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From the Olympic Non-Robbery to Ford Getting Out of Cars, to Evil NSA: A Strange Week
August 22, 2016
There were three stories that caught my eye last week that I think deserve some additional discussion. One is the alleged robbery of U.S. Olympians followed by questions of whether it really happened because their phones weren't stolen. There may be a legitimate reason for that, and it's one that suggests a lot of folks will be getting huge cellphone bills next month.
Cloud Platforms and the Connected-Device Value Chain
August 17, 2016
Internet of Things cloud platforms offer device makers and companies the opportunity to greatly expand the value of products and services. These devices are reshaping the value chain by altering product design and development, manufacturing, marketing, supply chain management and service after the sale. They also generate new support activities, such as product data analytics and security.
Google Duo Aims to Make Video Calling Super-Easy
August 16, 2016
Google on Monday launched Google Duo, a one-on-one video calling app that runs on iOS and Android. The app will be available worldwide in the next few days, said Justin Uberti, principal software engineer at Google. Duo switches from cellular service to WiFi, and transitions from high-speed to lower speed wireless service smoothly, promising to let users continue video calls uninterrupted.
Tim Cook Devotes a Lot of Words to Saying Very Little
August 16, 2016
Tim Cook talked about his five years at the helm of Apple in a wide-ranging interview published Saturday. Apple fans looking for juicy morsels about new products won't find them in the Q & A, however. Among other things, Cook discounted the bleak claims of those analysts who maintain the smartphone market is in decline -- and Apple's fortunes with it.
Russian Regulators Scoop Apple Into Price-Fixing Probe
August 12, 2016
A Russian regulatory authority earlier this week named Apple, along with more than a dozen Russian retailers, as a target for an investigation into price-fixing activities. The Federal Antimonopoly Service, or FAS, has seen signs of price-setting coordination among iPhone resellers in Russia, according to a notice published on the agency's website.
TCP Flaw Opens Linux Systems to Hijackers
August 11, 2016
A flaw in the RFC 5961 specification the Internet Engineering Task Force developed to protect TCP against blind in-window attacks could threaten Android smartphones, as well as every Linux computer on the planet. The flaw is described in a paper a team of researchers presented at the 25th Usenix Security Symposium, ongoing in Austin, Texas, through Friday.
Nintendo Investors' Futile Hunt for Pokémon Go Profits
August 4, 2016
Nintendo investors who thought they would score big returns after the successful launch of Pokémon Go found that actual profits were more elusive than the colorful characters. Nintendo last week made it painfully clear that The Pokémon Co. and Niantic were far better positioned than it was to reap financial rewards. Much of that revenue potential lies in a wealth of in-app purchases.
Samsung Hones Galaxy Note7 to a Fine Point
August 4, 2016
Samsung on Tuesday unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Note7. It has an iris-scanning feature that combines with Samsung Knox for security, as well as a fingerprint scanner. The Galaxy Note7 has a water resistant body, a 5.7-inch QHD Super Amoled screen with a front-to-back symmetrical dual-edged curve, HDR video-streaming capabilities for immersive entertainment.
Uber's China Strategy Shifts Into Reverse
August 3, 2016
Didi Chuxing on Monday announced a historic deal to acquire the Chinese ride-sharing operations of rival Uber, which threw in the towel after years of unsuccessful efforts to grow its business in what may prove to be the world's most challenging technology market. Under the agreement, Didi Chuxing acquired all of Uber China's assets, including its brand, data and business operations.
Fixing Apple's Problem
August 1, 2016
Apple last week reported earnings, and with the exception of a strong showing from the iPad Pro, the key financial metrics were all down -- and for the third quarter running. So what's wrong with Apple? The company had been growing alarmingly well until last year, but growth suddenly has become elusive. It isn't going out of business, but it also isn't the performance king anymore.
Why 1 Billion iPhones Sold Matters
August 1, 2016
Sales of the iPhone for the current quarter may be down, but sales for the decade are up, way up. Apple last week announced that it had sold its billionth iPhone, a historic feat for a consumer electronics product from a single vendor. "We never set out to make the most, but we've always set out to make the best products that make a difference," said Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Apple Earnings Sag on Lower iPhone Price Points
July 28, 2016
Apple on Tuesday reported lower earnings in the third-quarter as the global saturation of smartphones continued to put pressure on its core iPhone business. However, officials remained upbeat. The company reported stronger-than-expected metrics and has been able to grow its software and services business while expanding into key overseas markets. Apple reported net income of $7.8 billion.
BlackBerry Offers Android Users a Secure New Smartphone
July 27, 2016
BlackBerry on Tuesday made a play for security-conscious Android users with the announcement of its new DTEK50. Running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and BlackBerry security software, the new unit is the "most secure Android smartphone" in the world, the company claimed. Many Android users have concerns about the their phone's security, according to a recent survey.
Nintendo's Q1 Reflects Struggles Unrelated to Pokemon Go Success
July 27, 2016
Nintendo shares fell sharply in Tokyo on Wednesday, following its release of a first-quarter earnings report that disappointed analyst expectations. The company reported a drop of 31 percent in net sales and an operating loss of about $48 million, which it attributed to growing strength in the Japanese yen but which likely had more to do with dismal sales of the Wii U, which it is phasing out.
Google Beefs Up Phone App's Spam-Fighting Skills
July 27, 2016
Google on Tuesday released an updated version of its Phone app for Android with a new spam protection feature that warns users when an incoming call is likely to be spam. It also lets them block numbers and report spam. The app is available on Google Play. The spam warning feature works on Nexus and AndroidOne devices on the T-Mobile USA, Project Fi and Orange France networks.
Yahoo Deal Could Put Verizon in Google and Facebook's League
July 25, 2016
Verizon has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Yahoo's operating business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash. The deal, which comes on the heels of Verizon's $4.4 billion AOL purchase last year, will allow it to expand its digital advertising business. The purchase will provide Verizon with Yahoo's ad tech tools, search, email and messenger assets.
Android, Chromebook Make a Sweet Couple
July 23, 2016
Chrome OS and Android Apps now run together on some Chromebooks. Many, but not all, Chromebook models will get the operating system update that allows it as fall approaches. The Asus Chromebook Flip C100P -- the first Chromebook to get the upgrade -- is an impressive example of what will come with the hybrid integration of Chrome OS and Android apps.
Uber by the Billions
July 20, 2016
Uber just celebrated its two-billionth trip in a 147-way tie, CEO Travis Kalanick announced Monday. Each of the drivers and riders who began their trip at 4:16 a.m. GMT on Saturday, June 18, got a $450 gift from Uber -- the number is significant because Uber now operates in 450 cities across the globe, Kalanick said. The company's growth trajectory is impressive.
Softbank Strong-ARMs Its Way Into Internet of Things
July 19, 2016
Softbank Group has agreed to buy British semiconductor maker ARM Holdings for about $31.4 billion in cash, the companies announced Monday. Softbank agreed to pay a hefty premium for ARM, with a price of about $67.28 per ARM share, which is a 42.9 percent premium over the $47.08 closing price as of Friday, the last business day before the deal was announced. The surprise move will help Softbank gain a solid IoT foothold.
Verizon Customers Get No Respect
July 15, 2016
Why do customers seem to overreact when Verizon announces changes? Verizon's latest price hike has been causing angst in the marketplace -- at least on social sites like Twitter. Why does Verizon keep shooting itself in the foot? The short answer is poor marketing. Verizon's marketing moves show no care for the customer base, and that comes with at cost to Verizon.
Facebook's OpenCellular Offers DIY Wireless Access for Remote Regions
July 14, 2016
Facebook last week introduced OpenCellular, an inexpensive, open source wireless access platform. Telecom operators, entrepreneurs, OEMs and researchers will be able to build, implement, deploy and operate wireless infrastructures to serve people living in remote areas. The platform is available in various options, ranging from a network in a box to an access point.
Nintendo Shares Surge on Pokemon Go Juggernaut
July 12, 2016
Nintendo shares soared on Monday after its new augmented reality mobile app, Pokemon Go, burst out of the gate over the weekend in the U.S and in key markets around the globe. The company's shares rose 36 percent in two days, after downloads of the Pokemon Go app raced to the top of iOS and Android charts in the U.S. The wave of demand exceeded expectations, said Morgan Stanley MUFG analyst Mia Nagasaka.
Airbnb Fights City Hall Over San Francisco Registration Rule
July 8, 2016
Airbnb recently filed suit against San Francisco over a new rule governing short-term rentals, which the city's Board of Supervisors approved last month. An Airbnb-supported law adopted earlier this year requires short-term rental hosts to register with the city, but it's estimated that only about 20 percent of them have done so. The new rule requires services like Airbnb to enforce the law.
Mobile Ransomware Has Mushroomed: Report
July 8, 2016
The number of mobile ransomware victims across the globe has increased fourfold compared to a year ago, suggests a Kaspersky Lab report. Kaspersky software protected 136,532 users targeted by ransomware from April 2015 to March 2016 -- up from 35,413. "The growth curve may be less than that seen for PC ransomware, but it is still significant enough to confirm a worrying trend," the report notes.
BlackBerry Lets Go of Its Classic Phone
July 5, 2016
BlackBerry on Tuesday announced it will cease manufacturing the BlackBerry Classic. "The Classic has long surpassed the average lifespan for a smartphone in today's market," noted COO Ralph Pini. "To keep innovating and advancing our portfolio, we are updating our smartphone lineup with state-of-the-art devices." BlackBerry intends to continue supporting its BlackBerry 10 platform, however.
Amazon, Walmart Gear Up for Summer E-Commerce Throwdown
July 1, 2016
It's summer, and Walmart and Amazon are celebrating by escalating their e-commerce competition. Amazon has announced it will hold its second annual Prime Day on July 12. A shopping day for Amazon Prime members worldwide, it is billed as the biggest global Amazon event ever. The company will offer more than 100,000 bargains, with new deals popping up at five minute intervals throughout the day.
The Internet of Medical Things, Part 1: A New Concept in Healthcare
June 30, 2016
Manufacturers are eager to lay the bricks and help pave the road to better, more personalized healthcare through integration of connected devices in the new Internet of Medical Things. Compared to other industries, healthcare has been "inherently conservative and slow" to embrace innovations such as the cloud and the Internet of Things -- but that's changing.
Verizon's Mission of Self-Destruction
June 27, 2016
Customers and investors increasingly are wondering why Verizon and Verizon Wireless are hurting themselves with their actions. For starters, Verizon decided to battle its own striking workers on the public stage. That battle shed lots of bad blood, and it will be tough to close those wounds. Many companies experience strikes, but most are settled quickly and quietly.
Study: Third-Party Apps Pose Risks for Enterprises
June 23, 2016
Since mobile computing put an end to the good old days when IT departments had absolute control over software deployed in the enterprise, there's been a rise in employees' use of third-party applications -- a rise that poses security risks to corporate environments. That is one of the findings in a report CloudLock released last week.
Headphone Jack-less iPhone 7 Rumor Gains Ground
June 22, 2016
The rumor that Apple will get rid of the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 resurfaced Tuesday. Apple is expected to launch the new iPhone later this year. The iPhone's Lightning connector reportedly will do double duty as its charging port and headphone connector. The result will be a thinner device and better water resistance. If true, the move "is right in terms of timing," said analyst Jeff Orr.
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How worried are you about lithium-ion batteries?
Very. Someone is going to be killed.
Very. They should be better regulated.
Somewhat. I'm wary of new products that use them.
Not much. The risk level is statistically very low.
Not at all. I face much greater risks every day.