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Google Fills Nexus Devices With Rich Nougat Features
August 23, 2016
Google on Monday began rolling out its long-awaited Android 7.0 Nougat release to Nexus smartphones and tablets. The new operating system became available as a beta release, known only as "Android N," earlier this year. The experiences of developers and other users led to more than 250 new features, including improved multitasking, stronger battery life and tighter security features.
Verizon Toys With Risky App Revenue Plan
August 23, 2016
Verizon's reported consideration of a plan to preinstall mobile apps from major retailers and financial firms on users' smartphones has drawn sharp criticism. The carrier reached out to numerous retail and finance brands with an offer to preload mobile apps on its Android phones for between $1 and $2 per device, according to unnamed ad agency executives.
Netgear's Orbi WiFi Promises Strong Signal All Through the House
August 23, 2016
Netgear on Monday announced the Orbi WiFi System, designed to eliminate dead spots in smart homes. Orbi's system "is similar to using a network extender, but Netgear has improved on this approach with a dedicated band for communication with the satellite devices," explained Bill Ablondi, a research director at Strategy Analytics. The initial Orbi system will be available in September for $400.
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.
Gadget Ogling: Levitating Smart Things, Making WiFi-Perfect Wine, and Staying Safe While Solo
August 16, 2016
Lift is an antigravity charger for Apple Watch and Pebble. The charger is wireless, so there's almost no clutter involved -- except, I suppose, when you have to charge the charger. The watch wraps around a portable battery pack, which the base keeps elevated using magnets. There's a Pro version of the base, which you can use as an iPhone or iPad stand and charger.
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.
900 Million Androids Could Be Easy Prey for QuadRooter Exploits
August 9, 2016
Four newly identified vulnerabilities could affect 900 million Android devices, Check Point researchers disclosed. The vulnerabilities, which the researchers dubbed "QuadRooter," affect Android devices that use Qualcomm chipsets. They exist in the chipset software drivers. The drivers, which control communications between chipset components, are incorporated into Android builds.
Nucleus Home Intercom Gets Alexa Advantage
August 8, 2016
The smart home of the future could be a wee bit smarter with the addition of the Alexa-powered connected intercom system Nucleus announced last week. The Nucleus intercom, which last fall made its debut without Alexa, is a tablet that connects to a home network through WiFi or Ethernet to allow family members to communicate with each other both inside and outside the home.
Apple Might Need to Think Different About TV
August 5, 2016
Apple's tough negotiating stance apparently has hobbled its efforts to bring entertainment industry companies on board with its planned streaming TV service. Talks with Disney, 21st Century Fox and CBS reportedly have fallen through. Had the entertainment and cable TV industry given in, Apple's demands would have turned current practices topsy-turvy.
Alexa Takes On Smart Home Security Responsibilities
August 5, 2016
Millions of customers using Amazon's Alexa voice assistant technology now can add locks that can be controlled remotely to the growing ecosystem of smart home capabilities. August Home last week announced that Amazon's line of voice-assisted products, including the Echo, now support its smart products, allowing users to lock and unlock their doors using voice commands.
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.
Apple's Switch to Squirt Gun Emoji Triggers Flood of Emotions
August 3, 2016
Apple earlier this week announced its decision to change the gun emoji in iOS 10, to be released this fall. It plans to substitute an image of a green-and-orange squirt gun for the existing image of a black pistol. The new version of the gun is one of more than 100 new and redesigned emoji characters. The change appears to be a reflection of Apple's stance against gun violence.
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.
Gadget Ogling: Pokémon Go Drones, New Old Nintendo, and Snowden-Secured Smartphones
August 2, 2016
Pokémon Go, the augmented-reality smartphone game that's been eating away at the fabric of society in recent weeks, is enormously fun. I enjoy the mechanics, and that it pushes me to go on longer walks. That's all well and good in the nicer weather, but when there's two feet of snow, I don't really want to traipse around so much. That's why Pokédrone might be my new favorite thing.
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.
Snapchat's Curious About-Face
July 23, 2016
Fleeting memories will be a thing of the past with a new Snapchat feature currently rolling out. "Memories," introduced earlier this month, allows users of the app to save photos and photo stories to their phones, as well as share them with friends. Finding snaps or stories can be done with a simple text search. Protecting snaps and stories on a phone is easy, too.
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.
Tinder Social Feeds More-the-Merrier Impulses
July 22, 2016
Tinder has announced the launch of Tinder Social, a new platform that helps users plan group nights out. The new platform will help users plan double dates or larger group events, creating new opportunities for people to make connections, the company said. Tinder took the platform for a test drive in Australia and found that users wanted a better way to add friends to their night out in real time.
Snowden Puts His Mind to Designing Spy-Proof Smartphone Cases
July 21, 2016
NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden and noted hacker Andrew "Bunnie" Huang on Thursday published a paper on their collaboration to design a smartphone case that will protect user privacy. The pair developed a prototype compatible with the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, as it's "driven primarily by what we understand to be the current preferences and tastes of reporters," the paper states.
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.
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