Microsoft detailed the improvements at an event it held in San Francisco for Yammer customers that kicks off its Working Social Tour, scheduled to land in up to 200 cities worldwide, including New York City, Amsterdam, Sao Paulo and Tokyo.
“It’s part of our push to connect with Yammer customers,” said Jared Spataro, general manager, Microsoft Office, in an interview. Attendees are expected to be both Yammer customers as well as those who are using Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud email and collaboration suite, which includes online versions of Exchange, Lync, SharePoint and Office.
Microsoft bought Yammer in mid-2012 for $1.2 billion in order to extend the enterprise social networking (ESN) capabilities of its SharePoint collaboration server and of other products in the Office family and beyond. Microsoft is in the process of integrating Yammer’s cloud suite with those products now.
The mobile improvements include a revamped iPad application and tweaks to the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 applications. The overhaul of the iPad app is supposed to simplify the user experience, while the Windows apps got improvements to live tiles and a better inbox.
Microsoft also deepened the interoperability between Yammer and email systems, making it possible for people to participate in Yammer group discussions through email messaging and without necessarily having a Yammer account.
Establishing bridges between Yammer and email is important because many customers are still trying to figure out the best way to use the ESN suite with email, according to Spataro.
“They’re looking for a mental model for how to use email and Yammer and how to think about those two worlds coming together because not everyone jumps on Yammer or enterprise social networking at the same time,” he said.
Unlike other vendors, Microsoft doesn’t see ESN suites as a replacement for email communications. “We believe they’re very complementary tools, that they can and should coexist, and that when used together they provide a very good, rounded experience,” Spataro said.
Microsoft has also started to add features to Yammer so that it can be used as a more structured tool for getting things done and managing tasks, not just as a social conversation meeting place, he said.
In addition, it’s now also possible to launch a Yammer conversation from an Office 365 document stored in SharePoint Online by hitting a “Post to Yammer” button. That way people can have discussions about the document on Yammer.
The outlook for PC’s has been lowered by 10% by IDC for all of 2013, highlighting the tablet dominance in the fourth quarter, IDC said in a statement.
For all of 2013, PCs will still out-sell tablets, but IDC said tablets will surpass PC shipments for a full year by the end of 2015.
In the past few years, tablets have cannibalized PC sales. But IDC analyst Bob O’Donnell said smartphones 5-inches and bigger (sometimes called phablets) will start to eat into the smaller-sized tablet market — those in the 7-in. to 8-in. range — over the next 12 to 18 months.
In August, IDC lowered its 2013 tablet shipment forecast by 1% to 227.4 million partly because of the impact of phablets and wearable computing devices.
IDC also forecast that the value of all kinds of smart connected devices, which includes PCs, tablets and smartphones, will grow by 10.6% in 2013,. That growth rate will slow to just 3.1% in 2017 due to the increase in low-cost smartphones and the white-box tablet market.
Overall for 2013, the smart connected device market is expected to be valued at $622 billion, with $423 billion of that total coming from sub-$350 smartphones and sub-$350 tablets.
“Lower priced devices will be a game-changer,” said Megha Saini, an IDC analyst.
For 2013, IDC predicted shipments of 134.4 million desktop PCs, 180.9 million laptops, 227.3 million tablets and 1.01 billion smartphones.
Kingston Technology has launched an enterprise focused solid state disk (SSD) drive called the SSDnow E50, for big data and visualization.
The 2.5in drive will be available in 100GB and 240GB capacities supporting sequential read and write speeds of up to 550Mbps and 530MBps, respectively, according to Kingston. A 480GB model will support slightly lower read and write speeds of 530Mbps and 500MBps.
“[The] SSDnow E50 allows companies to take advantage of enterprise-level SSD performance for tasks such as data caching, frequently accessed data within applications, online transactional processing and virtualisation performance,” Kingston explained. “SSDnow E50 helps alleviate I/O latencies and server bottlenecks by providing greater IOPS and higher bandwidth.”
Kingston said the SSDnow E50 is aimed at businesses that want SSD performance similar to that of the firm’s higher specification SSDnow E100 drive, but do not have same the high endurance needs.
The SSDnow E50 drives support AES 128-bit automatic encryption, have one million hours’ life expectancy and weigh 92.3g, according to the firm.
The SSDnow E50 also features “data integrity protection” under the firm’s Durawrite branding, which it claims is able to extend the life of the SSD by reducing the number of flash writes via an “intelligent compression engine”. It claims this technique does not affect data integrity.
A Raise feature is also said to reduce the number of uncorrectable errors in the drive, “over and above standard error code correction”.
Kingston hasn’t got back to us to confirm when the drives will hit the market or how much they will cost.
Qualcomm reported bumper fiscal third quarter financial results with profits rising by 31 percent to $1.58bn.
Qualcomm is riding high on the smartphone and tablet boom with its Snapdragon chips powering a number of high-profile devices including some Samsung Galaxy S4 handsets and the recently announced second generation Nexus 7 tablet. The firm’s device wins have translated to impressive fiscal growth, with revenues up by 35 percent to $6.24bn and profits increasing by 31 percent to $1.58bn.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip is still the prescribed standard processor for Microsoft’s Windows Phone devices and is powering many showcase Android smartphones including the HTC One. The firm has benefited from Texas Instruments desire to get out of the consumer system on chip (SoC) market and Nvidia’s Tegra 4 taking a long time to appear in the market.
Qualcomm chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs said, “We delivered another strong quarter as our Qualcomm Snapdragon solutions were prominent in a broad set of flagship smartphones, and 3G/4G device average selling prices were stronger than expected. We also focused on return of capital to stockholders and increased our stock repurchases and dividends paid during the quarter.
“This quarter, we continued our technology leadership, with our Snapdragon 800 processor powering the world’s first LTE-Advanced smartphone.”
Qualcomm is forecasting fourth quarter revenue of $5.9bn to $6.6bn, which will represent a 21 percent to 35 percent increase from the same period last year. Given that Google picked Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip to power its high volume Nexus 7 tablet, it is highly likely that one of the highest volume, high-end tablets will help pad Qualcomm’s bottom line handsomely during the lucrative back to school and holiday buying seasons.
What Qualcomm’s revenue forecast shows is how much potential revenue Intel is losing out on by not having a competitive low power chip.
Qualcomm says it will extend its lead over Intel and distance itself from Intel by cracking the tablet market. Qualcomm already dominates the smartphone market and its latest generation Snapdragon chips have more than 200 design wins.
However, on the tablet front it is facing increasingly strong competition from Intel, Nvidia and other players. This might be about to change.
“You’ll see a whole bunch of tablets based on Snapdragon 800 in the market this year,” Qualcomm Senior VP Raj Talluri told Bloomberg. “There’s a lot of talk about Intel and tablets. Clearly we see them still being far behind in mobile.”
In recent months Intel has stepped up its game in mobile and new Intel CEO Brian Krzanich seems to be taking the market seriously. However, Intel is still short on actual products, although some of its new mobile designs look promising.
Qualcomm has completed a $120m stock purchase in Japanese display maker Sharp.
Sharp has been looking for outside investment as it tries to balance the books after years of overinvestment in LCD television manufacturing. A number of chip vendors including Intel have looked into investing in the firm but Qualcomm has put pen to paper with a $120m deal that makes it one of the company’s largest shareholders.
Like rival television maker Panasonic, Sharp has been hit hard as the demand for television sets has dried up. The firm invested heavily in LCD manufacturing technology and its executives have said that they were unsure of the firm’s future.
Sharp’s debt is already rated at junk status and the firm has laid off thousands of workers. Perhaps the firm’s best hope is its IZGO display technology, which is being promoted by several mobile device makers as a low-power, high performance display technology.
Qualcomm’s $120m investment is likely a ploy to get closer to Sharp’s IZGO technology and incorporate it into reference designs using its Snapdragon chips.
For Sharp, its deal with Qualcomm might in turn push other firms to consider investing as Sharp seems to have the right stuff to make a key player in the smartphone and tablet market interested in putting significant cash down, if nothing else as a cash investment but more likely as a way to improve the working relationship between the two firms.
It identified the SoC on board, along with the architecture and clock speed for each core. It also figures out the exact device brand, amount of RAM, storage, battery level, status and temperature. It can tap into the device’s sensor array, which is more of a gimmick than anything useful.
It’s worth noting that it is still in beta, so there might be some kinks to work out. If you’re eager to give it a go, you can find it here. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cpuid.cpu_z.
Barnes & Noble Inc said it would give away a free Nook Simple Touch e-reader to any customer who purchases its high-definition Nook HD+ tablet, a sign it may still be suffering with excess inventory of the unpopular e-reader.
The top U.S. bookstore chain last month reported poor holiday quarter results for its Nook business. Overall revenue fell 26 percent as it sold fewer devices, losing ground to products like Apple Inc’s iPad and Amazon.com Inc’s Kindle, and the Nook business’ loss doubled.
The offer is available from March 24 to March 30.
The Simple Touch e-reader, while well reviewed, failed to catch on with customers since its launch in 2011, as digital book buyers have migrated toward tablets, which now offer better reading functions. Returns of unsold Simple Touch devices have repeatedly pinched Barnes & Noble’s results.
Just days after a scandal where a South American hospital was staffed by phantom doctors who used silicon fingers of their colleagues to convince administrators’ finger print readers that they were working, Apple has decided that they are the perfect form of security.
Word on the street is that Apple is said to be planning to introduce an iPhone that can be unlocked by the owner’s fingerprint. Speculation about Apple’s plans for fingerprint recognition began last summer when the iPhone maker bought bio-metric security firm AuthenTec for $335 million.
It is believed that the iPhone 5S will have a fingerprint chip under the Home button, to “improve security and usability.” Meanwhile in an engineering journal, two Google security experts outlined plans for an ID ring or smartphone chip that could replace online passwords, which is a lot sexier than fingerprint scanning.
In 2012, the EPO received a record number of patent applications, with growth fueled mainly by Asia. Patents for digital communication saw the biggest jump from the previous year, up by 20.4% to 9,592 applications. Only medical technology and electrical machinery received more applications than digital communication.
Computer technology patents were only up by 3% but still accounted for 8,288 applications. Meanwhile the audio-visual tech sector dropped about 4% from its 2011 figure.
In computers and IT, U.S. and Asian firms held sway. Chinese and Korean firms were the driving force behind digital communication applications — accounting for 42% of all patent applications originating from China.
This trend saw smartphone manufacturer ZTE leap from 43rd place to 10th place for patent applications overall — the first Chinese company ever to enter into the top 10. In addition to Samsung and ZTE, mobile phone companies LG and Ericsson were also in the top spots, in fifth and ninth place respectively.
The EPO was founded to strengthen cooperation between the European states in the field of patents. Through the EPO’s centralized patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain patent protection in the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation.
Microsoft has inadvertently revealed that it will launch its Surface Pro tablet within weeks.
This confirmation comes via Twitter, with Panos Panay, general manager of Microsoft’s Surface products revealing the news.
He said, “On my way to the factory to check out #Surface Pro coming off the line…arriving in the coming weeks.”
Of course, it’s unclear whether this refers to both a US and UK release, but Microsoft had previously promised that it would launch the Surface Pro approximately 90 days after the release of the original Surface RT tablet, which it launched on 26 October.
We’ve been in touch with Microsoft for further information on the tablet’s UUS elease, but it has not yet responded to our request for comment. Pricing for the 64GB and 128GB models will be priced at $899 and $999, respectively, in the US.
So, what exactly will you get for your money? The Microsoft Surface Pro features a 10.6in 1920×1080 resolution display, an Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM – higher specifications than the Surface RT tablet. It also features Microsoft’s Windows 8 Professional operating system, pen input support, two HD cameras and a detachable keyboard.
The app called ChoreMonster, available for iOS devices and on the web, aims to make household chores, such as setting the table, feeding the pets or unloading the dishwasher, fun.
“There are usually enough chores in a week to redeem some sort of reward,” said Chris Bergman, the founder and CEO of Cincinnati, Ohio-based company ChoreMonster.
The rewards, which are provided by the parents, can range from privileges like sleepovers or a family outing, to video games or a cash allowance.
“It’s exactly what you would expect kids would want and also more esoteric rewards,” Bergman explained.
Parents assign chores through the app and include the completion dates along with the number of points the child will earn. They also set rewards, including the number needed to receive them.
The child can then log in to their account and review the chores and rewards.
“If rewards aren’t enough incentive, the empowerment typically is,” said Bergman.
When the task is done, the child marks it in the app and the parent is notified and prompted to verify that it was completed well. After the parent approves the task, the child is awarded the points.
The app helped 21,000 children complete more than 300,000 chores during the eight months it was tested before being launched at the end of 2012, according to its makers.
ChoreMonster is available worldwide in more than 50 countries and is ideal for children between four and 12 years old, according to Bergman.
Kingston Technology is claiming the world’s highest capacity USB 3.0 flash drive with the one terabyte (1TB) Datatraveler HyperX Predator 3.0.
Announced by the company’s Kingston Digital Europe affiliate, the Datatraveler HyperX Predator 3.0 is shipping now in a 512GB model, with the 1TB capacity set to be available later in the first quarter.
The new drive is also slated as the fastest USB 3.0 flash drive in the Kingston storage line, with read speeds of up to 240MB/s and write speeds of 160MB/s, according to the firm.
“The large capacity and fast USB 3.0 transfer speeds allow users to save time as they can access, edit and transfer applications or files such as HD movies directly from the drive without any performance lag,” said Ann Keefe, Kingston regional director for the UK and Ireland.
Featuring a casing made of zinc alloy for shock resistance and high-end design, the Datatraveler HyperX Predator 3.0 also comes with a custom Kingston key ring and a HyperX valet keychain.
The new drive is fully certified for Superspeed USB 3.0 operation, while keeping backwards compatibility with USB 2.0 to allow it to be used with older computer hardware.
Pricing for the 1TB Datatraveler HyperX Predator 3.0 drive has yet to be disclosed, but the shipping 512GB version carries a recommended price of $600.
Verizon Communications can reap hundreds of millions of dollars of new revenue in coming years from wireless services beyond the mobile phone, in areas ranging from healthcare and automobiles to energy management, the company’s top executive said on Monday.
The No. 1 U.S. mobile carrier joins other companies expected to debate and demonstrate the benefits of connecting devices – like cars – to the Internet at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Operators like Verizon consider this an important new business.
“It’s safe to say this is a market potential of billions in the 2020 timeframe,” Lowell McAdam told Reuters in an interview. This should translate into a market with “hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for a company the size of us,” he said.
“People will be really surprised at what we’re able to do,” he said. “The power of the networks is finally going to be able to provide these sort of things.
“In 2013 and 2014 you’re going to begin to see that.”
Taking wireless access beyond the mobile device is expected to become a major theme this year in Vegas. And McAdam said the so-called “Internet of Things” would be a big theme of his own keynote speech.
For example, wireless connections can allow doctors to remotely diagnose an illness and direct a pharmacist to administer medication, McAdam said. He also talked about public safety improvements, such as the ability of firefighters to navigate a burning building with an infrared camera that has wireless access to its layout.
Verizon’s biggest rival, AT&T Inc, announced on Monday that it is pushing ahead with its plan to develop a wireless home security service.