“All spots in the Explorer Program have been claimed for now, but if you missed it this time, don’t worry,” the Google Glass team wrote on its blog on Wednesday.
“We’ll be trying new ways to expand the Explorer program in the future.”
Google did not respond to a request for more information, but an earlier post about the one-day sale spoke of brisk sales of the $1,500 Internet-enabled headset.
“We’ve sold out of Cotton (white), so things are moving really fast,” the team wrote.
Aside from the white version, Glass was being offered in shades marketed as Charcoal, Tangerine, Shale (grey) and Sky (blue). Buyers had the choice of their favorite shade or frame. Google announced the one-day sale available to all U.S. residents over 18 last week, adding it wasn’t ready to bring the gizmo to other countries. Shoppers who missed it have to sign up for updates at the Glass website.
Only a few thousand early adopters and developers had Glass before the one-day sale, which coincided with a major software update for the heads-up display that put video calling on hold.
An official launch of Google Glass may happen later this year.
MediaTek has shown off one of its most interesting SoC designs to date at the China Electronic Information Expo. The MT6595 was announced a while ago, but this is apparently the first time MediaTek showcased it in action.
It is a big.LITTLE octa-core with integrated LTE support. It has four Cortex A17 cores backed by four Cortex A7 cores and it can hit 2.2GHz. The GPU of choice is the PowerVR G6200. It supports 2K4K video playback and recording, as well as H.265. It can deal with a 20-megapixel camera, too.
The really interesting bit is the modem. It can handle TD-LTE/FDD-LTE/WCDMA/TD-SCDMA/GSM networks, hence the company claims it is the first octa-core with on board LTE. Qualcomm has already announced an LTE-enabled octa-core, but it won’t be ready anytime soon. The MT6595 will – it is expected to show up in actual devices very soon.
Of course, MediaTek is going after a different market. Qualcomm is building the meanest possible chip with four 64-bit Cortex A57 cores and four A53 cores, while MediaTek is keeping the MT6595 somewhat simpler, with smaller 32-bit cores.
Cisco has been accused of helping the Chinese authorities snoop on, discriminate against and violently suppress the religious group Falun Gong.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has taken Cisco to task about this, and has filed a request to submit an amicus brief in a US District Court in California.
It asks the court to let the case “Doe vs Cisco Systems” go ahead, telling it that the firm has aided China’s human rights abuses.
“China’s record of human rights abuses against the Falun Gong is notorious, including detention, torture, forced conversions, and even deaths. These violations have been well-documented by the UN, the US State Department, and many others around the world, including documentation of China’s use of sophisticated surveillance technologies to facilitate this repression,” it said.
“The central claim in the case is that Cisco purposefully customized its general purpose router technology to allow the Chinese government to identify, track, and detain Falun Gong members.”
The EFF alleges that Cisco was asked to customize its kit so that the Chinese authorities could pick up Falun Gong ‘signatures’ and enable the logging and monitoring of traffic patterns.
Its lawsuit alleges that Cisco knew about this customization, knew that it would be used to repress the Falun Gong, and still marketed and supported the technologies “towards that purpose”.
“In fact, the case arises in part from the publication several years ago of a presentation in which Cisco confirms that the Golden Shield is helpful to the Chinese government to ‘Combat Falun Gong Evil Religion and Other Hostilities’,” adds the EFF.
“It also alleges that these customization’s were actually used to identify and detain the plaintiffs.”
Cisco has declined our request to comment on the views of the EFF and its lawsuit.
The Internet retailer would jump into a crowded market dominated by Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.
The company has recently been demonstrating versions of the handset to developers in San Francisco and Seattle. It intends to announce the device in June and ship to stores around the end of September, the newspaper cited the unidentified sources as saying.
Amazon has made great strides into the hardware arena as it seeks to boost sales of digital content and puts its online store in front of more users. Amazon recently launched its $99 Fire TV video-streaming box and its Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets already command respectable U.S. market share after just a few years on the market.
Rumors of an Amazon-designed smartphone have circulated for years, though executives have previously played down ambitions to leap into a heavily competitive and increasingly saturated market.
Apple and Samsung, which once accounted for the lion’s share of the smartphone market, are struggling to maintain margins as new entrants such as Huawei and Lenovo target the lower-income segment.
To stand out from the crowd, Amazon intends to equip its phones with screens that display three-dimensional images without a need for special glasses, the Journal said.
Amazon officials were not immediately available for comment.
BlackBerry Ltd would think about abandoning its handset business if it remains unprofitable, its chief executive officer said on Wednesday, as the technology company looks to expand its corporate reach with investments, acquisitions and partnerships.
“If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business,” John Chen said in an interview, adding that the time frame for such a decision was short. He would not be more specific, but said it should be possible to make money off shipments of as few as 10 million a year.
At its peak, BlackBerry shipped 52.3 million devices in fiscal 2011, while it recorded revenue on less than 2 million last quarter.
Chen, who took the helm of the struggling company in November, said BlackBerry was also looking to invest in or team up with other companies in regulated industries such as healthcare, and financial and legal services, all of which require highly secure communications.
The chief executive said small acquisitions to strengthen BlackBerry’s network security offerings were also possible.
“We are building an engineering team on the service side that is focused on security. We are building an engineering team on the device side that is focused on security. We will do some partnerships and we will probably, potentially do an M&A on security.”
He said security had become more important to businesses and government since the revelations about U.S. surveillance made by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
In a wide-ranging interview in New York, Chen acknowledged past management mistakes and said he had a long-term strategy to complement the short-term goals of staying afloat and stemming customer defections.
“You have to live short term. Maybe the prior management had the luxury to bet the world would come to it. I don’t have the luxury at all. I’m losing money and burning cash.”
In March, the embattled smartphone maker reported a quarterly net loss of $423 million and a 64 percent drop in its revenues, underscoring the magnitude of the challenge Chen faces in turning around the company.
Chen said BlackBerry remained on track to be cash-flow positive by the end of the current fiscal year, which runs to the end of February 2015, and to return to profit some time in the fiscal year after that.
Chen said his long-term plans for BlackBerry included competing in the burgeoning business of connecting all manner of devices, from kitchen appliances to automotive consoles to smartphones.
Chen said he was not sure how long it would take for the “machine-to-machine” or “M2M” world to become a mainstream business, but he said he was sure that was coming.
“We are not only interested in managing BlackBerry devices. We are interested in managing all devices that you would like to speak to each other,” he said. “To achieve our dream of being a major player in M2M requires more partnerships with others,” including telecom companies eager to participate.
The new Tab A-series tablets, which will ship next month, have screen sizes ranging from 7-10 inches and are designed for Web surfing and home entertainment, Lenovo said. Other than screen sizes and weight, the tablets have mostly identical features.
The cheapest tablet in the lineup is the Tab A7-50, which weighs 320 grams and starts at $129. The TAB A8 weighs 360 grams and is priced starting at $179. The Tab A10 is much heftier at 560 grams, but has a larger battery that offers a Wi-Fi browsing time of eight hours, Lenovo said in a specification sheet.
All the tablets have screens that can display images at a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. The tablets have Android 4.2, code-named Jelly Bean, which will be upgradeable to version 4.4, code-named KitKat.
Common features also include Wi-Fi b/g/n, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and an SD card slot for up to 32GB of expandable storage. The tablets have a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and a 5-megapixel rear camera. Another feature is integrated 3G mobile broadband, though Lenovo did not say whether it was included in the price or is optional.
The tablets will ship in the U.S. Lenovo did not immediately provide information about shipment plans for other countries.
Lenovo offers a range of tablets for Android and Windows 8.1, with models starting at $99. The company is trying to create brands around Android-based Yoga tablets, which are being promoted by actor Ashton Kutcher, and ThinkPad tablets, which run on Windows.
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to review a lawsuit challenging the U.S. National Security Agency’s collection of U.S. phone records filed by a conservative activist, despite a lower court’s ruling that the program may be illegal.
The court, without comment, denied the request by activist and former federal prosecutor Larry Klayman, along with Charles and Mary Strange, to immediately hear their case against U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, NSA Director Keith Alexander, Verizon Communications and Roger Vinson, the judge who signed the order allowing the surveillance.
Klayman had appealed the case directly to the Supreme Court after Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia stayed his decision suspending the NSA program, pending appeal by the government.
The case has generated significant attention, with Leon ruling in December that the NSA’s large-scale telephone records collection program likely violates the U.S. Constitution.
Leon wrote that the plaintiffs’ reasonable expectation of privacy may be violated when the government “indiscriminately collects their telephone metadata along with the metadata of hundreds of millions of other citizens without any particularized suspicion of wrongdoing, retains all of that metadata for five years, and then queries, analyzes, and investigates that data without prior judicial approval of the investigative targets.”
Obama has since talked about ending the phone-records collection program, and several lawmakers have backed legislation that would end the program, but it remains in effect.
The DOJ declined to comment on the Supreme Court’s decision.
Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch, did not immediately respond to a request for comments on the Supreme Court’s decision. The Stranges are parents of Michael Strange, a Navy SEAL who was killed when his helicopter was shot down by Taliban fighters.
SkinneePix, for iPhone and Android devices, can trim from five to 15 pounds (2-6 kg) of virtual fat for a slimmer selfie look.
“Cameras add additional weight to photos and when you’re taking a selfie you’re also dealing with bad lighting, angles, close-ups and a lot of other factors that make people complain that the photo isn’t an accurate representation of themselves,” said Susan Green, co-founder of the Phoenix-based company Pretty Smart Women that created the app.
It was originally designed to help overweight adults show a leaner version of themselves, but Robin J Phillips, the other co-founder, said the app has also motivated people to lose weight.
“It’s a good reminder to get off the couch, turn the TV off, and go for a walk,” she said.
But some critics fear the $1.99 app, which only works on single head shots, could encourage an unhealthy body image.
Lauren Dickson, a social worker in the eating disorders and addiction clinic at the Center of Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, said the app is one of many factors that could contribute towards a young adult developing an eating disorder.
“The media obviously has some effect on people developing eating disorders, but it’s not the only variable. It’s one of many factors,” she said in an interview.
“The majority of young girls wouldn’t develop an eating disorder because of an app like this, but some might be more vulnerable and it could contribute,” Dickson added.
Green said the virtual weight loss in the app is capped at 15 pounds and the app focuses only on the face and not the entire body.
“We definitely understand that people can have body image problems and we’re not trying to contribute to that in any way,” she said.
“I think if someone who is very thin uses it and goes straight for 15 (pounds), then that’s probably not the best thing, but they could also do that in Photoshop,” Green added.
Other apps can also add or remove weight, including one called FatBooth.
Bloomberg reported that IBM supplies server equipment to the Pentagon and that national security concerns have been raised.
The inter-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) is set to investigate whether Chinese technology company Lenovo is a safe buyer for a company that builds products to process so much potentially sensitive data.
Application for the $2.3bn purchase, which was announced on 23 January, has been made to the CFIUS, however investigations might take up to 75 days.
Concerns might be alleviated by the decision to keep the IBM server business as a separate subsidiary for five years, with a possible extension. In the past, this was not the case as IBM’s personal computer division was rebranded by Lenovo soon after its acquisition in 2005.
US officials will also have to consider the future safety of US utilities, weapons systems and other critical infrastructure to ensure that there is no potential risk of malware or hijacking.
This is not the first time that CFIUS has intervened in Chinese acquisitions in the computing sector, with Huawei and ZTE both having been subjected to mutterings about “deep concerns” when they began accelerated trading in the US in 2012.
The IBM deal is just one part of Lenovo’s recent spending spree after it bought Motorola from Google at a cost of $3bn to gain a stronger foothold in western markets.
The HTC One spent its year at the top of the product line receiving rave reviews but was undermined by advertising widely criticized as confusing, sending the company’s market share into freefall.
HTC was once a firm third to Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, selling 10 percent of smartphones globally two years ago, but it ended 2013 with a market share of just 2 percent, showed data from researcher Strategy Analytics.
The company started 2014 by booking a net loss of T$1.88 billion ($62.06 million) for January-March. That compared with a mean loss of T$1.59 billion estimated by 18 analysts polled by Reuters, and profit of T$85 million logged a year earlier.
Revenue fell 22.6 percent to T$33.12 billion, the company said in a statement on Monday.
HTC, however, broke 28 months of on-year revenue declines with a rise of 2.16 percent in March, and said it expected to return to profit in the second quarter thanks in part to the late-March release of its upgraded flagship, the HTC One M8.
Shares of HTC have fallen 38 percent over the past year, compared with a 12 percent rise in the Taiwan Stock Exchange Weighted Index. Ahead of the release, they closed up 3.6 percent versus the benchmark’s 0.1 percent loss.
The former contract manufacturer released a series of mid-range smartphones in recent weeks, predicting cheaper phones in emerging markets will help it return to profit this year.
It has also launched a partnership with search engine giant Google Inc to manufacture smart watches.
But it is the new flagship HTC One M8 that the company hopes will help it reestablish itself as a challenger to market leaders Apple and Samsung.
“The M8 is good, but it’s not as revolutionary as the previous flagship,” said Yuanta Securities analyst Dennis Chan. “Everyone is watching the second quarter to see how it sells.”
Tech website CNET.com awarded the phone four and a half stars out of five, calling it “a stunning sequel” to last year’s HTC One – a phone whose equally strong reviews were not matched by marketing and so did not translate into strong sales.
The new flagship could be in for a similarly rough sales ride as smartphone growth globally is likely to slow this year to 19 percent from 39 percent in 2013, and taper off over the next few years, showed data from researcher IDC.
As smartphones mature and technological upgrades become more incremental, analysts say even more importance will be placed on marketing and brand image – an area Chairwoman Cher Wang admitted HTC “didn’t do well” last year.
To distinguish itself to trend-conscious consumers, HTC must learn from Apple, whose innovative brand image and marketing strategy has won plaudits, said Taipei-based brand consultant Mark Stocker.
“Mimic them, but figure out what your brand stands for,” said Stocker. “If Apple is Mercedes Benz, try to make yourself BMW.”
The personal data gathering abilities of Google,Facebook and other technology giants has sparked growing unease among Americans, with a majority worried that Internet companies are encroaching too much upon their lives, a new poll showed.
Google and Facebook generally topped lists of Americans’ concerns about the ability to track physical locations and monitor spending habits and personal communications, according to a poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos from March 11 to March 26.
The survey highlights a growing ambivalence towards Internet companies whose popular online services, such as social networking, e-commerce and search, have blossomed into some of the world’s largest businesses.
Now, as the boundaries between Web products and real world services begin to blur, many of the top Internet companies are racing to put their stamp on everything from homeappliances to drones and automobiles.
With billions of dollars in cash, high stock prices, and an appetite for more user data, Google, Facebook, Amazon and others are acquiring a diverse set of companies and launching ambitious technology projects.
But their grand ambitions are inciting concern, according to the poll of nearly 5,000 Americans. Of 4,781 respondents, 51 percent replied “yes” when asked if those three companies, plus Apple, Microsoft and Twitter, were pushing too far and expanding into too many areas of people’s lives.
This poll measures accuracy using a credibility interval and is accurate to plus or minus 1.6 percentage points.
“It’s very accurate to say that many people have love-hate relationships with some of their technology providers,” said Nuala O’Connor, the President of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet public policy group which has received funding from companies including Google, Amazon and Microsoft.
“As technology moves forward, as new technologies are in use and in people’s lives, they should question ‘Is this a fair deal between me and the device?’”
Fears about the expanding abilities of tech companies crystallized when Google acknowledged in 2010 that its fleet of StreetView cars, which criss-cross the globe taking panoramic photos for Google’s online mapping service, had inadvertently collected emails and other personal information transmitted over unencrypted home wireless networks.
Yet many Americans remain ignorant of the extent to which Internet companies are trying to extend their reach.
Google is one of the most aggressively ambitious, investing in the connected home through its $3.2 billion acquisition of smart thermostat maker Nest. Google is also investing in self-driving cars, augmented-reality glasses, robots and drones.
Almost a third of Americans say they know nothing about plans by Google and its rivals to get into real-world products such as phones, cars and appliances. Still, roughly two thirds of respondents are already worried about what Internet companies will do with the personal information they collect, or how securely they store the data.
Juniper Networks plans to reduce its global workforce by six percent and focus on its high-growth businesses. Juniper said most of the cuts would impact middle management positions and that it expected to incur cash charges of about $35 million in the first quarter, related to severance and other expenses. The company had 9,483 full-time employees as of December 31.
Juniper also said it would stop development of the application delivery controller technology, which helps remove excess load from servers, resulting in a non-cash intangible asset impairment charge of about $85 million. The company said it plans to consolidate its facilities, flog off of about 300,000 square feet of leased facilities.
Juniper added that it expected to record other non-cash asset write-downs of about $10 million in the first quarter and that it expects to carry out more restructuring in the second quarter.
Hedge fund Elliott recently claimed that Juniper shares were “undervalued” and could be worth $35-$40 if Juniper focused on revamping its core business of making routers and switches for mobile carriers such as Verizon and AT&T. Shares of Juniper are currently worth at $26.35.
Microsoft Corp announced plans to give away its Windows operating system to makers of smartphones and small tablets for consumers as it seeks to make more of an impact on those fast-growing markets and counter the massive success of Google Inc’s free Android platform.
Microsoft’s, plans which were unveiled at its annual developers conference in San Francisco, is an attempt to broaden the small user base of mobile versions of Windows, in the hope that more customers will end up using Microsoft’s money-making, cloud-based services such as Skype and Office.
Up to now, Microsoft has charged phone and tablet makers between $5 and $15 per device to use its Windows system, as it has done successfully at higher prices for many years with Windows on personal computers. Hardware makers factor the cost of that into the sale price of each device.
That model has been obliterated in the past few years by the fast adoption of Google’s Android system for phones and tablets, which hardware makers quickly embraced and now accounts for more than 75 percent of all smartphones sold last year. Apple Inc’s iPhone and iPad account for most of the rest of the mobile computing market.
By contrast, Windows-powered phones held only 3 percent of the global smartphone market last year. Windows tablets have only about 2 percent of the tablet market, according to tech research firm Gartner.
Microsoft’s move to make Windows free for some consumer devices bucks a central tenet of Bill Gates’ original philosophy, that software should be paid for, which led to Microsoft’s massive financial success over the last four decades. But analysts said it is a realistic reaction to the runaway success of free Android.
“Microsoft is facing challenges on the mobile and tablet fronts and need to change their strategy to move the growth needle, this is a good and logical first step,” said Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets.
Windows will be free for companies making phones and tablets with screen sizes under nine inches for the consumer market. A license fee will still apply for business devices.
It comes a week after new Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella unveiled new versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel applications for Apple Inc’s iPad. A year’s free subscription to Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 service will be offered on the new devices running the free Windows, Microsoft said.
Both moves show that Microsoft is now more interested in gaining market share for its cloud-based services such as Office on any platform or device, rather than its traditional approach of putting Windows at the center of everything it does and extending its influence from there.
In the new era of mobile computing, Nadella acknowledged Microsoft’s underdog status.
“We are going to innovate with a challenger mindset,” said Nadella in a question and answer session at the developer conference. “We are not coming at this as some incumbent trying to do the next version of Windows, we are going to come at this by innovating in every dimension.”
More details about the exclusives will be shared during the Intel Developer Forum in Shenzhen, China. But Intel’s software chief Doug Fisher said the U.S. chipmaker wants to work “hand in hand” with vendors to develop unique content within a game or product.
The partnerships could even result in building entire software products exclusive to Intel chips, he added.
The company is trying to distinguish itself, as ARM chips remain the most commonly used processors in smartphones and tablets. Over the last four years, Intel has responded by building more power-efficient mobile processors, and optimizing Google’s Android OS for its chips.
“That’s not sufficient, we want to differentiate,” Fisher said in an interview on Wednesday. One area in which the company said it can excel is graphics, creating more detailed backgrounds in games. Another is in better multi-tasking for Android devices.
Intel is poised to make a breakthrough in the mobile processor market, Fisher said. The company has the goal of shipping 40 million Intel-powered tablet devices in 2014, four times more than the previous year.
To help bring more Intel-powered devices to the market, the U.S. chipmaker is tapping China’s tech hub of Shenzhen, a major center for electronics manufacturing. On Wednesday, Intel announced it would establish a center in Shenzhen devoted to helping vendors create mobile devices with the company’s chips.
Intel will also fund Chinese product development on tablets, smartphones and wearables with $100 million from its venture capital arm.
One area where Intel is noticing some innovation is vendors bringing Android to larger devices, including PCs. But Fisher said it’s still too early to say whether Android PCs have a future, given that Google is also pushing notebooks running its Chrome OS.
“We don’t care as long as it runs on Intel,” he added.
The Canadian company said it will continue to provide service and support to existing customers on T-Mobile’s network or those who will buy products from the carrier’s inventory.
“Regretfully, at this time, our strategies are not complementary and we must act in the best interest of our BlackBerry customers,” BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen said in a statement.
BlackBerry said it is “working closely” with other carrier partners to provide users with alternatives should they decide to switch from T-Mobile.
The relationship between the two companies soured after Blackberry’s CEO criticized T-Mobile for sending out emails to some of its customers in February, pitching free iPhone 5s and touting the promotion as a “great offer for BlackBerry customers.
This sparked an uproar on social media forums after some of the telecommunications company’s loyal BlackBerry customers reacted angrily to the offer, which they perceived as a slight.
The backlash prompted T-Mobile U.S. Chief Executive John Legere to respond publicly, assuring Blackberry and its users of his company’s support.
T-Mobile could not immediately be reached for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.
BlackBerry, a one-time pioneer in the smartphone industry, has been struggling to claw back market share lost to Apple Inc’s iPhone, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s Galaxy devices, and other smartphones powered by Google Inc’s Android operating system.