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Instagram Stories To Get Advertising

January 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook Inc’s Instagram is adding more than 30 advertising partners to one of its fastest-growing features, Instagram Stories, in a bid to boost advertising revenue.

The social media company will become a more important player in maintaining Facebook’s growth in advertising revenue in 2017. During the last two earnings calls, Facebook executives said they may soon reach a limit on the amount of ads they can place before users, one of the factors that had driven ad revenue growth.

Instagram is expected to generate $3.64 billion in worldwide ad revenue this year, nearly double that of 2016, according to eMarketer. That would represent 12.3 percent of Facebook’s global ad business, up from 8.4 percent in 2016. In the United States, eMarketer said it expects Instagram to account for more than 20 percent of Facebook’s ad revenue.

eMarketer also found that 74 percent of U.S. companies plan to use Instagram this year, up from 53 percent in 2016. This level of use would allow Instagram to surpass Twitter.

Media buyers are optimistic about Instagram’s ability to maintain Facebook’s place, second only to Alphabet Inc’s Google, in the digital ad marketplace. “Instagram could end up being as strong a revenue component for Facebook as YouTube has been for Google,” said Noah Mallin, head of social for ad agency MEC Wavemaker.

In Instagram Stories, users and businesses can post a string of photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. It launched in August and now has 150 million daily active users, according to Jim Squires, director of market operations for Instagram.

The new ad product will show full-screen ads intermittently as users swipe through photos and videos on Instagram Stories. The company is testing it with major advertisers including General Motors Co, Nike Inc and Airbnb, which is using it to promote its product Trips on Airbnb.

Time Warner Inc’s Turner Sports will test ads for cable network TNT’s airing of the National Basketball Association’s All-Star Game in New Orleans next month.

Companies normally test new advertising products with a select group of advertisers before a wider roll out.

“It’s definitely gained importance,” said Ian Schafer, founder and chairman of ad agency Deep Focus, who said he plans to spend more money with Instagram.

Are Notebooks Making Gains Against Tablets?

January 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Notebooks, which had been written off by the Tame Apple Press after Steve Jobs showed off his tablets, are now back.

Beancounters working for Deloitte have found that the sales of slates are expected to be down 10 per cent in 2017 compared to last year and there will probably be 165 million units leaving the shops.

This is a third less than the total number of slates shifted in 2014 when 230 million tablets were sold.

PC and laptops however are expected to stay at the same level as last year, and Deloitte has observed that the kids of today don’t want tablets any more. They either want a phablet, or a notebook.

Phablets were the thing that Steve Jobs told the world they did not want and yet it turned out they did. It might have been the reason he was telling us that was because he knew that they would kill off his tablet dream.

Paul Lee, head of TMT research at Deloitte, commented: “There are three consumer devices that are leading tablets by a large margin: TVs, smartphones, and computers. It seems unlikely that the tablet will ever displace these devices.”

IDC’s figures from last summer showed a big slump in tablet shipments, but also found that detachable sales were improving. Most analysts think that hybrid 2-in-1s will represent a fifth of all PCs by the year 2020.

Courtesy-Fud

LG Going Totally Wi-Fi

January 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

LG says that all its products will ship with Wi-Fi connectivity from this year.

LG marketing VP David VanderWaal says that “starting this year” all of LG’s home appliances will feature “advanced Wi-Fi connectivity”.

One of the flagship appliances that will make good on this promise is the Smart Instaview Refrigerator, a webOS-powered Internet-connected fridge that among other things supports integration with Amazon’s Alexa service.

While this might be a good thing in cases of flagship devices but just sticking Wi-Fi in everything is going to create a security nightmare. After all how are LG or anyone planning to update their appliances? Most people who don’t use the Wi-Fi are never going to bother connecting to anything and that is just going to be an open port sitting waiting some hacker’s attention.

What is also a problem is that if your whole house gets a virus you are going to have a hell of a job finding out what the source was and what you are supposed to unplug.

Also, there is the small matter of some appliance makers might be a little naughty about using their smart devices to serve up ads or give audio or video recordings to law enforcement.

LG might be more likely than most to know what it is doing, but the life of a fridge or washing machine is a lot longer than a computer. Our fridge is 15 years old and works fine, what will be the state of computer security in 15 years’ time? Many are going to find that their fridge is running the security equivalent of Windows XP.

Courtesy-Fud

Atlassian To Acquire Project Management Software Firm Trello

January 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Atlassian, the company known for HipChat and the JIRA software development tool, will purchase Trello, a vendor of the eponymous collaborative project management software.

The deal will give Atlassian users new ways to organize, discuss and complete their work, Mike Cannon-Brookes, Atlassian’s co-founder and co-CEO, wrote in a blog post Monday.

“By adding Trello to the Atlassian family, we’re giving teams more choice in the tools they use to support the way that they want to work,” he said. Trello will offer “a fun new way for teams to organize the often messy range of information that feeds into great teamwork.”

Trello, with more than 19 million users, is a “break-out success” in the team-building software market. Among Trello’s customers: Google, PayPal, Kickstarter, and Pixar, according to the company’s website.

 “Trello’s pioneering use of an intuitive visual system has been embraced by all kinds of teams to do everything from managing marketing campaigns to tracking action items from team meetings,” Cannon-Brookes wrote.  “Atlassian’s mission is to unleash the potential in every team. In Trello, we found a group that is as dedicated to helping teams get stuff done as we are.”

The Trello card-based system is intuitive and easy to use, he added. It’s popular with marketing, legal, HR, and sales teams.

The acquisition, expected to close later this quarter, is priced at $425 million, with $360 million in cash and the remainder in stock, an Atlassian spokesman said.

Trello, launched in 2011, was spun out from parent company Fog Creek Software in 2014. The company raised $10.3 million in funding led by Spark Capital and Index Ventures.

Yahoo Renames Itself, To Become Altaba

January 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Yahoo Inc has announced that it would rename itself Altaba Inc and Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer would resign from the board after the closing of its deal with Verizon Communications Inc.

Yahoo has a deal to sell its core internet business, which includes its digital advertising, email and media assets, to Verizon for $4.83 billion.

The terms of that deal could be amended – or the transaction may even be called off – after Yahoo last year disclosed two separate data breaches; one involving some 500 million customer accounts and the second involving over a billion.

 Verizon executives have said that while they see a strong strategic fit with Yahoo, they are still investigating the data breaches.

Five other Yahoo directors would also resign after the deal closes, Yahoo said in a regulatory filing on Monday.

The remaining directors will govern Altaba, a holding company whose primary assets will be a 15 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and 35.5 percent stake in Yahoo Japan.

The new company also named Eric Brandt chairman of the board, effective Jan. 9.

Is Apple PC Division Faltering?

January 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

While the Tame Apple Press is doing its best to claim that Apple will replace Microsoft as the world’s leading OS, it appears to be covering a story which shows that the fruity cargo cult is losing ground in in PCs.

According to web analytics vendor Net Applications,  it has found that Apple’s desktop and notebook operating system — formerly OS X, now macOS — powered just 6.1 percent of all personal computers last month.

This is a significant fall from the seven percent it held this time last year and down from seven percent and the unlikely peak of 9.6 percent in the middle of the year. In fact, last year, the Tame Apple Press was telling us that Apple now had control over the notebook market.

The Mac’s 6.1 percent user share in December was the lowest mark recorded by Net Applications since August 2011 – more than five years ago.

In October, the company reported sales of 4.9 million Macs for the September quarter, a 14 percent year-over-year decline and the fourth straight quarterly downturn. In other words, Apple’s sales slide during the past year has been steeper than for the personal computer industry.

So why did Apple do so well last year and now it appears to be falling spectacularly this year? It looks like Apple clawed ahead after Microsoft made a huge stuff up with Windows 8 and OEMs were putting out cheap junk. Even Linux was doing comparatively well in the same time reaching 2.3 percent, causing some to announce 2017 to be the year of the Linux desktop. While this is a New Ritual along with bringing coal into the house, both OSx and Linux were basically doing well on Vole’s cock-up. The fact that neither could capitalise on Microsoft’s failure shows the sad state of both movements.

As Microsoft started to claw back users with Windows 10, Apple thought it would be a wizard move to put out products which were years out-of-date and aimed at its consumer users rather than the business users.

Courtesy-Fud

Struggling ZTE Slashing 3,000 Jobs

January 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE, which is facing U.S. trade sanctions that may upend its supply chain, is cutting nearly 3,000 jobs, including a fifth of positions in its struggling handset business in China, company sources said.

The sources said the Shenzhen-based company, one of the world’s biggest telecoms gear makers, is axing about 5 percent of its 60,000 global workforce.

Its global handset operations will shed 600 jobs, or 10 percent of the total, with the cuts concentrated in China, where it has been losing market share.

 “Cuts in the handset business in China will be beyond 20 percent,” said a senior executive who has been briefed on the lay-offs, which are scheduled to be completed within the first quarter.

A local manager in one of the company’s overseas branches said a 10 percent quota was given to shed staff in his department by the end of January.

“I was also given names that must go because they had tried to apply for jobs at (rival) Huawei and are therefore branded as ‘unstable factors’,” said the manager, who is not in the handset unit and asked not to be identified.

The company declined to comment.

ZTE is the only Chinese smartphone vendor with a meaningful presence in the United States, where its 10 percent market share makes it the fourth-largest vendor.

The U.S. Commerce Department first announced in March that it would impose a ban on exports by U.S. companies to ZTE for allegedly breaking Washington’s sanctions on sales to Iran.

The ban has not yet come into effect following a series of reprieves, the last of which expires on Feb. 27, but if it does go ahead, the company’s supply chain could be severely handicapped. It relies on U.S. companies including Qualcomm, Microsoft and Intel for about a third of its components.

HMD Global Debuts The New Nokia Smartphone

January 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

HMD Global, the Finnish company that owns the rights to market Nokia’s brand on mobile phones, debuted on Sunday its first smartphone, targeted for Chinese users with a price of 1,699 yuan ($246).

The launch marks the first new smartphone carrying the iconic handset name since 2014 when Nokia Oyj chose to sell its entire handset unit to Microsoft.

The new device, Nokia 6, runs on Google’s Android platform and is manufactured by Foxconn. It will be sold exclusively in China through online retailer JD.com, HMD said.

 “The decision by HMD to launch its first Android smartphone into China is a reflection of the desire to meet the real world needs of consumers in different markets around the world… it is a strategically important market,” HMD said in a statement.

Nokia was once the world’s dominant cellphone maker but missed the shift to smartphones, and then chose Microsoft’s Windows operating system for its “Lumia” range.

After the 2014 deal, Microsoft continued selling cheaper basic phones under Nokia’s name and Lumia smartphones under its own name, but last year, it largely abandoned both businesses.

HMD in December took over the Nokia feature phones business and struck a licensing deal that gave it sole use of the Nokia brand on all phones and tablets for the next decade.

It will pay Nokia royalties for the brand and patents, but Nokia has no direct investment in HMD. Nokia Oyj is currently focused on telecom network equipment business and technology patents.

HMD CEO Arto Nummela, who was once responsible for Nokia’s sales and product development, told Reuters last month that HMD aims to be one of the key competitive players in the smartphone business where it faces tough competition from Apple, Samsung and dozens of other players.

Samsung Puts Confidence In Galaxy S8, Sets 10M Production Target

January 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has set an early production target of 10 million Galaxy S8 smartphones, South Korea’s Electronic Times reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

Samsung is counting on the S8 to rejuvenate sales after it scrapped the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones last year in one of the biggest product safety failures in tech history.

The firm has yet to disclose what caused some Note 7 phones to catch fire on their own.

 The newspaper said the world’s top smartphone maker would start production in March and planned to start selling them in April. Galaxy S7 phones went on sale in March last year.

Faraday Future Shows Off Electric Vehicle At CES

January 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Electric vehicle start-up Faraday Future debuted in Las Vegas a prototype of a vehicle set for production next year as the China-backed company attempts to garner credibility in the crowded sector and overcome its funding challenges.

The “FF 91”, described by its designer Richard Kim as “weird-pretty”, is a luxury electric SUV Faraday executives say will be the most technologically advanced on the market when it goes into production in early 2018. Advance reservations for the car – which insiders say will retail for about $180,000 – are being taken for $5,000.

“You’re about to witness day one of a new era of mobility,” said Nick Sampson, senior vice president of engineering and research and development. “We’re going to show the first of a new species.”

 But cash shortages and a recent spate of executive departures have raised questions about the company’s prospects.

Faraday is funded and controlled by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, the chief executive officer of China’s Leshi Holdings Co Ltd, also known as LeEco, which is showing its own prototype electric car, the LeSee Pro, at CES. He is also an investor in California-based Lucid Motors, a competing electric vehicle start-up attending CES this year.

Faraday debuted at CES last year with a concept car not intended to be produced, raising eyebrows over the company’s legitimacy and Jia’s overall strategy. A cash crunch at LeEco and Faraday’s missed payments to a contractor working on its $1 billion Nevada factory have spurred more questions in recent months over Faraday’s financial situation.

In late December, LeEco said it was in talks to secure 10 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) from an unidentified strategic investor.

Faraday executives would not comment on the company’s financials.

Anti-drone Industry Sees Growth Potential

January 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A hug uptick in consumer drone sales has given rise to a counter-industry of start-ups aiming to stop drones flying where they shouldn’t, by disabling them or knocking them out of the sky.

Dozens of start-up firms are developing techniques – from deploying birds of prey to firing gas through a bazooka – to take on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are being used to smuggle drugs, drop bombs, spy on enemy lines or buzz public spaces.

The arms race is fed in part by the slow pace of government regulation for drones.

 In Australia, for example, different agencies regulate drones and counter-drone technologies. “There are potential privacy issues in operating remotely piloted aircraft, but the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s role is restricted to safety. Privacy is not in our remit,” the CASA told Reuters.

“There’s a bit of a fear factor here,” says Kyle Landry, an analyst at Lux Research. “The high volume of drones, plus regulations that can’t quite keep pace, equals a need for personal counter-drone technology.”

The consumer drone market is expected to be worth $5 billion by 2021, according to market researcher Tractica, with the average drone in the United States costing more than $500 and packing a range of features from high-definition cameras to built-in GPS, predicts NPD Group, a consultancy.

Australian authorities relaxed drone regulations in September, allowing anyone to fly drones weighing up to 2kg without training, insurance, registration or certification.

Elsewhere, millions of consumers can fly high-end devices – and so can drug traffickers, criminal gangs and insurgents.

Drones have been used to smuggle mobile phones, drugs and weapons into prisons, in one case triggering a riot. One U.S. prison governor has converted a bookshelf into an impromptu display of drones his officers have confiscated.

Armed groups in Iraq, Ukraine, Syria and Turkey are increasingly using off-the-shelf drones for reconnaissance or as improvised explosive devices, says Nic Jenzen-Jones, director of Armament Research Services, a consultancy on weapons.

A booby-trapped drone launched by Islamic State militants killed two Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and wounded two French soldiers in October near Mosul.

The use of drones by such groups is likely to spread, says Jenzen-Jones. “There’s an understanding that the threat can migrate beyond existing conflict zones,” he told Reuters.

 

Apple Waning, Cutting iPhone Production

January 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple Inc will put into place a reduction in production of iPhones by about 10 percent in the January-March quarter of 2017, the Nikkei financial daily is reporting, citing calculations based on data from the smartphone’s list of  suppliers.

The company had slashed output by 30 percent in January-March this year due to accumulated inventory, the paper said.

Apple’s shares were down 0.84 percent in midday trading, in line with the Nasdaq stock index.

 An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

Will Apple Cut iPhone Production This Quarter?

January 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple is expected to cut back its production of iPhone devices by about 10 percent in the first financial quarter of 2017 due to slower than expected sales, according to a Nikkei daily report filed on Thursday.

The information is based on the latest number data from the company’s suppliers, which says the decreased production output is a result of slower sales in the Q4 FY2016 financial quarter ending September 24th. Yet despite a slowdown in sales, the fruit-themed toymaker still managed to top the charts in terms of overall device activations at 44 percent, while Samsung was placed second at 21 percent. The rest of the top global smartphone vendors placed below five percent, with Huawei in third at three percent.

In 2016, the company reduced iPhone production output between January and March by 30 percent due to accumulated inventory levels of the iPhone 6S at the end of the previous holiday season.

This year, the problem appears to be convincing customers that new features on the iPhone 7 and flagship iPhone 7 Plus are enough to justify a purchase at off-contract price or paying off their existing device’s installment plan. Over the past few years, carriers have pushed customers to switch from fixed upgrade cycles over to installment plans or, bringing the length of device ownership to an average of 29 months, up from the typical range of 24 to 26 months during the previous two years.

While Apple is expected to announce a significant iPhone overhaul this year with its 10th anniversary design, the company still must navigate the new service plan trends set by wireless carriers in order to get a significant number of loyal customers to maintain its profit margins.

Courtesy-Fud

Is Wearable Market In The U.S. Slowing?

December 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The market for wearable devices including smartwatches and fitness trackers in the US is progressing along at a rather slow pace of just 25 percent year-over-year, according to the latest industry estimates.

The folks at eMarketer published an updated forecast this month revising their estimates of wearable device users in the US, saying the market will only grow 24.7 percent in 2016 as usage continues to be limited to early adopters.

In October 2015, the market research company estimated that 63.7 million US adults would use some type of wearable device with Internet connectivity at least once per month. The forecast was revised downward this month to 39.5 million adults, still a large sum of the entire US adult population at around 15.8 percent. Within three years, the wearable device adoption rate is projected to increase to 21.1 percent of the entire US adult population by 2020.

Lack of new hardware accounts for Q3 decline

A year later, IDC published a report showing “significant” declines in wearable shipments last quarter at just 2.7 million units, down 51.6 percent from the 5.6 million units that shipped in same timeframe last year. Meanwhile, Apple managed to sell just 1.1 million Watch units compared to 3.9 million during the same period the previous year. Another market performance indicator seemed to be the overall lack of new hardware, as Google has delayed its Android Wear 2.0 platform until early next year.

On the other hand, young adults between ages 18 and 34 make up the dominant market share of wearable users at an estimated 17.6 percent this year. This number is projected to increase significantly to 30 percent in 2017, comprising the largest fraction of the overall market’s slower 25 percent annual growth rate.

One of the current concerns for device manufacturers seems to be a significant overlap of features in comparison to most modern smartphones. Prior to the launch of the Apple Watch last spring, eMarketer claimed that most consumers were interested in buying wearables simply for the purposes of fitness tracking and health metrics. But with most base prices for iOS and Android Wear smartwatches running between $149 and $369, consumers have reported high price sensitivity given the lack of a clear use case over simpler health and fitness tracking devices.

More females will be wearable users by 2018

Additionally, the report estimates that a gender shift will occur among wearable users within the next two years, as the earliest adopters tended to be male. Most young adults will enter the market by purchasing traditional fitness trackers, yet the majority of users are expected to be female.

Courtesy-Fud

Will Twitter Be Around For All Of 2017?

December 28, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

It has taken a while, but we are finally getting analysts to describe situations in the way we do. Trip Chowdhry, the managing director of equity research at Global Equities Research shocked the market when he described Twitter as being “toast.”

We would have liked it better had he added Twitter was now the Norwegian Blue of the tech world but we can’t have everything.

Chowdhry’s comment followed chief technology officer, Adam Messinger, tweeted that he would leave the company and “take some time off.” Meanwhile Josh McFarland, vice president of product at Twitter, also said he was exiting the company. Both exits were announced on the same day.

Last month, Adam Bain stepped down as chief operating officer last month to be replaced by chief financial officer Anthony Noto, who has yet to be replaced. Twitter has also lost leaders from business development, media and commerce, media partnerships, human resources, and engineering this year.

Chowdhry said that many Twitter investors were foolishly building an investment thesis based on complete stupidity. The company was toast and not worth $10 a share, he added.

A $10 price tag would represent a more than 44 percent decline in the U.S. technology company’s shares on Tuesday’s closing price.

He said Twitter’s data quality was “horrible.” Many pollsters used Twitter data to predict a Hillary Clinton win in the US election but the fact that Donald Trump won shows that data quality is poor. This was because Twitter allowed too many fake users on the platform, Chowdhry claims.

“If data quality is bad, ad targeting is bad, and if ad targeting is bad, advertisers are not happy, and hence monetisation will remain challenging for Twitter,” Chowdhry said.

Twitter’s average monthly active users for the third quarter increased to 317 million, up 4 million from its second quarter, while earnings beat market expectations. The US social media giant also announced plans to lay off about 350 people, or 9 percent of its global workforce.

Courtesy-Fud

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