“It’s likely some jobs will be impacted by this [cost-cutting] process, but it’s premature to talk about details,” said Sprint spokesman David Tovar in a telephone interview on Friday.
In addition to 31,000 workers, the company also employs about 30,000 contractor employees, he said. Sprint, with 57.7 million customers, fell to the nation’s fourth largest wireless carrier in August, behind T-Mobile.
The cost-cutting plan of $2 billion to $2.5 billion was described in an internal memo to employees, sent by new chief financial officer Tarek Robbiati. “We just want to make sure employees know what’s happening,” he said.
Robbiati’s memo was first reported by The Wall Street Journal last week.
The memo was distributed a few days after Sprint said it would not participate in an auction of low-frequency wireless spectrum. But Tovar contended that the two announcements are not connected with any sudden changes in Sprint’s long-term restructuring plan, which CEO Marcelo Claure has described many times since taking over a year ago.
“We have plenty of spectrum, the most of any other U.S. company, and we don’t need to participate in the auction,” Tovar added. “We’re going full speed ahead on our network plan and the decision not to participate in the auction has nothing to do with what you’re hearing about cost reductions.”
Put your Android whatever back in its sand bucket. It is facing another threat. This one is spooky sounding and has been dubbed Ghost Push by Yang Yang and Jordan Pan of the Trend Micro security labs outfit.
The threat presents itself to people who download things from untrusted third-party stores, which is not everyone, and seems to behave in a way that is sophisticated – unlike perhaps people who download things from untrusted sites. Ghost Push is not new and neither is this method of infection.
“Halloween is still a month from now yet Android users are already being haunted by the previously reported Ghost Push malware, which roots devices and makes them download unwanted ads and apps. The malware is usually packaged with apps that users may download from third-party app stores,” said Yang and Pan.
“Further investigation of Ghost Push revealed more recent variants which, unlike older ones, employ routines that make them harder to remove and detect.”
Pan and Yang said that there are some 20 variants of Ghost Push in the wild, and that the threat has been active since April. It has ramped itself up during September and is presenting the worst side of itself in India and Indonesia, where 32 and 24 percent of infected devices can be found.
Trend does not think that this ghost theme is related to the XcodeGhost malware that bothers iOS users, but it does think that someone quite sophisticated is behind the attacks.
“It is likely that a team of cyber criminals are behind Ghost Push and they are not exactly new to the malware creation industry,” the researchers wrote.
“This group has already published 658 different malicious applications (1,259 different versions) in third-party app stores unrelated to Ghost Push. One of these apps has infected more than 100,000 devices, two more than 10,000 and seven more than 1,000.”
Third-party download sites are the reason for most of the affected devices and applications, but Yang and Pan said that a couple made it through to the official Google Play store.
“We also found two legitimate apps unrelated to Ghost Push that the same creators published on Google Play, which have since been removed,” they said, explaining that these apps accumulated some 10,000 downloads before being pulled.
“These show that this group possesses ample technical knowledge to effectively victimise thousands of devices and evade detection,” Yang and Pan said.
Once a device is infected the malware can launch other applications and services and steal personal information.
Facebook has been looking to improve and ease its mobile profile experience as it makes more of its $10 billion-plus in annual ad revenue off of phones. The updates also come during New York City’s 12th Advertising Week, where Facebook is courting the world’s largest advertisers and companies.
Among the new features are profile videos, or a short looping video clip that users can create in place of a static profile picture. The feature is similar to Vine, a video sharing app owned by Twitter Inc.
Users can also set a temporary profile picture that reverts to their old picture at a specified time. Those who want to support a sports team or charitable cause for a specific week, for example, can choose a picture to display for a short time period.
Facebook also introduced more ways to control privacy settings so that users can curate what pieces of information are public and which are only viewable to “friends,” or people that they have allowed to view profiles.
The launch of the phones, the Nexus 6P and the Nexus 5X, comes a day after Apple Inc reported record first-weekend sales of its new iPhones.
The Nexus 5X 16 GB model will be priced at $379, while the Nexus 6P 32 GB will cost $499, Google said at an event live-streamed on YouTube.
Apple’s 6s and 6s Plus start at $199 and $299, respectively, with a two-year service-provider contract.
Nexus devices, which typically do not sell as much as iPhones or iPads, are a way for the tech giant to showcase its latest advancements in mobile hardware and software.
Google also unveiled a tablet built entirely by the company based on its Android operating system.
The latest version of Android, dubbed Marshmallow, will be available to existing Nexus customers from next week.
The Android mobile platform is a key element in Google’s strategy to maintain revenue from online advertising as people switch from Web browser searches to smartphone apps.
The Nexus 5X is made by South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc and the Nexus 6P by China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd . Both phones feature Google’s new fingerprint sensor, Nexus Imprint, which is located on the back.
The fingerprint sensors will help quickly authorize purchases made through Android Pay, the one-touch payment app on Android devices that competes with Apple Pay.
The phones are available for pre-order on the Google Store from a number of countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Japan.
The Pixel C tablet will cost $499 for the 32 GB model and can be bought with a detachable keyboard, which will cost $149.
The tablet will be available in time for the holiday season on the Google Store.
The offer, however, does excludes devices sold or running on the AT&T network. But it does apparently apply to a lease or installment plan from T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon Wireless or US Cellular. The devices that are eligible are the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus.
In one example, a Galaxy S6 through Verizon would require a $24 monthly payment for 24 months to pay off the device. Samsung’s offer covers those payments up to $120. The redemption period ends Oct. 9, according to online conditions.
For smartphone users switching to Galaxy from the iPhone, the $100 award will come in the form of a $100 Google Play gift card.
This isn’t the first time Samsung has attempted to lure iPhone customers. In August, Samsung offered U.S. iPhone users a 30-day test drive of a Galaxy phone for $1.
Samsung has been hot on the tail of Apple for years, and is expected to set up its own leasing program; Apple announced the iPhone Upgrade Program on Sept. 9. “If Apple does it, then it must be good enough for Samsung,” said Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics.
Chipmaker Qualcomm is spending a fortune to set up shop in India by making itself the friend of the Indian government.
Qualcomm said it would invest up to $150 million in Indian startups via a venture fund. The announcement coincides with the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Silicon Valley. Modi is keen to make India a technology hub with lots of mobile resources to help the country grow.
Qualcomm wants to move into India as the China market starts to dry up and it falls foul of regulators.
Executive chairman Paul Jacobs met the Indian prime minister at the Digital Economy event in San Jose and said the venture fund was in support of the government’s Digital India and Make-in-India initiatives.
Jacobs said that Qualcomm shared Modi’s vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
“India is at the cusp of a technology revolution and mobile technologies will lay the foundation for Digital India. We are committed to providing local innovative start-ups with the support needed to help India’s IOE ecosystem grow, increasing consumer choice and availability,” he said.
.The new venture fund, which will be advised by Qualcomm Ventures — an investment arm of the group — is expected to fuel innovation and foster promising Indian startups which are contributing to the Mobile and Internet of Everything ecosystem. It will also aim to provide startups with financial, marketing, technology and business support to help propel them forward in the competitive Indian market.
The advertising options, most of which will also be available on Facebook-owned Instagram, are designed to take advantage of the social network’s strengths on mobile devices. It has the world’s most popular smartphone app and generates more than three-quarters of its $10 billion-plus in annual ad revenue on phones.
Facebook is trying to convince advertisers, especially those who use video, that their dollars will be better spent on mobile platforms rather than on TV as users, especially millennials, spend more time on their phones than watching television. The rollout of the new products come ahead of New York City’s 12th Advertising Week, which runs from Monday to Friday and gathers the world’s largest advertisers and companies. Facebook also announced on Sunday that it has 2.5 million active advertisers in total, up from 2 million in February.
Digital video advertising spending is growing rapidly, projected to increase 13 percent to nearly $15 billion by 2019, according to eMarketer. Television ad spending, by comparison, is expected to grow 2 percent in the same time period to $78 billion. “Facebook is listening to the ad community and giving them what they are looking for,” said Debra Aho Williamson, social media marketing analyst with eMarketer. “Does Facebook want video ad dollars? Yes.”
On television, advertisers can buy ads based on how many people they will reach, an approach Facebook has adopted to ease the transition between television spending and digital spending.
In addition, it can target highly specific audiences, such as women aged 18 to 35 years old who have shopped on a specific website, which TV cannot do.
The phone, called Priv, will also include BlackBerry security and productivity tools, Chairman and CEO John Chen told investors last week.
The move suggests that Chen still can’t decide whether BlackBerry should focus on the more profitable enterprise mobile device and application management software sector, or remain a loss-making phone maker with one foot still in the cut-throat consumer electronics market.
On Friday, BlackBerry reported revenue of $490 million for the three months to Aug. 29, down from $916 million a year earlier. The company scraped up a net income of $51 million with an accounting manipulation, revaluing debentures to the tune of $228 million. Gross margin was down, however, while fixed selling costs remained largely unchanged from a year earlier.
Software licensing revenue jumped 33 percent, however, suggesting that BlackBerry’s mobile device and application management business, supplemented after the quarter ended with the $425-million acquisition of Good Technology, is on the up.
The company added 2,400 enterprise software licensees during the quarter, but 60 percent of these were cross-platform licenses, meaning that BlackBerry’s software will be used to manage the security of phones from other vendors.
Sales of its own phones dropped precipitously: It recognized revenue from shipment of just 800,000 phones running BlackBerry OS in the quarter, down from 2.1 million a year earlier.
The average download speed on U.S. 4G networks inched up to 10Mbps (bits per second) in the June-August quarter, according to research company OpenSignal. That was an improvement from 9Mbps in the previous quarter, but the country’s global ranking fell from 43rd as users in other countries made much larger gains.
The U.S. was one of the first countries with commercial LTE service when Verizon Wireless launched its network in late 2010. But other countries that adopted the system later started with better technology, and some have secured more frequencies or rolled out enhancements that U.S. carriers haven’t embraced as much, OpenSignal said.
New Zealand scored the highest average speed in the quarter with 36Mbps, coming up from nowhere in the rankings. But perennial standouts like South Korea and Singapore kept getting faster, too. The average LTE speed in Korea is now 29Mbps (up by 4Mbps), and in Singapore it’s 33Mbps, up by 5Mbps.
OpenSignal collects data on cellular performance through a free app that mobile subscribers can use to measure the speed they’re getting and find faster networks. The results announced Wednesday are based on readings from more than 300,000 users worldwide, the company said.
Countries like Hungary, the Dominican Republic and Morocco beat the U.S. in average LTE speed, but they aren’t necessarily smartphone paradises. Mobile users in America can use LTE more of the time, for example, because their carrier’s networks are built out. Subscribers in the U.S. are on LTE 78 percent of the time, on average, making the country No. 10 for what OpenSignal calls “time coverage.” Moroccan LTE may be fast, but 49 percent of the time, users there don’t get it, for example.
T-Mobile US Inc offered the least expensive option to own the latest iPhone at $5 under the company’s trade-in plan, amid fierce competition among the top U.S. carriers ahead of Apple Inc’s highly anticipated phone launch.
Customers can get a 16 GB iPhone 6s for $5 per month without upfront payment, under an 18-month lease, in exchange of an iPhone 6, 6 Plus or Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 versions under T-Mobile’s latest plan.
They can also get a 16 GB iPhone 6s Plus for $9 per month under the plan.
Sprint Corp currently offers an iPhone 6s for $15 per month, under a 22-month lease, with its trade-in plan.
U.S. carriers are also pressured by Apple’s own financing scheme for an unlocked iPhone that gives customers the freedom to switch between carriers.
Demand for new iPhones were on pace to beat the 10 million units the previous versions logged in their first weekend last year, Apple said earlier this month.
T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere tweeted on Tuesday that iPhone 6s preorders were 30 percent higher than a year earlier.
Customers pay a relatively large sum for access to apps like Word and Excel, and once they have the functionality they need, there’s little incentive to upgrade. It makes sense from a consumer standpoint, but it means Microsoft isn’t making as much money as it could from the widespread use of Office.
That could be the impetus behind a promotion Microsoft announced Tuesday: Customers who have Windows 10 on their computer but are still running Office 2010 or earlier can now get a one-year Office 365 Personal subscription for $35. That’s half the price Microsoft usually charges for the Personal package, which lets users install its productivity suite on one tablet, one computer and one phone.
It comes the same day that Microsoft launched Office 2016, the latest update to its productivity suite. The update includes a variety of new features, such as integration with Bing search and a “Tell Me” search box that helps users find functionality inside the Office apps without having to comb through a maze of menus.
What’s more, the update enhances collaboration between Office users. One of the marquee features is real-time co-authoring in Word’s desktop app, which lets multiple people work on the same document at the same time and see the edits of other users in real time. The success of that feature relies on the use of Office 2016, which means it’s in Microsoft’s interest to get more people onto Office 365.
Of course, the promotion is only good for a year — users have to pay the full $70 for an Office 365 Personal subscription once their promotional period is up. It’s not clear when the deal will end, either, though it seems unlikely that Microsoft will keep it around forever.
MVNOs, which purchase network capacity from large carriers and resell mobile plans under their own branding, have failed to gain traction in China, where three state-owned giants dominate the telecoms industry.
But as China’s most popular handset brand, Xiaomi’s foray into the sector could finally kickstart the MVNO industry and provide a boost for Chinese telecom regulators who have sought for years to introduce market competition against the trio of state-owned carriers often criticised for their poor profitability and perceived bloat.
Xiaomi’s new wireless business, called Mi Mobile, will offer voice and data services and utilize either the China Unicom or China Telecom networks.
The launch comes less than six months after Google Inc announced it would launch an MVNO service in the United States called “Fi” that piggybacks off Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks.
There have been rumours that Apple is similarly mulling an MVNO business, although the iPhone maker has not disclosed any plans.
AT&T accused three of its employees of secretly installed software on its network so a mobile phone unlocking service could surreptitiously funnel hundreds of thousands of requests to its servers to remove software locks on phones.
The locks prevent phones from being used on competing networks and have been an important tool used by cellular carriers to prevent customers from jumping ship. They can be electronically removed, usually after fulfilling a contract obligation, but many websites offer the same service for a small fee with no questions asked.
AT&T’s allegations are made in a filing with U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in which it accuses two companies, four people and an unknown software developer or developers, of participating in the audacious scheme. AT&T filed its lawsuit on Sept. 11 but it was first reported by Geekwire on Friday.
The carrier first discovered something was amiss in September 2013 when a surge in the number of unlock requests alerted the company to the possible abuse of “Torch,” the software used to unlock cellphones, it said in the complaint.
Upon investigation, the company discovered that the logins and passwords of two employees at a center in Washington were responsible for a large number of the requests and those requests happened within milliseconds of each other.
Both employees, Kyra Evans and Marc Sapatin, are named in the lawsuit.
On the computers of Evans and Sapatin, investigators found unauthorized software intended to route unlocking requests from an external source through AT&T’s computer system, it said. AT&T says its investigators uncovered numerous iterations of the software, which grew in complexity until it was eventually able to submit the automatic requests.
Investigators later found the software on a computer of a third employee, Nguyen Lam, according to AT&T. All three are no longer working at AT&T.
Qualcomm has released two new mid-range processors to its mobile CPU lineup — the Snapdragon 430 and the Snapdragon 617.
The Snapdragon 430 has a new modem that enables X6 LTE, with Cat 4 downlink speeds of up to 150 Mbps and support of 2×10 MHz Carrier Aggregation, and Cat 5 uplink speed of up to 75 Mbps via support for 64-QAM.
All this is a first for processors in its price range. In addition, the 430 supports dual camera configurations and sensors up to 21MP. Using the new Qualcomm Adreno 505 GPU brings support for Open GL ES3.1, Android Extension Pack, and OpenCL 2.0.
The Snapdragon 617 integrates the X8 LTE modem, featuring support for Cat 7 download speeds of up to 300 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 100 Mbps using bi-directional 2×20 MHz carrier aggregation. It also features the same software and camera architecture as the 620 and 618 at a lower price point.
We expect to see gear with a Snapdragon 430 under the bonnet in Q2 2016, and the Snapdragon 617 is expected to be available in consumer devices by Christmas.
Qualcomm senior vice president, product management Alex Katouzian said that as smartphones and tablets continue to spread to all corners of the globe, his outfit recognized that users were becoming more discerning.
“The introduction of these new processors is a clear indication that we are listening to the needs of our customers who want ever improving cameras, faster connectivity, and better battery life across all available price points.”
As has so often been the case with announcements from Apple, a company once famed for its strict secrecy, the rumor mills had the right of it; Wednesday morning’s event in California saw the unveiling of a new Apple TV device with a motion-sensitive controller and the ability to run third-party applications. If not exactly centre-stage, games were certainly a major part of the presentation and appear to be a significant part of the offering on the new device; yet even with the new system now unveiled, significant questions about Apple’s TV strategy remain, and the firm’s relationship with videogames and their creators remains uneasy and awkward.
There are two questions that matter to a game developer when it comes to a new platform; can it play games, and will there be a decent market. The first of those questions was answered at yesterday’s event, more or less. The new Apple TV is based on the A8 chip which powers the current generation of iPhones, and it’s actually something of an upgrade over those devices, as it sports 2GB of RAM (as is also the case in the new iPhone 6S models). That means it’s more than capable of running some pretty graphically impressive games, perhaps even some titles that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the PS3 or Xbox 360.
There are two very severe limits on the potential for that kind of “console-AAA” style game on the Apple TV, though. The first is that apps on the system are limited to 200mb in size; they can access assets much larger than that, but must be prepared to stream them over the Internet, as they are not allocated any asset storage space on the system (which has only 32GB of storage in total, or 64GB on the larger version; this is very much a streaming box). That’s a sufficiently strict limit to have some developers rolling their eyes and declaring the device uninteresting as a game system, but others are no doubt thinking hard about what kind of experiences are possible within that limit. It’s worth noting just how rich and complex some browser-based games, which operate within much stricter limitations, can be. 200MB size plus streamed assets is a tough challenge, but not insurmountable; it needs to be considered alongside the arguably tougher challenge of figuring out what people are actually going to want to play on this device.
Which leads us to the second limitation – how, physically, people are going to play games on Apple TV. The system is controlled, as expected, with a new remote that has few physical buttons but sports a very sensitive trackpad, a motion sensing chip and a microphone. There are certainly some interesting things you could do to control a game with that – although I don’t doubt the skeptical mind which says that the first thing that’s going to happen is a clone of every piece of Wii shovelware ever released – but it does almost entirely preclude simple porting of retro classics, and even of many indie titles. Creators are going to have think hard about how their game will work with that control setup, which may be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the results of their cogitation.
There are other control options; almost every report on the device has pointed out that it works with any MFi compliant Bluetooth game pad, but this feels like little more than an exercise in specification box-ticking. No developer can release a game that relies upon these gamepads, because realistically, the kind of consumer who is willing to buy a gamepad and keep it in his living room in order to play games on his TV is exactly the kind of consumer who buys an actual games console. The old adage that standalone peripherals for game consoles are not worth developing games for holds equally true in this brave new world; games on Apple TV will live or die by how well people can make them work with the bundled remote, regardless of what third-party controllers may or may not be on the market. Of more interest, I think, is the potential for controlling games on the Apple TV using iPhones as controllers; I’m not sold on the idea of an iPhone as a gamepad, but given the ubiquity of iPhones (and perhaps even the potential for companion apps on Android, which may or may not be technically possible), multiplayer games in which each player has a “personal screen” as well as a view of the “main shared screen” have some serious potential.
Despite these limitations, what Apple announced was interesting, as expected; it’s arguably the best of the streaming boxes on the market (though it is a little pricey) and certainly the one with the most potential for success as a games platform. Before it succeeds as a games platform, though, Apple needs to ensure its success as a TV platform – and on this front, the company disappointed somewhat. The company is already well out in front of the competition in terms of streaming boxes; the previous Apple TV was the market leader by a huge margin, and this device will no doubt extend that success. The problem for developers is that the market which Apple TV leads is not an entirely impressive one. Certainly, more of our media than ever before is being consumer through streaming devices, but almost any device can stream music and movies; Apple TV may do it more slickly than some others, but for the vast majority of consumers, the solution they have right now probably works fine. Although tvOS (a tasteful and well-designed reskin of iOS) looks nice and the ability to run apps will intrigue some people, the burning question of why a critical mass of consumers would choose to buy something like an Apple TV remains unanswered.
Answers may be forthcoming later. The self-same rumour mills which so deftly predicted the general shape of the Apple TV announcement also suggest that Apple is set to make further announcements about its TV strategy over the coming months; that the company had hoped to announce the Apple TV box alongside a comprehensive and deeply disruptive streaming TV service which would give the firm top billing among the options for US consumers opting to “cut the cable” and subsist entirely on streamed media. There’s also talk of Apple copying Netflix and Amazon by getting into the funding of original content creation – a move which makes even more sense when you consider that the company has for years been buying up an impressive library of independent movies for iTunes. Should those ventures come to pass, and Apple TV sales soar as a consequence, the device will become very, very hard for game developers to ignore.
One can only hope, should that be the case, that Apple will also find game developers hard to ignore. The company has often been accused of being “snobby” about games, as though their presence on its devices is to be tolerated but not celebrated; this is absolutely an attitude which has changed hugely in recent years, but one can’t help but look at the game-unfriendly aspects of the Apple TV outlined above and wonder if the upper echelons of the company have really come that far. The firm’s management are no doubt aware of just how important games are to the iOS ecosystem, and to their credit they have built very impressive GPU power into their chipsets over the years; but compared to the love-in the company has with the music, movie and TV industries, their engagement with games feels brusque and disconnected. This won’t matter terribly in the long run; if Apple TV is an enormous success, games will go there as a matter of course, but there’s a lot to be said from Apple’s point of view for the device getting some big, eye-catching games that fit its audience profile early in its lifetime, and one would hope that the slightly afterthought-like nature of its public engagement with games does not imply that encouragement of the development of those titles is not going on behind the scenes.
Before any of that becomes truly relevant, though, Apple TV needs to be a major success. The device is interesting and has clearly created some buzz with users who are, not unreasonably, sick of the poor interfaces most TV devices presently sport; but with Apple’s own service (and perhaps content) offerings seemingly delayed, this feels right now like a device without a killer app. Developers will undoubtedly be keen to get their teeth into it, but it may be next year before we find out if Apple TV is a straight-up success – or if Apple, and its prodigious wallet, is going to have to get out and push.