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Microsoft’s Windows 10 Usage Off To An Impressive Start

August 4, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft’s Windows 10 got off to a roaring start in its first few days, with early usage share handily surpassing that of the firm’s last free upgrade, Windows 8.1, data from a Web analytics vendor showed.

Worldwide, Windows 10′s usage share — a measure of how active users of the OS were on the Internet, not the number of users or PCs running the operating system — doubled from 0.3% to 0.6% on the official launch day of July 29, according to Irish metrics company StatCounter.

By the end of Saturday, Aug. 1, Windows 10′s global usage share had climbed to 2.5%.

In the United States, the surge of Windows 10 — which was offered as a free upgrade to most consumers and small businesses running either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 — was even more impressive. By Saturday, the U.S.-only usage share of Windows 10 stood at 3.7%.

Windows 10′s usage share jump, both worldwide and in the U.S., was dramatically larger than the increase posted by Windows 8.1 in mid-October 2013, when Microsoft offered the revised OS as a free upgrade to those then running Windows 8.

Windows 8.1′s usage share topped out at 0.6% — both globally and in the U.S. — on the third day after its debut, a fourth (worldwide) and a sixth (U.S.) of Windows 10.

The larger increases were expected: Windows 10′s pool of potential upgraders was massive compared to Windows 8.1′s, because Windows 7, the dominant operating system both worldwide and in the U.S., was included. And the fact that Windows 10 is, unlike 8.1, a major upgrade — the latter was a minor refresh — with a restored Start menu, integrated Cortana and loads of other new features, plays in 10′s favor.

Microsoft has only said that there are were 14 million devices running Windows 10 within the first day of issuing the final code, a number that presumably included the approximately 5 million it previously said were using the OS’s preview provided to members of its Insider program.

 

 

Is Samsung Starting To Focus On Tizen?

August 4, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Samsung might be gearing up to push its home grown operating system which sounds like a sneeze.

Tizen was launched in 2012 and appears to be slower than an asthmatic ant with a heavy load of shopping at starting off.

The Samsung Z1 Tizen-powered smartphone has also sold over 1 million units which is not bad but it seems that Samsung has bigger plans for Tizen.

The Linux-based operating system also powers smartwatches, cars, TVs, and refrigerators, among other devices and it might be part of Samsung’s push into these markets.

At its first Tizen Developer Summit in Bengaluru, India, the company shared the advancements it has made to the operating system and also the roadmap of things to come and appealed for developers to support it.

The company unveiled new Tizen SDKs for phones, smartwatches, and smart TVs. It has now brought in the capability to have floating buttons on its mobile operating system, and also added support for DALi (Dynamic Animation Library), a 3D engine that improves the animation capability of a phone.

Samsung is providing TV developers with the ability to use HTML5, JS, CSS technologies to make new apps.

The company wants to improve the built-in integration for apps to use system features. The new SDK also has an improved TV simulator, which developers can use to code apps and test them out for different screen sizes.

Samsung also revealed that all 17 smart TVs it launched this year are powered by Tizen.

It could be that Samsung really is planning to walk away from Android and put some weight behind Tizen.

Courtesy-Fud

 

German Carmakers Team Up To Buy Nokia’s HERE

August 4, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

German auto makers BMW, Audi and Mercedes, will pay around 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion) to acquire Nokia’s maps business, beating out high-tech rivals for location services seen as key to the future of self-driving cars.

Germany’s three premium carmakers joined forces and will hold equal stakes in the business, known as HERE, clubbing together to keep the assets from falling into the hands of Internet rivals in Silicon Valley or China.

The deal has an enterprise value of 2.8 billion euros, including liabilities worth nearly 300 million euros, for which Nokia will compensate the carmakers, the Finnish company said on Monday. The transaction is likely to close in the first quarter of 2016.

The deal allows the auto makers to offer new premium features, like autonomous driving, in their luxury cars, shaking up the pecking order between car makers, their parts suppliers and software rivals like Uber, Google or Apple.

“With the joint acquisition of HERE, we want to secure the independence of this central service for all vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and customers in other industries,” said Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche of Daimler, which invented the motor car in 1886.

But it is unclear how other HERE customers, including rival carmakers, may respond to Germany’s carmakers owning map technology, which many in the auto, Internet and logistics industries see as key to their own strategies.

“There is a risk that the other automakers will be pushed further into the arms of Google,” said Richard Windsor an independent financial analyst who tracks major tech players.

HERE’s primary competitor is Google Maps.

Intelligent mapping systems like HERE’s are the basis on which self-driving cars linked to wireless networks can perform functions such as recalculating a route to the nearest electric charging station or around a traffic jam or accident.

 

 

Is Google Glass 2 Coming By December?

August 3, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

A recent rumor suggests that Google is planning to release its new version of Google Glass by the end of the year.

According to 9 to 5 Google It appears that Glass II has already been distributed to the company’s Glass at Work enterprise partners.

The new model can fold up like a traditional pair of glasses and is more rugged for outdoor use. It still sports a small screen to the upper right of the user’s vision, rather than displaying an image in the centre of one’s view like the ODG R7 or Microsoft HoloLens.

One source said the update would cost much less than the original Glass’ $1,500 price tag, to stay competitive with other smart glasses in the enterprise.

The focus for now is all about enterprise-specific augmented-reality applications, because those markets are ready and willing to buy and try smart glasses, rather than the consumer use cases that originally surrounded Glass’ launch.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Did Microsoft Intentionally Delay The Surface Pro 4?

August 3, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The dark satanic rumor mill has suggested a good reason Microsoft delayed the launch of its flagship tablet-laptop, Surface Pro 4.

The latest rumors suggest that Microsoft was waiting to jack the latest Intel Skylake processor under its bonnet.

Redmond seemingly wants the new Surface Pro to be state of the art and be a tablet which is useful. Skylake will give it better battery life and performance with current industry standards like Bluetooth 4.1, Cat6 LTE, WiDi 6.0, and A4WP wireless charging weaved into it.

Intel will support the tablets through compatibility with 3D cameras and audio processing software plus better stylus interaction.

There is no sign of confirmation of the rumors. Microsoft has been quiet so far about the Surface Pro 4. We had been expecting it to highlight some of the better features of Windows 10.

However if the rumors are true it will be a hell of a lot better than the MacBook Air 2015 because it will feature innovation, rather than just being thin.

Latest news about its release date suggests a 2016 launch.

Courtesy-Fud

Yahoo Unveils Livetext Mobile Messaging App

July 31, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Yahoo unveiled a mobile messaging app that combines texting with live one-on-one video.

The app, named Livetext, is video calling with a twist: there’s no audio. To communicate, users type texts and emojis that are overlaid onto the screen during the call.

The app’s format might sound restricting, but Yahoo says Livetext will help users to communicate more freely. The lack of audio, the company says, removes inhibitions that people might feel when they otherwise receive video calls in public.

“We wanted to bridge the gap between the simplicity and ease of texting, with the live feeling of calling,” said Adam Cahan, senior vice president of video, design and emerging products at Yahoo, during the app’s unveiling at an event in New York on Wednesday that was webcast.

Livetext was developed from scratch at Yahoo. Its development was aided by Yahoo’s acquisition last year of mobile messaging app MessageMe, the company said Wednesday. It’s yet another messaging app in a sea of competitors like Snapchat, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Still, Livetext is the latest attempt by Yahoo to provide a messaging app that resonates with users. It became available to download for free on Thursday for iOS and Android, in the U.S., U.K, Canada, Ireland, Germany, France, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Users will be able to text in English, French, German and Chinese using the app.

The app streams video only when two people are connected through the app at the same time. Users can search for friends in the app through their Livetext user name, or through the contacts list on their phone.

There is no time limit on calls placed through the app, and no way to save or archive the sessions. The video quality will depend on the strength of the data connection, although connections at 3G and above should suffice, Yahoo said.

It’s available on Android and the desktop, but not on iOS.

 

 

 

 

Samsung Plans Price Cut For Galaxy S6 Phones

July 31, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Lukewarm demand for its flagship Galaxy S6 smartphone and higher marketing costs led Samsung Electronics to another quarter of declining sales and profits in the April to June period.

In the key smartphone market, an area led by Samsung until recently, the popularity of Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets and the rise of lower-cost phones from Chinese vendors squeezed Samsung at both the high and low end of the market.

The company said Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge sales were lower than expected.

It still managed to make money but not nearly as much as the same time last year. Operating profit for the quarter was 2.8 trillion won, down about 38 percent on the same period of 2014.

The results come against a backdrop of continuing record quarterly results at smartphone rival Apple. It sold 47.5 million phones in the quarter and recorded sales of $49.6 billion and a quarterly net profit of $10.7 billion — both squarely ahead of sales and profits at Samsung.

For the rest of this year, Samsung said it will attempt to boost smartphone sales by reducing the price of the Galaxy S6 and introducing new large-screen models. This time more than ever before, the company is under intense pressure to score a hit with a new phone to help turn around its declining business.

 

 

Can OSX Make Macs Vulnerable To Rootkits?

July 28, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The software genii at Apple have redesigned their OSX software to allow malware makers to make designer micro-software that can infect Macs with rootkits.

Obviously the feature is one that Apple software experts designed specifically for malware writers, perhaps seeing them as an untapped market.

The bug in the latest version of Apple’s OS X allows attackers root user privileges with a micro code which could be packed into a message.

Security researcher Stefan Esser said that this was the security hole attackers regularly exploit to bypass security protections built into modern operating systems and applications.

The OS X privilege-escalation flaw stems from new error-logging features that Apple added to OS X 10.10. Plainly the software genii did not believe that standard safeguards involving additions to the OS X dynamic linker dyld applied to them because they were protected from harm by Steve Job’s ghost.

This means that attackers to open or create files with root privileges that can reside anywhere in the OS X file system.

“This is obviously a problem, because it allows the creation or opening (for writing) of any file in the filesystem. And because the log file is never closed by dyld and the file is not opened with the close on exec flag the opened file descriptor is inherited by child processes of SUID binaries. This can be easily exploited for privilege-escalation,” Esser said.

The vulnerability is present in both the current 10.10.4 (Yosemite) version of OS X and the current beta version of 10.10.5. Importantly, the current beta version of 10.11 is free of the flaw, an indication that Apple developers may already be aware of the vulnerability.

An Apple spokesman said that engineers are aware of Esser’s post of course they did not say they would do anything about it. They will have to go through the extensional crisis involved in realising that their product was not secure or perfect. Then the security team will have to issue orders, signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to an internal inquiry, lost again, and finally bury it in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters.

Courtesy-Fud

Best Buy To Begin Selling Apple Watch In August

July 28, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The Apple Watch will go on sale at stores of Best Buy Co Inc, the largest U.S.consumer electronics chain, starting Aug. 7.

The Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport models will be sold at more than 300 Best Buy stores in time for the holiday shopping season, a spokeswoman for Apple Inc  said.

“Customers love Apple Watch, and we are thrilled to begin offering it at Best Buy,” she said in an email.

Best Buy is the first retailer to sell the watch outside of the Apple retail store.

“The Apple Watch is an important addition to an emerging product category, and we know our customers want it,” Jason Bonfig, senior category officer, said on the Best Buy website.

The company said the product will also be available on its online store BestBuy.com.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that the Apple watch was coming to Best Buy.

Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told Reuters earlier this month that sales of the Apple Watch had beat the company’s expectations. He said in the nine weeks since its launch in late April, the device had sold better than either iPhones or iPads over a similar period after their launch.

 

 

Apple Offering Free Beats Headphones For Back-to-school Promo

July 27, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Apple launched its annual back-to-school promotion in the U.S., switching the deal to a free pair of Beats headphones for customers who buy eligible Macs.

The promotion launched later this year than in the past: In 2014, for example, Apple started its back-to-school campaign July 1.

Buyers who purchase a qualifying Mac between now and Sept. 18 receive a $199.95 credit toward a a pair of Beats Solo2 On-Ear Headphones, which list for that amount. Alternately, the credit can be applied to a pair of Beats Solo2 Wireless On-Ear Headphones, which run $299.95, making the out-of-pocket expense $100.

The promotion launches today in Apple’s retail stores and participating authorized on-campus stores but won’t appear on the company’s e-store until Aug. 6.

9to5Mac.com first reported on the promotion earlier today.

This year’s back-to-school promotion gives parents of college students and incoming freshmen, and teachers and staff members of all grade levels — including K-12 — the credit when they buy a new iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Unlike years past, iPads and iPhones do not qualify.

For the last four years, Apple has handed out gift cards and maxed the amount of the offer at $100. Before that, a more generous Apple gave rebates of up to $300 toward the purchase of an iPod Touch.

Educational discounts on the hardware also apply. MacBooks and MacBook Airs are reduced by $50 for parents of students and for faculty and staff. The discounts on other products are $100 on MacBook Pros, $100 to $200 on Retina 5K iMacs, $50 to $100 on iMacs, and $200 to $300 on Mac Pros.

 

 

 

Will Oracle Make Money Off Android?

July 27, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Database outfit Oracle’s moves to try and copyright APIs appear to be part of an attempt for Oracle to make money on Android.

Oracle has asked a U.S. judge for permission to update its copyright lawsuit against Google to include the Android which it claims contains its Java APIs.

Oracle sued Google five years ago and is seeking roughly $1 billion in copyright claims if it manages to convince a court that its APIs are in Android it could up the damages by several billions.

Oracle wrote in a letter to Judge William Alsup on Wednesday that the record of the first trial does not reflect any of these developments in the market, including Google’s dramatically enhanced market position in search engine advertising and the overall financial results from its continuing and expanded infringement.

Last month, the US Supreme Court upheld an appeals court’s ruling that allows Oracle to seek licensing fees for the use of some of the Java language. Google had said it should use Java APIs without paying a fee.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Microsoft Unveils ‘Send’ Mobile App

July 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Microsoft unveiled a mobile-minded alternative to email that’s focused primarily on short, quick messages.

Named Send, the new tool aims to deliver a simple experience much like that offered by text messaging or instant messaging software but without the need to know a co-worker’s mobile number or username. Instead, Send lets users quickly fire off a message to any co-worker using just their email address; no subject line, salutations or signatures are required.

“On my way,” might be one example, or “Are you in the office today?”

The app connects to Office 365 business and school email accounts to find frequent and recent contacts; users need only tap on one to start a conversation. A “Quick Reply” option allows for speedy responses.

That Office 365 connection, meanwhile, also means conversations are synced with Outlook, letting users continue them from anywhere. Messages sent using Send are treated internally like any other work email and comply with an organization’s email compliance policies, Microsoft said.

Send is now available free for iPhone through the Microsoft Garage in the U.S. and Canada. Versions for Windows Phone and Android are coming soon, as are additional IT controls. Currently the app works with Office 365 business and school email accounts, but Microsoft plans to make it more broadly available in the coming months, it said.

 

 

 

Court Says ‘Pocket-dialed’ Calls Are Not Private

July 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

A federal appeals court in Ohio has ruled that a person who accidentally “pocket dials” someone shouldn’t expect any part of that conversation to be private.

The case involves the chairman of the Airport Board in Kenton, Kentucky, which oversees the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The chairman, James Huff, was on a business trip in Italy with his wife and a colleague when he accidentally pocket-dialed the secretary of the airport’s CEO back in the U.S.

The secretary, Carol Spaw, said “hello” a few times and soon figured out the call wasn’t meant for her. But she overheard Huff and his colleague talking about personnel matters, including the possibility that the airport’s CEO — Spaw’s boss — might be replaced. The inadvertent call continued after Huff got back to his hotel room with his wife.

The call lasted 91 minutes and Spaw stayed on the line the entire time, court records show. Spaw claims that she thought Huff was discussing a plan to illegally discriminate against the CEO, a woman. She says she felt obliged to record the call and report it.

Spaw took handwritten notes for most of the call, but managed to record the last four minutes after a colleague brought her an iPhone. By that time, Huff was back in his hotel room, where he discussed personal matters with his wife Bertha but also shared some details of the personnel discussion from earlier.

Huff and his wife sued Spaw, alleging she had breached their privacy by violating a law often called the Wiretap Act, which prohibits interception of “wire, oral or electronic communications.”

However, the catch is that the law applies only where people can show they had a reasonable expectation of privacy. And that’s not case with pocket-dialed calls, the appeals court ruled, upholding in part a lower court’s decision.

Citing case law, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said people must “exhibit” that they have an expectation of privacy, by taking reasonable steps to ensure their conversation won’t be overheard.

 

 

 

ZTE To Offer High-end Axon Smartphone In U.S.

July 23, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Chinese mobile brands don’t normally stir much interest in the U.S., so when ZTE teased its newest smartphone, the Axon, it initially didn’t mention the company at all.

The company’s online promotions in advance of the launch featured a mysterious high-end Android device. The marketing scheme paid off, according to Adam Zeng, CEO of ZTE’s mobile devices business, sparking media interest. It even caused some to wonder if the product was Korean-made, since Chinese brands have a low-end image to U.S. consumers, according to Zeng.

ZTE was happy to clear up any preconceived notions. “Chinese brands can also come out with top-tier products,” Zeng maintained.

The Axon is a premium handset that the company claims can rival flagship phones from Apple, Samsung and LG.

It is scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. in early August, and is already available for pre-order, with a no-contract price of $449. That’s about $200 less than an iPhone 6 when bought without carrier subsidies. But consumers are still getting the latest in smartphone technology.

For the Axon, this includes a 2560 by 1440 screen, an eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 4GB of RAM, all fitted in a sleek metal case with leather on the back cover.

Zeng noted that it took ZTE 18 months to develop the product. The company wanted to make sure it had everything, such as the ability to shoot 4K video, and a rear-facing camera with dual lenses.

ZTE kept pushing the phone’s launch date back to include more features, Zeng said. It also tapped talent from North America, hiring Seattle-based design firm Teague and former BlackBerry employees to help build the product.

ZTE has been expanding in the U.S., although competition remains stiff. In this year’s first quarter, it was ranked as the U.S.’s sixth largest smartphone vendor, with a 4.5 percent market share, according to research firm IDC. Industry leaders Apple and Samsung, on the other hand, have a combined market share of 62 percent.

 

 

 

 

Google + Photos To End On August 1st

July 22, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Bad news for Google+ Photos, the photo-sharing service that’s part of the company’s social network.

Google will begin closing down the service on Aug. 1 on Android, with the Web and iOS devices to follow soon after.

For a time, Google touted the service as a key element in Google+, with a range of editing tools and image enhancement technologies rolled out over the years.

But Google hinted that its days might be numbered when the company rolled out its new Google Photos service at Google I/O in May.

The closure of Google+ Photos is likely to prompt more questions about the future of Google+, which has struggled to rival the success of Facebook.

Photos and videos stored in Google+ Photos will be moved to Google Photos. People who don’t want to use the new service can download their images using Google Takeout, the company said.

Google Photos provides free, unlimited photo and video storage in Google’s cloud, along with tools to organize the media.