hosted by Jenna Marbles, one of YouTube’s most popular stars whose videos on how to talk to your dog and other snippets from her life drew more than 13 million subscribers to her channel.

YouTube’s radio show will debut July 11 on the SiriusXM Hits 1 channel, which plays pop, R&B, rock and hip-hop.

It is the first time YouTube, owned by Google Inc, has partnered with another platform on a show about music.

The show is aimed at exposing listeners to a curated selection from the vast library of YouTube music videos, said Scott Greenstein, president and chief content officer for SiriusXM.

The selection of songs will reflect “what’s trending and very popular” to familiarize listeners with top hits on YouTube, he said. “Equally importantly, you are going to hear new and emerging music that many people for sure will not have heard.”

 

 

2GB RAM Upgrade Coming For New Google Glass Explorers

June 26, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Google will soon roll out an upgraded version of Google Glass with 2GB of RAM, angering early participants of its Glass Explorer Program stuck with the older model.

Google Glass currently comes with 1GB of RAM, but to improve performance Google will begin shipping a new version with 2GB of RAM, it said in a post to Google Plus.

The announcement angered some existing Glass owners. Some demanded a free upgrade to the 2GB version in comments on the posting. Others said they would be willing to pay a small fee for an upgrade, while one acknowledged that if further hardware updates were planned, it wouldn’t make sense for Google to upgrade all users each time. “Getting a final consumer version would be swell though,” he added.

Google does not plan to upgrade existing users’ devices, it said.

“Throughout our open beta program, you can expect to see us make changes here and there. We won’t be swapping devices, but you’ll continue to see improvements with our software updates,” a Google representative said in a comment on the posting.

The company does replace broken or defective Google Glass devices, however, prompting Google Plus user Jake Weisz to identify a loophole in the no-upgrades policy. “If defective Glass units get free upgrades to 2GB, you will see a lot of ‘defective’ models this month,” he wrote.

In May, Google broadened its Explorer Program, making Glass available in the U.S. to anyone over 18 years old for $1,500. Before that, users who wanted to buy Glass required an invitation from Google. On Monday it extended the offer to U.K. residents over 18, who can purchase Glass for $1,700.

Google is upgrading the Glass software as well as the hardware. It is adding an easier way to frame shots for photos, with the addition of L-shaped corners bracketing the image in the viewfinder screen, and adding two new Google Now cards, one to remind users where they parked their car and another to let them know when packages are arriving.

The company also announced 12 new Glassware apps from partners, including Shazam, a music recognition app that can be triggered with the words “OK Glass, recognize this song,” and 94Fifty Basketball, a training aid that works with a sensor-equipped basketball to offer feedback after each shot.

 

Yahoo Releases Personalization App For Android Phones

June 25, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Yahoo has launched an Android personalization app that could give the company a bigger presence in mobile contextual search.

Yahoo Aviate is the product of the company’s acquisition of Aviate earlier this year, through which it obtained an app for personalizing the home screen on Android phones based on what users are doing.

Aviate’s app had been in closed beta. The app is available globally for Android phones in English, with some new features.

The app’s developers have been focused on organizing people’s apps based on any number of signals. Walk by a gym and fitness apps might pop up. Driving in your car might bring music apps like Spotify to the fore.

Yahoo’s version of the app has features to make it more useful, including alerts for weather changes, and a way to connect to conference calls with a single tap.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has spoken out on the company’s efforts to offer more in the way of “contextual search,” with Aviate comprising a key element in that pursuit.

But Aviate exists in a crowded field of apps offering personal assistant-like functions, such as EverythingMe and EasilyDo. Plus, trying to predict what people really want is hard, and could be annoying if not done right.

Apps like Aviate also compete to a degree with Google Now, Google’s mobile tool for iOS and Android that provides different information likes sports scores and news headlines based on data signals specific to the person.

 

 

T-Mobile Offering One Week Free Service To Lure New Customers

June 20, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

T-Mobile US Inc said it’s offering at least a million mobile phone users the chance to use an Apple Inc iPhone in a free one-week trial of the No. 4 U.S. wireless carrier’s network with unlimited access.

The announcement is the latest promotion from T-Mobile, which last year shook up the industry by unbundling service fees from device costs, a move other carriers soon followed.

In cooperation with device maker Apple, customers can sign up online, receive a free iPhone 5s in two days and pay no charges unless the phone is broken or not returned at aretail store one week later.

“We believe every Verizon, and every AT&T customer should cheat on their carrier and enjoy every minute of it,” said T-Mobile CEO John Legere, speaking at a T-Mobile event in Seattle that was broadcast on the Internet. The carrier’s “seven-night stand” campaign asks consumers to allow the company to “woo you with our powerful data strong network” for the week.

T-Mobile’s aggressive discounting won it more subscribers in the first quarter of 2014 than any of the top wireless carriers combined. But the company’s price slashing cost it $151 million in lost revenue in the first quarter.

The company also said on Wednesday that music streaming from eight major music providers, including Pandora and Spotify, will no longer count against the data allowance included in consumers’ subscriptions.

“Streaming music is a showcase of what makes our network different. We can handle it,” said T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert.

T-Mobile customers use 69 percent more data than Verizon, and 100 percent more data than AT&T, according to the company.

The company also launched a music streaming service called ‘unRadio’, in partnership with music provider Rhapsody, which is free of advertising and will be included for customers who have unlimited high speed service. The service will also be available for $4 a month to all other subscribers.

The move follows a January AT&T announcement of a discounted subscription to Beats Music for family plan members, and a similar partnership between Sprint and Spotify in April.

T-Mobile’s massive price discounts have led to a restructuring of pricing plans across the wireless industry, as carriers unbundled service plans from the cost of devices.

 

Wireless Data Traffic More Than Doubled Last Year

June 19, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

The total amount of data managed by wireless carriers in the U.S. more than doubled in 2013, an increase driven most by increased video traffic.

U.S. carriers saw 3.2 exabytes of data traffic run across their networks, the CTIA said in its annual report on the U.S. wireless industry. An exabyte is 10×18 bytes or, put another way, a billion gigabytes.

The figure represents a 120 percent increase from the 1.5 exabytes carried in all of 2012, the group said. The CTIA is the Washington, D.C, -based lobbying group that represents the industry and it conducted the survey among its members. The data refers to traffic carried over licensed spectrum.

With 336 million subscriptions in the U.S., that figure works out to an average of 801 megabytes per subscriber line per month.

A large proportion of that data was video. While the CTIA didn’t survey members on video traffic, Cisco recently said its networking data pointed to a total of 2.2 exabytes in video data being carried by mobile networks last year. That’s an average of 563 megabytes per subscriber line per month.

U.S. customers spent 218 billion minutes per month talking on their wireless devices, which works out to an average of 650 minutes per month per line; sent 153 billion text messages per month, or 457 messages per line; and 10 billion multimedia messages, or 30 per line.

On the network side, carrier networks grew slightly as the roll out of 4G services continued apace across the country. At the end of 2013, the entire U.S. wireless network consisted of 304,360 cell sites, a rise of around 2,500 on the year. The CTIA put annual capital expenditure by wireless carriers at $33.1 billion.

 

 

YouTube To Jump Into The Ever Expanding Music Streaming Business

June 19, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Google Inc’s YouTube said that it will begin offering a paid streaming music service, amid criticism that its existing, free video website might block the music videos of labels that do not agree to its terms.

YouTube has partnered with “hundreds of major and independent” music labels for the new service, the company said in a statement, confirming long-running rumors that the world’s most popular online video website will offer a paid music service.

The news comes as some music trade groups have criticized YouTube’s plans to potentially block the content of certain labels from appearing on YouTube’s free, ad-supported Website unless they sign deals to participate in the new, subscription streaming music service. The deals that YouTube is offering are on “highly unfavorable, and non-negotiable terms,” according to a news release issued by the Worldwide Independent Music Industry Network last month.

YouTube declined to comment on the terms of the deals, but said in a statement that the new service would provide new revenue for the music industry.

“We’re adding subscription-based features for music on YouTube with this in mind – to bring our music partners new revenue streams in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars YouTube already generates for them each year,” YouTube said in a statement.

YouTube has already signed deals for the paid service with 95 percent of the music labels that it previously had deals with for its existing, ad-supported music video website, a person familiar with the matter said. Blocking certain music labels’ videos from appearing on YouTube’s free website might be necessary in order to provide a consistent user experience for the paid service, the person said.

The YouTube service is expected to launch at the end of the summer and will allow users to listen to music without any ads, according to a person familiar with the situation. Among the other features expected are the ability to listen to music offline and the ability to listen to an artist’s entire album instead of just individual songs, as is currently the case on YouTube, the person said.

Streaming music services such as Spotify and Pandora are becoming increasingly popular among consumers, as digital music downloads decline. Apple Inc announced plans to acquire streaming music service and premium headphone maker Beats for $3 billion last month.

Google launched the $9.99-per-month Play All Access subscription music service in 2013. The forthcoming YouTube paid music service could potentially work in coordination with the Play service so that consumers aren’t forced to subscribe to two separate services, the person familiar with the situation said.

 

SanDisk Buys Fusion-IO

June 18, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

SanDisk announced that it has acquired flash storage vendor Fusion-IO for a cool $1.1bn on Monday, as it looks to target enterprise data centres.

Recent rumours claimed that Fusion-IO, a firm that specialises in NAND flash PCIe hardware and software tools that are used in data centre servers, was in the market for a buyer. That buyer, we now know, is Sandisk, which announced plans to throw $1.1bn at the firm in order to accelerate its growth in the enterprise market. Sandisk said it will pay all $1.1bn, or $11.28 per share, in cash, and that expects the deal to close in the second half of fiscal 2015.

With Fusion-IO under its wing, Sandisk claims it will speed up its efforts in enabling the flash-transformed data center, which will help it make a bigger name for itself in the enterprise market.

Sandisk CEO and president Sanjay Mehotra said, “Fusion-IO will accelerate our efforts to enable the flash-transformed data centre, helping companies better manage increasingly heavy data workloads at a lower total cost of ownership.

“Customers will benefit from the addition of Fusion-IO’s leading PCIe solutions to Sandisk’s vertically integrated business model. We look forward to working with the world-class engineering and go-to-market teams from Fusion-IO to provide high-value solutions to customers around the world.”

Fusion-IO chairman and CEO Shane Robison added, “Fusion-IO’s innovative hardware and software solutions will be augmented by Sandisk’s worldwide scale and vertical integration, enabling a combined company that can offer an even more compelling value proposition for customers and partners.”

Sandisk will hosted a call on the buyout on Monday, where they explained more about the deal.

Courtesy-TheInq

Amazon Launches Streaming Music Service, Free For Prime Customers

June 13, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon.com Inc  rolled out a streaming music service on Thursday that comes free with its $99-a-year Prime membership program, but offers a smaller selection of recent hits than rivals Spotify and Apple Inc’s Beats Music.

The new feature, named “Prime Music,” allows subscribers of the $99-a-year program to stream or download more than a million songs without added fees or interruptions from advertisements.

This is one of many steps Amazon has taken in recent months to broaden the appeal of Prime, which includes perks such as free two-day shipping, after increasing its price to $99 from $79.

But the selection on Amazon’s streaming service is less robust than Spotify and Beats, which both offer more than 20 million songs. Amazon will also have fewer new songs and will not include songs from Universal Music Group Inc’s catalog, which includes work from artists Kanye West and Lady Gaga.

Amazon’s head of digital music, Steve Boom, acknowledged those shortcomings, but added that because the service is free with Prime, it offers more bang per buck than standalone streaming services that can cost $10 a month.

“If there are a few tracks you want to buy, the cost of doing that in our store will be dramatically less than paying $120 a year for, frankly, a lot of music people don’t listen to,” Boom said in an interview.

Amazon’s own data shows that a “substantial” portion of the 25 million to 30 million songs sold on its website are never purchased, he said. He declined to elaborate.

Universal, the world’s largest record company, and Amazon are still in negotiations about the service, he said, declining to elaborate on the negotiations or its sticking points.

Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and other smaller labels have signed on to the Amazon service. In some of its deals with labels, Amazon will have to wait up to six months after songs are released to add them to its service. In other cases, Amazon will be able to add new songs immediately.

The new service is a reflection of Amazon’s aggressive push into new areas such as digital content and hardware. Next week, Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is expected to unveil Amazon’s first smartphone during an event in Seattle.

 

 

Mobile Messaging App Tango To Begin Delivering Media Content

June 12, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Tango, the popular mobile messaging app, said that it has reached agreements with media companies including AOL and Vevo to distribute content in a new effort to differentiate itself in the hotly contested mobile messaging sector.

Tango said its 200 million users worldwide will be able to browse new “Channels” for entertainment, news, sports and other categories to discover articles, videos and songs. Content providers so far include music streaming service Spotify, AOL properties including the Huffington Post and Dailymotion, the video repository.

For Tango, the media partnerships are critical for its ambitions to become an online media hub – and a differentiating feature from other messaging services such as Whatsapp, the startup acquired by Facebook Inc in a $19 billion deal this year.

Whatsapp, for instance, has focused exclusively on improving its text-based messaging service, while China’s Tencent Holdings service WeChat touts the games it offers.

Tango co-founder Eric Setton said having unique and rich content would provide a unique draw for users. At the same time, Tango’s messaging service provided the ideal platform to distribute content for media companies, he argued.

“People realize that less and less time is spent on Web browsers, and all of the rest of the time is in apps,” Setton said in an interview. “We have a role to play here, in the distribution of content and the discovery of content because content producers need a way to get into bigger and bigger apps.”

Facebook’s Whatsapp acquisition in February – the largest in history for a venture-backed company – cast a spotlight squarely on the promise and potential value of mobile messaging apps.

Tokyo-based Line Corp, one of Asia’s fastest growing messaging services, is considering an initial public offering this year, according to media reports.

Tango has been watched closely in Silicon Valley circles particularly after it received an investment exceeding $200 million from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd in March, effectively cementing its ties to the Chinese e-commerce giant.