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AT&T Announces Low-cost, High-speed Wireless Internet Service AirGig

September 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

att-logo-5-150x150AT&T unveiled a low-cost, high-speed wireless internet technology that relies on plastic antennas stationed along medium-voltage power lines.

The signals will not travel through the conductive materials inside the power lines, as with more expensive technologies that were tried and mostly failed a decade ago, AT&T executives said on a conference call.

Instead, the plastic antennas will be attached to the power lines and serve as a mesh network to distribute signals to homes and businesses. To test the technology, AT&T is looking for a location somewhere in the next year with a favorable regulatory environment, since the carrier would need to partner with an existing electric utility.

The project, called AirGig, relies on more than 100 patents, according to an AT&T statement. There is no direct electrical connection to the power lines, although network components could receive their needed power through inductive physical principals just by their proximity to the lines, AT&T Chief Technology Officer Andre Fuetsch explained.

AT&T said the testing will decide what frequency AirGig will use for commercial deployment, which could occur sometime around 2020, after the carrier rolls out 5G wireless. The frequency AT&T uses will affect the range of the signal and the speed, as well as whether it is over a licensed or unlicensed band.

By using power lines, AirGig avoids the expense of digging trenches to lay fiber optic cable. A utility company would be able to use the technology to help spot problems on its power lines from something like a downed tree.

“It’s a transformative technology that delivers low-cost and multigigabit speeds using power lines,” said John Donovan, chief strategy officer for AT&T. “There’s no need for enhancements for new towers, and it’s over existing infrastructure.”

Aside from saying it is low-cost, AT&T didn’t offer details. A location for the field testing will be offered soon, officials said.

AirGig has already been tested in outdoor locations on campus settings. “We’ve had it up and running 4k video and cameras on campuses for quite some time,” Donovan said.

He said the trial could be in an area where existing broadband is expensive, even in the U.S.

Apple Announces Goes All In On Renewable Energy

September 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

apple-renewable-energy-150x150Apple announced that it has committed to powering all of its data centers and corporate offices off of renewable energy, joining a group of other corporations committed to the same clean energy goal.

Apple said it has joined RE100, a global initiative by influential businesses committed to using 100% renewable electricity. To date, RE100 has amassed membership from 77 corporations.

Other RE100 members include Hewlett Packard Enterprise, VMware, Rackspace and Wells Fargo.

Apple’s announcement is mostly symbolic at this point. The company is already powering its operations in the U.S., China and 21 other countries with 100% renewable energy, and, in 2015, powered 93% of its operations around the world with renewable energy.

Apple has invested in renewable energy for several years. Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president for Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, said Monday that the company completed construction on its latest renewable energy project — a 50-megawatt (MW) solar farm in Arizona, Apple worked with local utility Salt River Project on the solar array, which will provide renewable power to Apple’s global command data center in Mesa, Arizona. The solar farm provides power equal to the energy use of more than 12,000 Arizona homes.

Last year, Apple announced it would invest $850 million in a solar power plant through a partnership with First Solar, one of the nation’s largest photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers and a provider of utility-scale PV plants. Through a 25-year purchasing agreement, Apple will get 130MW (megawatts, or million watts) from the new California Flats Solar Project.

The First Solar deal rocketed Apple past Walmart as the largest corporate user of solar power.

 

New Orders For Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 Resume In U.S.

September 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

galaxy-note-7-150x150U.S. mobile carrier Verizon Communications Inc has resumed taking orders for Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, after having stopped sales of the device earlier due to fire-prone batteries.

Samsung has recalled about 1 million Note 7 smartphones in the United States, offering to replace or refund the flagship phones. Their susceptibility to catching fire – with more than 100 cases reported across the globe – has damaged the image of the South Korean company.

Globally, the world’s top smartphone maker has recalled at least 2.5 million handsets, in a major setback for the company that is looking to claw back market share from rivals, including Apple Inc  that recently released its latest iPhones.

Samsung halted new sales ahead of the recall as it prepared replacement Note 7 devices with safe batteries.

The new Note 7 phones have been approved by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for all purchases and exchanges, Verizon said on its website, adding it has the Samsung device available for sale starting Wednesday.

The largest U.S. wireless carrier warned that initial quantities could be limited.

Samsung said in a statement on Tuesday that it had shipped more than 500,000 new Note 7s to U.S. carriers and retailers and that affected users will be able to exchange their recalled phones starting by Wednesday at the latest. The statement did not specify when new sales would start.

Rival carrier Sprint Corp’s website also showed the Note 7 available for order, providing a list of stores where customers can pick up a new handset by appointment.

Samsung did not immediately comment on the U.S. sales plans.

The firm previously said it will resume new sales in South Korea starting Sept. 28 and that sales in Australia and Singapore would resume sometime in October.

 

iPhone 7 Plus Outselling Smaller Version

September 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

iphone-7-plus-150x150Early data from U.S. sales of Apple’s latest iPhones suggested that the larger 7 Plus was outselling the smaller 7, according to market research data.

Of the iPhone 7 online pre-orders during the initial 48 hours of availability, 55% were for the 5.5-in. iPhone 7 Plus; the remaining 45% were for the 4.7-in. iPhone 7. That was the first-ever flip to the Plus size in the three annual cycles since Apple offered a big-screen iPhone in 2014.

According to Palo Alto, Calif.-based Slice Intelligence, U.S. buyers of the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus two years ago leaned toward the former in a split of 65% to 35%. The gap narrowed last year with the 6S and 6S Plus, when the smaller iPhone 6S accounted for 59% of the total, and the 6S Plus with 41%.

Slice based its data on a sampling of approximately 4 million U.S. consumers. Those people have opted in to Slice’s services or apps — including the same-named shopper’s assistant app for iOS and Android — or those of partners which license the firm’s technology, and so give Slice access to their email inboxes. Slice sniffs through the inboxes, then spots and copies emailed receipts for online orders.

Apple does not disclose the sales splits between iPhone models — or the various versions of its other hardware for that matter — but instead tallies all iPhones into a single number for each quarter.

Slice’s data hinted at a larger gross revenue number for Apple in the U.S. this launch cycle: The iPhone 7 Plus sells for $120 more than the iPhone 7.

Not surprisingly, Slice’s email receipts also showed that the iPhone’s new Black and Jet Black colors were the two most popular for pre-order customers, replacing the now-extinct Space Gray, which had been the top choice for the last two years. Nearly half of all iPhone 7 and 7 Plus orders (46% to be exact) were for the Black, said Slice, with another 23% were for the Jet Black.

Jet Black, a new highly polished finish, has been in short supply, high demand, or both: Apple ran out of that color almost as soon as pre-orders opened on Sept. 9. Currently, a Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus will ship to U.S. buyers sometime in November, according to Apple’s e-mart, while a Jet Black iPhone 7 will ship three to five weeks after ordering.

 

Is The iPhone 7 Selling Well In Europe?

September 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-i7Apple has been accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus since the September 9 and today, five days later you can get an iPhone 7 128GB or 256GB shipped in six to eight days. 

Since’ve we followed iPhone 6S launch and availability closely, after some 24 hours the iPhone 6S was sold out and it took two to three weeks of waiting to get either a iPhone 6S or 6S Plus.

Apple seems to be selling the 32GB well but there are plenty of 128GB and 256GB available –  expect the diamond black one that is only available in 128GB and 256GB. Both of them will ship in three to five weeks as with this new color, everyone will know you have the new iPhone. It is still impressive that Apple can take away some features and come up with a new color and call it a feature. It seems that too many Apple customers are watching way too much keeping up with the Kardashians.

The iPhone 7 Plus seems to be doing a bit better as for most colors you need to wait two to three weeks and the jet black version will only be available in November.

Most Fudzilla readers do realize that  customers can help companies to find the way to go. Apple’s iPhone that sells for $649 + tax in the US suddenly started selling for €759 in the EU with VAT. The US price doesn’t include the tax since it varies from 1.75 percent in some states such as Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon while in some places in rich Cupertino or Santa Clara, California you end up paying 8.75%.  

In the worst case, if you get your 32GB iPhone 7 black in Cupertino you will end up paying $705.78 or €628.90. The difference between the €759 that European Union countries pay and €628.90  is a whopping €130.1 difference. This should be called a EU stupidity tax.  

The UK gets slightly a better deal as the actual difference today is £68 but bear in mind that the pound has dropped significantly since the Brexit vote.

The good thing is that the European Union, despite being slow, bureaucratic and inefficient in many ways ended up fining Microsoft and Intel for monopolistic behavior. It will probably collect the tiny 13.5 billion that Apple robbed from 500 million people in the European Union.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung To Restrict Battery Charging In Galaxy Note 7 Smartphone

September 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

galaxy-note-7-150x150Samsung Electronics Co Ltd , which has urged owners of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone to return them due to fire-prone batteries, said it will push out a software update in South Korea that limits the devices’ charge to 60 percent.

The move comes as Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone maker, also ran local advertisements apologizing for a recall that is unprecedented for a company that prides itself on its manufacturing prowess.

It has not decided whether to implement similar software upgrades limiting battery charging in markets other than South Korea, a company spokeswoman said.

The software update, which will be automatic, will begin at 2 a.m. local time on Sept. 20, Samsung said in a statement.

The firm has sold 2.5 million Note 7 phones in 10 markets including South Korea and the United States that are subject to the recall.

Samsung plans to begin offering replacement phones with safe batteries on Sept. 19 in South Korea.

A series of warnings from regulators and airlines around the world has raised fears for the future of the flagship device, pushing Samsung shares lower.

Samsung Urges Consumers To Turn In Their Galaxy Note 7 Phones

September 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

galaxy-note-7-150x150Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is urging owners of its Galaxy Note 7 phones to turn in their handsets as soon as possible as part of a recall aimed at limiting the damage caused by the fire-prone devices.

The world’s top smartphone maker said last week it would exchange all Note 7 phones in 10 markets including South Korea and the United States, a costly setback for a company that was counting on the model to bolster sales momentum as rivals such as Apple Inc  launch new devices.

Reports that the phones’ batteries have combusted while charging or in normal use prompted the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to stop using the Note 7 device.

Aviation authorities and airlines across the world have also issued bans or guidelines prohibiting passengers from turning on or charging the phone inside airplanes in response.

“We are asking users to power down their Galaxy Note 7s and exchange them as soon as possible,” Koh Dong-jin, head of Samsung’s smartphone business, said in a statement.

“We are expediting replacement devices so that they can be provided through the exchange program as conveniently as possible and in compliance with related regulations,” the statement added.

For Samsung, which prides itself on manufacturing prowess, the scale of the recall is unprecedented and deals a huge blow to its reputation.

Some 2.5 million of the premium devices have been sold worldwide that need to be recalled, the firm has said, and some analysts say the recall could cost Samsung nearly $5 billion in lost revenue this year.

The Korean company is offering to exchange all affected Galaxy Note 7 phones with a replacement device using a safe battery. Samsung has said replacement Note 7s will be available in some markets including South Korea and the United States from Sept. 19.

 

Intel Gives McAfee The Boot

September 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Intel has sold the Intel Security business for $3.5bn less than it paid for it six years ago.

Intel Security, previously and better known as McAfee, has been sold to private equity firm TPG for $4.2bn, despite Intel paying $7.7bn for it in 2010. 

The chip firm will receive $3.1bn in cash as part of the transaction and retain a 49 per cent minority stake. TPG will take control with a 51 per cent stake, and will invest $1.1bn in the company.

Intel Security is based on the McAfee business and was renamed two years ago. The company will revert to the better known McAfee brand, despite John McAfee reportedly suing Intel over the use of his name.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017, and Chris Young, general manager of Intel Security Group, will become CEO of McAfee.

Young described TPG in an open letter to stakeholders as a “seasoned technology investor” that was “attracted to our current momentum and long-term potential”.

He claimed that McAfee currently protects “more than a quarter of a billion endpoints” and more than 200 million consumers, and is present in two thirds of the world’s 2,000 largest companies.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich claimed that, despite the sale, security “remains important in everything we do at Intel”.

“We will continue to integrate industry-leading security and privacy capabilities in our products from the cloud to billions of smart, connected computing devices,” he added.

Bryan Taylor, a partner at TPG, said that the company had “long identified the cyber security sector, which has experienced strong growth due to the increasing volume and severity of cyber attacks, as one of the most important areas in technology”.

Intel’s acquisition of McAfee Security in 2010 was intended to enable the company to beef up security around PCs and sell McAfee antivirus and other security software around its core business.

However, the combination never worked as the money to be made in the security business became increasingly focused on the data center and cloud computing.

Courtesy-TheInq

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Banned By Australian Airlines

September 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

galaxy-note-7-150x150Three Australian airlines have banned passengers from using or charging Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Note 7 smartphones during flights over concerns associated with the batteries catching fire.

Qantas, its budget unit Jetstar and Virgin Australia said they had not been directed to ban the use of the phone by aviation authorities, but did so as a precaution following Samsung’s recall of the phones in 10 markets.

Although customers will still be able to bring the phones on flights, the ban extends to the phones being plugged in to flight entertainment systems where USB ports are available.

The recall follows reports of the 988,900 won ($885) phone igniting while charging – an embarrassing blow to Samsung, which prides itself on its manufacturing prowess and had been banking on the devices to add momentum to a recovery in its mobile business.

Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone vendor, has sold 2.5 million of the premium devices so far.

“Following Samsung Australia’s recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 personal electronic device we are requesting that passengers who own them do not switch on or charge them in flight,” a Qantas spokesman said in an emailed statement.

Samsung Australia said in a statement that it had liaised with Qantas and Virgin Australia following the recall.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is considering its response to the Samsung recall and “working on guidance related to this issue,” according to a FAA statement quoted by technology website Gizmodo.

Airlines have previously banned hoverboards from planes due to battery-fire risks.

In February the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations’ agency, banned lithium-ion batteries from checked luggage following concerns from pilots and plane makers that they are a fire risk.

 

Samsung Goes Bigger With New Gear S3 Smartwatch

September 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Samsung-Gear-3-150x150Samsung Electronics introduced two new smartwatches which boast a range of digital features while also promising up to four days of battery life, seeking to outshine the Apple Watch.

The world’s biggest maker of consumer electronic products introduced its new line of Gear S3 watches ahead of this week’s opening in Berlin of the IFA, Europe’s biggest annual trade fair for consumer electronics and domestic appliances.

The new Gear S3 Frontier model has a rugged outdoor look, while the Gear S3 Classic has a more refined appearance, but both watches feature large faces that are likely to appeal mainly to male consumers.

The Frontier model has its own cellular radio chip to connect to high speed 4G mobile networks so it does not need to be “tethered” to the wearer’s smartphone in order to make calls or send and receive data, unlike Apple watches, which require an iPhone to remain nearby for their connections.

Apple, the current market leader in smartwatches, is expected to introduce its new Apple Watch 2 line-up a week from now, on September 7, along with new phones and computers.

Gadget news sites have reported that Apple is considering introducing smartwatches with their own cellular radio in 2017, but won’t offer such a feature in its upcoming models fearing it would further drain their batteries, which typically last around 24 hours in current models before needing to be recharged.

The latest Samsung smartwatches offer always-on color displays, dust and water resistance features, a built-in speaker and GPS location-finding technology. They also enable users to make mobile payments in countries where Samsung Pay is available.

Pricing was not disclosed for the new Gear S3 watches, which are due to go on sale before the end of the year.

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Reported To Catch Fire

September 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

Galaxy-Note-7-150x150The recovery in Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s mobile business took a hit as reports of exploding batteries forced the firm to delay shipments of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, and knocked $7 billion off its market value.

Investors drove the stock to two-week lows after the global smartphone leader told Reuters late on Wednesday the shipments had been delayed for quality control testing, and that shipments to South Korea’s top three mobile carriers had been halted.

Faults with the new premium flagship device could deal a major blow to the South Korean giant, which was counting on the Galaxy Note 7 to maintain its strong mobile earnings momentum against Apple Inc’s new iPhones expected to be unveiled next week.

“This is some major buzz-kill for Samsung, especially given all of the hard-earned excitement that products like the Note 7 have been garnering lately,” IDC analyst Bryan Ma said.

“The pending Apple launch puts all the more pressure for them to contain this quickly. The timing of this couldn’t have been worse.”

Samsung did not comment on what problem it was trying to address or whether other markets were affected besides South Korea.

Sister company Samsung SDI Co Ltd  said that while it was a supplier of Galaxy Note 7 batteries, it had received no information to suggest the batteries were faulty.

Several people posted images and videos of charred Galaxy Note 7s online and said their phones had caught on fire.

“Be careful out there, everyone rocking the new Note 7, might catch fire y’all,” one user said in a YouTube clip showing a burnt Note phone. It was not immediately possible to confirm the veracity of the clip.

Several South Korean media reports, without citing direct sources, said Samsung will soon announce a plan to recall affected Note 7 phones and replace their batteries as opposed to giving the users a new device. A Samsung spokesman declined to comment on the reports.

Quality Concerns Delays Shipments Of Samsung Galaxy Note 7

September 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

Galaxy-Note-7-150x150Mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has announced shipments of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone are being delayed as the firm conducts additional quality control testing for the premium device.

“Shipments of the Galaxy Note 7 are being delayed due to additional tests being conducted for product quality,” Samsung said in a statement to Reuters. The firm did not elaborate on what it is testing and to what markets shipments are being delayed.

Local media reports have said some users of the Galaxy Note 7, which launched in South Korea and other markets earlier this month, have claimed that the battery for their phones exploded.

Quality control problems, if confirmed, could deal a major blow to the world’s top smartphone maker as the firm is counting on the sales of the new device to maintain sales momentum for the mobile business in the second half of this year.

Samsung has previously said demand for the new Galaxy Note phone is far exceeding demand, creating a supply shortage and forcing it to push back the launch of the phone in some markets. The firm has said it is utilizing all possible means to boost production.

Production problems for the curved displays for the Galaxy S6 edge phone resulted in disappointing sales last year, and some investors fear a repeat if Samsung does not move quickly to meet Note 7 demand.

The Galaxy Note 7 retails in South Korea for 988,900 won ($887.63) without subsidies.

Samsung’s other premium smartphone models that launched in March, the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, have been huge hits with customers and helped boost its earnings in the first half of 2016.

Privacy Advocates Complain To FTC Over WhatsApp Privacy Policy Changes

August 31, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

WhatsApp-logo-150x150Privacy groups in the U.S. have filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission that changes last week in WhatsApp’s terms and privacy policy reneges on its previous promise that user data collected would not be used or disclosed for marketing purposes.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy have described the changes as an unfair and deceptive trade practice, subject to an investigation and injunction by the FTC, in their complaint Monday.

WhatsApp said last week it will be sharing some account information of users with Facebook and its companies,including the mobile phone numbers they verified when they registered with WhatsApp. The sharing of information will enable users to see better friend suggestions and more relevant ads on Facebook, it added.

Messages, photos, and account information shared on the messaging app would not be shared on Facebook or any of the Facebook family of apps for others to see, WhatsApp said.

For Facebook, which paid $22 billion for WhatsApp, the changes are an attempt by the social networking company to earn revenue from the platform.

The company that Facebook acquired some two years ago is likely to claim that it is not in violation of any promise made previously as it is giving users the choice to opt out of the new program.

Users are being prompted to tap to “Agree” to the updated terms of service and privacy policies. They can also opt out within 30 days on the account settings by unchecking the relevant box or toggling the control regarding sharing of account information.

If users opt out, “the Facebook family of companies will still receive and use this information for other purposes such as improving infrastructure and delivery systems, understanding how our services or theirs are used, securing systems, and fighting spam, abuse, or infringement activities,” the company said.

 

AT&T Data Throttling Lawsuit Dismissed

August 31, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

A federal appeals court in California has tossed outATT-logo-5-150x150 a U.S. government lawsuit that accused AT&T Inc of deception for reducing internet speeds for customers with unlimited mobile data plans once their use exceeded certain levels.

The company, however, could still face a fine from the Federal Communications Commission regarding the slowdowns, also called “data throttling.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said it ordered a lower court to dismiss the data-throttling lawsuit, which was filed in 2014 by the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC sued AT&T on the grounds that the No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier failed to inform consumers it would slow the speeds of heavy data users on unlimited plans. In some cases, data speeds were slowed by nearly 90 percent, the lawsuit said.

The FTC said the practice was deceptive and, as a result, barred under the Federal Trade Commission Act. AT&T argued that there was an exception for common carriers, and the appeals court agreed.

Asked about the appeals court ruling, a spokesman for AT&T said: “We’re pleased with the decision.”

An FTC spokesman said the agency has not yet decided whether to appeal. “We are disappointed with the ruling and are considering our options for moving forward,” FTC spokesman Jay Mayfield wrote in an emailed comment.

The company, however, could face action from the FCC. In June 2015, the agency proposed a fine of $100 million for AT&T’s alleged failure to inform customers with unlimited data plans about the speed reductions. AT&T has contested that proposed fine.

 

Android Malware Using Twitter To Communicate With Infected Phones

August 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

Twitter-on-smartphones-150x150Twitter users aren’t the only ones getting updates from the micro-blogging social media site. One maker of Android malware is also using Twitter to communicate with infected smartphones, according to security firm ESET.

The company uncovered the feature in a malicious app called Android/Twitoor. It runs as a backdoor virus that can secretly install other malware on a phone.

Typically, the makers of Android malware control their infected smartphones from servers. Commands sent from those servers can create a botnet of compromised phones and tell the malware on all the phones what to do.

The makers of Android/Twitoor decided to use Twitter instead of servers to communicate with the infected phones. The malware routinely checks certain Twitter accounts and reads the encrypted posts to get its operating commands.

Lukas Stefanko, an ESET researcher, said in a blog post that this was an innovative approach.  It removes the need to maintain a command and control server, and the communications with the Twitter accounts can be hard to discover.

“It’s extremely easy for the crooks to re-direct communications to another freshly created account,” he said.

ESET said this was first Twitter-controlled Android botnet it had ever found. Windows-based botnets using Twitter have been around since at least 2009.

ESET said Android/Twitoor hasn’t been detected in any app stores, so it probably spreads through malicious links sent to the victim. The malware pretends to be a porn player or multimedia messaging app, and it’s only been active for about a month.

So far, Android/Twitoor has been found downloading versions of mobile banking malware to users’ phones.

“In the future, we can expect that the bad guys will try to make use of Facebook statuses or deploy LinkedIn and other social networks,” Stefanko added.

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