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Chat Tool Slack Admits To Being Hacked

March 31, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

The popular group chat tool Slack had its central database hacked in February, according to the company, potentially compromising users’ profile information like log-on data, email addresses and phone numbers.

The database also holds any additional information users may have added to their profiles like their Skype IDs.

The passwords were encrypted using a hashing technique. There was no indication the hackers were able to decrypt the passwords, Slack Technologies said in a blog post. No financial or payment information was accessed or compromised, it said.

The unauthorized access took place over about four days in February. The company said it has made changes to its infrastructure to prevent future incidents.

Slack was contacting a “very small number” of individual users who had suspicious activity tied to their accounts, or whose messages may have been accessed. Slack did not say how many users it thinks may have been affected in this way. A company spokeswoman declined to comment further.

There’s been strong interest in Slack’s business chat app since it launched last year, and its user base now tops 500,000.

To beef up security, Slack added a two-factor authentication feature on Friday. If it’s enabled, users must enter a verification code in addition to their normal password whenever they sign in to Slack. The company recommends that all users turn it on.

Slack has also released a password kill-switch feature, to let team owners and administrators reset passwords for an entire team at once. Barring that, users can reset their passwords in their profile settings.

 

 

Phone Movements, Gestures May Be Key To Fighting Mobile Malware

March 31, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Mobile malware is a growing problem, but researchers from University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) have developed a new way of detecting when suspicious mobile apps start trouble, such as trying to call premium-rate numbers unbeknowst to a phone’s owner.

The technique relies on using the phone’s motion, position and ambient sensors to learn the gestures that users typically make when they initiate phone calls, take pictures or use the phone’s NFC reader to scan credit cards.

Some mobile malware programs already abuse these services and security researchers expect their number will only increase.

The technology developed by the UAB researchers can monitor those three services and can check whether attempts to access them are accompanied by the natural gestures users are expected to make. If they’re not, they were likely initiated by malware.

The research, which involved collecting data from real-life scenarios to train the technology, showed that detecting different gestures and using them to differentiate between user-initiated actions and automated ones can be done with a high degree of accuracy. As such, the technique can be a viable malware defense.

The technology doesn’t require root access on the device and it’s better than the signature-based approach used by most mobile antivirus programs, according to Nitesh Saxena, director of UAB’s Security and Privacy In Emerging computing and networking Systems Lab.

 

Alibaba, BMG Sign Music Distribution Deal

March 31, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Germany’s BMG music rights company announced that it has signed a music digital distribution deal with China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, as the world’s largest e-commerce giant firms up its bid to become a digital media empire.

The deal, one of the first in China made by a major music publisher rather than a label, will bring more than 2.5 million copyrights to Alibaba, whose music platforms already had many of the songs from artists including Kylie Minogue, the Rolling Stones and Jean-Michael Jarre, an Alibaba spokeswoman said.

Alibaba has set its eyes on becoming an online-media powerhouse, with music, film and television. The $210-billion firm has touted the potential for selling digital products as well as physical products in China, despite the country’s track record of users not paying for media content.

In the process, it is vying with Tencent Holdings Ltd, China’s biggest social networking and online entertainment firm, and search leader Baidu Inc and its online video unit, iQiyi.

For BMG, the tie-up is both a chance to boost earnings by its artists in China and part of its attempt to “grow the legitimate music market in China”, the company said.

BMG last November linked up with Chinese independent company Giant Jump to manage publishing and recording rights both at home and overseas.

Alibaba’s Digital Entertainment arm will “promote BMG writers and artists through channels such as its streaming apps Xiami and TTPod” and “monitor and take action against digital and mobile services who may infringe the rights of BMG clients,” the subsidiary of Bertelsmann AG, Europe’s largest media company, said in a statement.

“Internet and particular mobile media are quickly providing an answer to the music industry’s long-time challenge of how to monetize the vast untapped potential of the Chinese market,” BMG Chief Executive Hartwig Masuch said in Monday’s statement.

 

Can Small Developers Profit In The Mobile Space?

March 31, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

Is there a future for smaller developers on mobile devices? That’s an awful question to have to ask, yet it’s one being asked – with some variation in the phrasing or the approach – in quite a lot of contexts recently. Mobile platforms, once seen as safe refuge from the drastic collapse of the mid-range PC and console market, are now themselves displaying the same symptoms; soaring budgets, dependency on franchise or licensed IP, and a market increasingly dominated by the tiny percentage of games which “hit”, leaving not even scraps for the vast number of games that “miss”.

We watched that happen to console games over the course of the last hardware generation. It’s a vicious cycle and it can be hard to tell where it begins; did consumers stop buying sub-AAA titles, leading publishers to stop funding them? Or did publishers, spooked by rising development budgets, throw all their weight behind a handful of “sure-fire” hit titles, starving sub-AAA development of finances, resources and ultimately, existence? A little from column A, a little from column B, perhaps; though I suspect it had more to do with column B, for reasons which are now being recycled in the mobile industry.

There’s no doubt that costs at the top end of the mobile business are soaring, with development and – more notably – marketing costs trending upwards at a rate which makes the rise in console development costs through the 2000s look positively leisurely. Companies like King and Supercell are spending up to half a billion dollars a year on marketing alone, and margins are tumbling as costs outpace revenue growth. This creates a twofold barrier to entry for newcomers. Firstly, the rapid advancement of mobile technology has pushed up basic development costs – say what you like about the console model, which freezes hardware advancement in five or six year increments, but it does at least give a long-term level playing field that gives developers an opportunity to master and ultimately profit from the systems.

Secondly, even if you can afford the now much more expensive development process for a top-end mobile game, the chances are you can’t afford to market it – not when you’re facing an onslaught of expensive marketing from the likes of King, or takeovers of some of the world’s most famous public spaces by Supercell. Winning mindshare from those giants isn’t within the grasp of a plucky startup; much as we’d all love to pretend that it’s all about the quality of the games, the reality is that at the top end of the market, it’s more to do with brand recognition, amplified by the “flocking” behaviour that’s endemic to social games.

To some degree, these companies are victims of their own past success. Much of the marketing spend that’s inflating their operating costs is not aimed at supporting the launch of new games, but at sustaining the growth of games that first launched three or four years ago. Clash of Clans remains Supercell’s big hit; Candy Crush Saga is still King’s biggest revenue stream. GungHo has Puzzle&Dragons, Zynga has Farmville. These are all old games, yet they are the marketing focus of their respective companies. This is actually not just a feature of those companies, but a feature of the market overall; a look at the top charts on the iOS App Store reveals that many of the games which remain most popular now are games that date back several years. That forces mobile developers to view sustaining the growth of their old hits as being just as important as developing new hits; more important, actually, because the old game is already a proven success, while all money spent on new development is, by definition, speculative.

It’s a tough balance to strike – focusing resources on your existing games, risking having no new titles to take up the slack when the old star finally fades; or focusing on developing new games, effectively re-rolling the dice that gave you boxcars in the past, but with the ever-present risk that you’ll never see anything but snake eyes again. This has echoes, actually, of a similar balancing problem that console publishers faced – which brings us back to the question of how the vicious cycle that killed off mid-range development got rolling in the first place. Faced with rising development costs, publishers had two choices. They could keep funding lots of games, knowing that plenty of them would turn out to be sub-AAA and might lose money; or they could dump all of their resources into a handful of titles, “guaranteeing” that each one would be an AAA title through sheer force of finance, spending money to bulk out the feature lists in a quest to stamp out every market risk imaginable.

We all know which way that went. We sometimes say that companies like game publishers are averse to “risk”, but that’s not the whole truth; they’re actually averse to one specific type of risk, operational risk – the risk that a game will bomb and lose money – while being entirely too relaxed about another form of risk, financial risk – the risk that grows as a game’s development and launch gets more expensive. Essentially, publishers (and big companies in general) are remarkably comfortable about spending enormous amounts of money on things; they’ll pump endless amounts of cash into the development of a game in order to tick every box on the feature list, telling themselves that they’re reducing operational risk (“it’s got multiplayer now, people love multiplayer! It’s much less likely to fail with multiplayer!”) while ignoring the now catastrophically high level of financial risk which means that, should the game actually fail, it threatens to take the whole company with it.

I digress, but this is as much about the careers of the company’s managers and producers as it is about the health or culture of the company itself; managers make a perfectly rational calculation that operational risk is much more dangerous to their careers than financial risk. Being in charge of a small game that flopped looks pretty bad, and being in charge of a small game that did well is a career positive but not an enormous one; while being in charge of a big game that succeeded is a career-making move, and being in charge of a big game that flopped is actually not all that bad either, perhaps no worse than being in charge of a smaller flop, since the industry tends to respect experience of managing large projects, no matter how badly they did in the end.

That’s what happened in the console and PC games business, and it was nothing short of apocalyptic for the small development studios which had once been the backbone of the industry. Many of those studios and their staff saw mobile development as a liferaft; yet here we are again. The raft is sinking into the same sea that consumed the mid-range development sector on console and PC. Budgets are rising, launches are getting more expensive and, from what I can gather, publishers are responding just the same as before – throwing more and more money at a smaller and smaller selection of products, trying vainly to insulate themselves from operational risk while all the while constructing a huge, shaky tower of financial risk. If anything, it’s even worse on mobile than it was on console, since one of the best things about mobile – the long tail that means successful games can keep on being successful for ages – conspires to give publishers a whole new way of avoiding operational risk, by dumping money into old, proven games rather than new, risky ventures.

If that sounds bleak, though, I’d urge you to consider the flipside of what happened on PC and console. The mid-range disappeared, yes; it was upsetting, it wrecked people’s lives in many cases, and it narrowed the kind of games available for quite a long while. Yet at the same time a whole new low-end of games (and I mean “low-end” in budget terms, not quality) emerged. The indie scene blossomed, from a new generation of bedroom coders through to a whole new wave of small, creative, innovative studios who have done more to push the medium of games forward than almost anything else in the past decade. Not every indie game was a success, but most of them were sufficiently low-budget that their failure could be chalked up to experience and the creators could move on to the next thing. “Fail again. Fail better”; Beckett’s words could be the slogan of the indie game scene.

Moreover, and crucially for how we choose to perceive the change in the mobile games industry, these “low-end” creators have a different concept of success to a large publisher or studio. Sure, Notch made billions and bought a Hollywood mansion; but while much of our attention gets focused on such enormous successes, the truth is that for most indie creators and small developers, “success” looks like the bills being paid, the paycheques being sent out and the funds for working on the next title being secured. Never mind billions; many smaller games would comfortably cover their costs and pay their creators a healthy wage with a few hundred thousand dollars in revenue, or perhaps even less.

On mobile, too, far away from the giant marketing budgets and multi-million-dollar development plans of the big players, such a sector can and will thrive. We are rapidly approaching the point where everyone in the developed world, and a healthy percentage of people elsewhere, will carry a smartphone; that’s a whole lot of niches to be filled, a whole lot of niches to be satisfied, an almost unimaginable number of daily moments to be brightened with a spark of entertainment. It’s nonsense to imagine that King, or Supercell, or any of the other huge companies dominating the top end of the market, are going to release games that satisfy and enthral everyone with a phone in their pocket. For those plucky, interesting developers who challenge themselves to fill the cracks and flow into the niches, there’s absolutely a living – a good living – to be made. There are challenges, the greatest of which may be discovery, but just as PCs and even consoles have seen the flowering of indie talent, the end of the mobile device “gold rush” doesn’t mean the doors are shut for smaller developers; as long as your dream is to make a living from creating games, rather than to buy a Hollywood mansion and a private jet, your dream is still alive.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Amazon Unleashes Unlimited Storage For $5 A Month

March 30, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon upped the ante: Unlimited cloud storage for individuals for $5 a month ($59.99 per year).

Amazon’s Unlimited Everything Plan allows users to store an infinite number of  photos, videos, files, documents, movies and music in its Cloud Drive.

The site also announced a separate $12 per year plan for unlimited photos. People who subscribe to Amazon Prime already get unlimited capacity for photos. Both the Unlimited Everything Plan and the Photos Plan have three-month free trial periods.

Online storage and file sharing service providers, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and iCloud, have been engaged in a pricing war over the past year. Last fall, Dropbox dropped its Pro plan pricing for individuals to $9.99 per month for 1TB of capacity. Dropbox offers 2GB of capacity for free.

Dropbox also offers members 500MB of storage each time they get a friend to sign up; there’s a 16GB max on referrals, though. With Dropbox Pro, members can get 1GB instead of 500MB each time they refer someone.

Google Drive offers 15GB of capacity for free and charges $1.99 per month for 100GB and $9.99 per month for 1TB.

Apple’s iCloud offers 5GB of capacity for free, and charges 99 cents per month for 20GB, $3.99 per month for 200GB and $9.99 per month for 1TB.

Microsoft’s OneDrive offers 15GB of capacity for free, and charges $1.99 per month for 100GB, $3.99 per month for 200GB and $6.99 per month for 1TB.

While Amazon offers unlimited file size uploads for desktop users, it limits file sizes to 2GB for mobile devices.

 

 

Amazon Rumored To Be Pursuing Net-a-Porter

March 30, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon.com is holding discussions to acquire online luxury retailer Net-a-porter in what could be the biggest acquisition yet for the e-commerce giant, but the negotiations are in early stages and could fall apart, Forbes reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The potential deal, first reported by Women’s Wear Daily, could value Net-a-Porter lower than the valuation of 2 billion euros ($2.16 billion) reported by the fashion industry trade journal, Forbes reported last Thursday, citing the person.

Seattle-based Amazon has long eyed the high-end fashion retail sector and any deal for Net-a-Porter would mean a new commitment in an area where the company lacks a strong presence, Forbes said.

“It’s Day 1 in the category,” Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos told the New York Times in an interview in 2012, saying the company was making a “significant” investment in fashion to convince top brands that it wanted to work with them, not against them.

Media reports in 2014 said Amazon was in talks to buy Indian fashion retailer Jabong.com for $1.2 billion.

Net-a-Porter is owned by luxury goods group Richemont, which bought the London-based company for 392 million euros in 2010.

A spokeswoman for Net-a-Porter said the company does not comment on industry speculation.

Amazon.com and Richemont could not be immediately reached for comment outside regular business hours.

 

Panasonic On The Hunt For Acquisition Targets

March 27, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic Corp said it is gearing up to spend 1 trillion yen ($8.4 billion) on acquisitions over the next four years, bolstered by a stronger profit outlook for its automotive and housing technology businesses.

Chief Executive Kazuhiro Tsuga said at a briefing on Thursday that Panasonic doesn’t have specific acquisition targets in mind for now. But he said the firm will spend around 200 billion yen on M&A in the fiscal year that kicks off in April alone, and pledged to improve on Panasonic’s patchy track record on big deals.

“With strategic investments, if there’s an opportunity to accelerate growth, you need funds. That’s the idea behind the 1 trillion yen figure,” he said. Tsuga has spearheaded a radical restructuring at the Osaka-based company that has made it one of the strongest turnaround stories in Japan’s embattled technology sector.

Tsuga previously told Reuters that company was interested in M&A deals in the European white goods market, a sector where Panasonic has comparatively low brand recognition.

The firm said on Thursday it’s targeting operating profit of 430 billion yen in the next fiscal year, up nearly 25 percent from the 350 billion yen it expects for the year ending March 31.

Panasonic’s earnings have been bolstered by moving faster than peers like Sony Corp and Sharp Corp to overhaul business models squeezed by competition from cheaper Asian rivals and caught flat-footed in a smartphone race led by Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics. Out has gone reliance on mass consumer goods like TVs and smartphones, and in has come a focus on areas like automotive technology and energy-efficient home appliances.

Tsuga also sought to ease concerns that an expensive acquisition could set back its finances, which took years to recover from the deal agreed in 2008 to buy cross-town rival Sanyo for a sum equal to about $9 billion at the time.

 

 

Facebook Opening Parse For IoT Development

March 27, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook is opening up Parse, its suite of back-end software development tools, to create Internet of Things apps for items like smart home appliances and activity trackers.

By making Parse available for IoT, Facebook hopes to strengthen its ties to a wider group of developers in a growing industry via three new software development kits aimed specifically at IoT, unveiled Wednesday at the company’s F8 developer conference in San Francisco.

The tools are aimed at making it easier for outside developers to build apps that interface with Internet-connected devices. Garage door manufacturer Chamberlain, for example, uses Parse for its app to let people open and lock their garage door from their smartphones.

Or, hypothetically, the maker of a smart gardening device could use Parse to incorporate notifications into their app to remind the user to water their plants, said Ilya Sukhar, CEO of Parse, during a keynote talk at F8.

Facebook bought Parse in 2013, putting itself in the business of selling application development tools. Parse provides a hosted back-end infrastructure to help third party developers build their apps. Over 400,000 developers have built apps with Parse, Sukhar said on Wednesday.

Parse’s new SDKs are available on GitHub as well as on Parse’s site.

 

Azul Goes Java Embedded

March 26, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Azul Systems, the company behind the wildly popular Zing and Zulu runtimes for Java, has been discussing its latest product, Zulu Embedded.

Azul specializes in bespoke open source Java runtimes and has announced that it is expanding into embedded product lines.

Scott Sellers, CEO and co-founder, and Howard Green, VP of marketing, were keen to extol the virtues of an embedded system.

“If you go with an Oracle system, not only do you have to pay a license fee but you are restricted to off-the-peg solutions,” explains Sellers.

“Because we are an open source solution we can create exactly what the customer needs, then feed that expertise back into the community where it will eventually end up in the official builds of Java.”

Oracle now bases its products around the open source community before releasing its own stable, closed source editions, so Zulu Embedded will often contain cutting edge functionality which is not available to standard (and paying) Java users.

“Our products are built out of a customer need. It’s not just about cost, but about finding new ways to use the Java runtime, which is still the most popular programming language in the world, and creating ways of getting it to do new things,” says Green.

The arrival of Zulu Embedded will open a whole host of opportunities for Internet of Things (IoT) building, but Sellers is keen for the product to be seen as more than just an IoT platform.

“Of course, by creating customized solutions we are able to strip out the libraries that are unnecessary and make a more nimble runtime with a smaller footprint, which makes it ideal for the IoT, but there is far more to it than that – everything from routers, to set-top boxes to ATMs,” explains Green.

The product officially launches today, but has been subject to a significant amount of testing in the field with selected customers.

“In actual fact, it has been available on a limited basis since last September and there are already over two million units running Zulu Embedded in the field,” says Green.

The product will be monetized by offering enterprise-grade support options to customers, while the product itself is freely available.

“We see the end-of-life schedule of Java SE as a major selling point for our own product,” says Green.

Oracle’s support for Java SE 7 has already expired, and it’s another two years before version 8 also reaches end-of-life. Azul, meanwhile, remains committed to its open source products indefinitely.

“Compared to all the alternatives which are either limited in lifespan or have large upfront licensing costs, we’re sure that, combined with our ongoing support, we’re the right choice for anyone wanting flexible deployment of Java,” says Sellers.

Zulu Embedded works across a huge number of platforms, including Mac, Windows and Linux, on Intel and AMD x64 architectures with ARM compatibility to follow.

It is also compatible with physical servers such as Windows Server, hypervisors including VMware and Hyper-V and cloud solutions like Microsoft Azure, Red Hat, Suse and Docker.

For Java as a language, however, Zulu Embedded is something of a return to its roots.

“Sun Microsystems [the original owners of Java] were very successful in the embedded market and paved the way for the vast number of applications that already have a Java runtime. With the end of support for Java 7, many people will be looking at where to go next,” explains Sellars.

Consumer users of Java have repeatedly lashed out at Oracle for its use of bundleware in Java installations, which recently spread to Mac users.

Zulu is available immediately from the Azul website, along with details on working with the Embedded version.

We’ve come a long way in the past nine years, when Sun and Azul were counter-suing over patents. Today, open source is the beating heart of Java, though many won’t realize it.

Courtesy-TheInq

Lexmark Scoops Up Kofax For Nearly $1B

March 26, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Lexmark International Inc, known for its printers, said it plans to acquire Kofax Ltd in an about $1 billion deal that would double the size of its enterprise software business.

PC and printer makers have struggled in the recent past as companies reduced printing to cut costs and consumers shifted to mobile devices from PCs.

Hewlett-Packard Co plans to separate its computer and printer businesses from its corporate hardware and services operations this year.

Xerox Corp has also increasingly focused on IT services to make up for the falling sales of its copiers and printers.

Lexmark divested its inkjet printer business in 2013 and has since boosted its enterprise software business.

The Kofax deal will help the company’s Perceptive Software business achieve its revenue target of $500 million in 2016, Lexmark said.

The business makes software to scan everything from spreadsheets to medical images and provides services to banking, healthcare, insurance and retail companies. It contributed about 8 percent to Lexmark’s revenue in 2014 and has grown at more than 30 percent in the past two years.

Kofax provides data services to the financial, insurance and healthcare companies such as Citigroup Inc, Metlife Inc and Humana Inc.

Lexmark said it expects the deal to “significantly” expand operating margins in its enterprise software business, which would now be worth about $700 million. It will also add about 10 cents per share to the company’s adjusted profit in 2015.

 

 

Facebook To Open Messenger App To Third-Party Developers

March 25, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook’s Messenger app mostly been used for keeping in touch with friends. Now people can also use it to send each other money. In the future, it could become a platform which other apps could use, if recent rumors prove true.

This Wednesday and Thursday at its F8 conference in San Francisco, Facebook will show off new tools to help third-party developers build apps, deploy them on Facebook and monetize them through Facebook advertising.

Among those tools might be a new service for developers to publish content or features of their own inside Messenger, according to a TechCrunch article. Facebook did not respond to requests for comment.

Such a service could make Messenger more useful, if the right developers sign on. Search features, photo tools or travel functions could be incorporated into Messenger and improve users’ chats around events or activities.

However, Messenger already lets users exchange money, and it also handles voice calls. Layer on more services and Messenger could become bloated and inconvenient to use.

In other words, making Messenger a platform would be a gamble.

A more versatile Messenger could generate new user data Facebook could leverage for advertising, helping it counter a user growth slowdown in recent quarters. It could also boost Facebook’s perennial efforts to increase participants in its developer platform and the number of users of its third-party apps.

Even if Facebook doesn’t turn Messenger into a platform at F8, it will likely do so in the future, said John Jackson, an IDC analyst focused on mobile business strategies. For the same reasons Facebook might turn Messenger into a platform, it could do the same for other apps like WhatsApp or Instagram, he said.

“The objective is to enrich and multiply the nature of interactions on the platform,” providing valuable data along the way, he said.

 

Intel’s Broadwell Spec Apparently Leaked

March 25, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

People working for the Chinese VR Zone  have found evidence that Intel will only be launching two Broadwell desktop processors in Q2 2015.

The new Broadwell Desktop CPUs are based on the LGA1150 pin layout and will be compatible with the current Z97 motherboards.

ASUS and ASRock recently announced that their motherboards will be able to handle the new 14nm Broadwell processors with a BIOS update. The two new CPUs will be the Intel Core i7-5775C and Core i5-5675C.

There are some odd things on this list. It is not clear what the C stands for in the product names. Our local AMD fanboy says it stands for C*ap while others have suggested, camel or caramel, depending on how hungry they are. The processors are unlocked for overclocking like the previous K models were and it could the K has somehow become a C.

The new i7 has four cores and eight threads running at a base frequency of 3.3GHz and with a turbo to 3.7GHz while the i5 has a base speed of 3.1GHz and a Turbo of 3.6GHz on its four cores, four threads base. The i7 comes with 6MB cache while the i5 only has 4MB and both are powered by the Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 iGPU.

Courtesy-Fud

Vessel Launches Early Access, Paid Subcription Video Service

March 25, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Online video platform Vessel officially debuted its paid subscription service on Tuesday, offering programming at least three days before other websites in a bid to reshape an industry dominated by free content on Google Inc’s YouTube.

Vessel, which costs viewers $3 a month, was founded by former Hulu Chief Executive Jason Kilar and Chief Technology Officer Richard Tom. They aim to create an early window for a selection of web video, similar to the way movies are released in theaters before they arrive on cable TV or the Internet.

“Early access is very valuable,” Kilar said in an interview. “There are a lot of consumers who would love to see something early.”

More than 130 creators will provide early access to content on Vessel. After the exclusive period ends, videos can go to YouTube, Vimeo, Vevo or other free, ad-supported sites, and are free on Vessel.

YouTube stars such as Ingrid Nilsen, Rhett & Link and Shane Dawson are among creators whose videos will make their debut on Vessel. Other programming comes from online networks such as food-oriented Tastemade and celebrities such as Alec Baldwin.

Video creators on Vessel keep 70 percent of ad revenue, compared with 55 percent that is typical on YouTube, plus 60 percent of Vessel subscription revenue.

With those incentives, the new service will be an easier sell to creators than offering viewers who are used to watching videos for free, said Brett Sappington, director of research at Parks Associates.

“Vessel must rely on content creators’ popularity and self-marketing to entice their loyal viewers into paying a monthly fee,” he said.

The service is free for one year for viewers who sign up within the first three days.

It is unlikely YouTube will lose significant revenue from a migration to Vessel, Sappington said. YouTube made its debut a decade ago and has more than 1 billion users.

 

 

Can Intel Succeed In The Mobile Space?

March 24, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel has launched its latest campaign to get back into the mobile market, and this time it might just get away with it.

Intel’s involvement in mobile is a history of dropped balls and lost opportunities. In 1996, Intel supplied the processor for the Nokia Communicator that had early features of smartphones, it lost this to AMD. In 1999, it supplied the computer processor for the early BlackBerry, but sold the business to Marvell in 2005. In 2004, it supplied the brains for the Palm Treo 650, an early smartphone that was discontinued four years later. In 2006, it snubbed a request from Apple to make a processor for the iPhone.

Now CEO Brian Krzanich, is spending billions to gain a mobile foothold as it introduces new Atom microprocessors for smartphones and tablets.

In March, Intel announced a range of new products for mobile computing at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. In January, Intel combined its mobile and personal computing businesses into a single computing group.

It has formed alliances with two Chinese companies that make chips for mobile phones and consumer electronic products. And is spending big to get into the new Internet of Things market.

It’s new Core M range is also getting attention from mobile PC makers and companies which want to set up wireless offices.

All this is taking its toll. Last year, Intel posted a $4.2 billion loss in its mobile group by essentially subsidizing the purchase of its tablet chips by tablet makers. The company expects its mobile group to break even in 2016.

Bryant said this was a price that needed to be paid for sitting on the sidelines for a number of years and then fighting your way back into the market.

“We will improve this. We will not continue to accept a business with multibillion dollar losses, but this is the price you pay to get back in. We are getting back in.”

While it is easy to write off Intel in mobile, it is clear that there is a lot happening and Intel is prepared to spend money to get there. Already it is getting attention from the manufacturers, and maybe this time it will not drop any balls.

Courtesy-Fud

Google Updates Android Smart Lock With On-body Detection

March 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Google is adding a feature to Android’s smart lock that could significantly reduce the number of times users need to key in a passcode to unlock their phones.

On-body detection uses the accelerometer in the phone to detect when it’s being held or carried. If enabled, the feature requires a passcode the first time the phone is accessed but then keeps the device unlocked until it is placed down.

That means, for example, that users walking down the street won’t have to unlock the phone every time they take their phones out of their pockets.

The feature wasn’t widely announced by Google, but it began operating in some phones on Friday.

Like the other elements of smart lock, it should be used with caution as it can’t detect who is carrying the phone.

“If you unlock your device and hand it to someone else, your device also stays unlocked as long as the other person continues to hold or carry it,” reads a message displayed on phones with the new feature.

The smart lock feature was introduced with Android 5.0 KitKat and allows users to set zones around trusted places, such as a home or office, and Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices, such as a computer or car radio. When the phone is in those zones it will remain unlocked once it’s been unlocked the first time.

It can also recognize faces and remain unlocked when it sees a trusted face.