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Is an Apple Maps Upgrade in the Works?
February 09, 2015
The ad on Apple's job site is innocuous enough, seeking an engineering project manager for Apple Search. However, that raises questions about whether Apple has plans to further improve its Maps app, possibly by strengthening local listings, which are increasingly important to businesses. "Apple may well revamp its street maps, as that application has far more value in an increasingly mobile world," noted Alan Pelz-Sharpe, a research director at the 451 Group.
In Search of the Perfect Windows 10 Hardware
February 09, 2015
I'm well into the user testing of the next generation of Microsoft's operating system and things are really looking up. Windows 10 is becoming a blend of the many things we liked about Windows 7, and the things that most folks don't know about that are great about Windows 8. Windows 10 should be like a breath of fresh air for those truly annoyed with Windows 8.
First Ubuntu Smartphone to Arrive in Europe Next Week
February 06, 2015
The first smartphone to be powered by the open source Ubuntu operating system will arrive at retail in Europe beginning on Monday, Feb. 9. The Aquaris E4.5 will be offered to early adopters via a series of "flash sales" across the continent. The unlocked phone will retail for 169.90 euros or roughly US$195, without the need for a contract.
Will Motorola Mobility be a Home Run for Lenovo?
February 06, 2015
Lenovo is one computer maker that seems to be bucking the trend. In recent years they've continued to grow while others struggle. Smartphone growth suddenly seems to be a point of interest for Lenovo, which recently acquired Motorola Mobility from Google. It's still too early to pronounce Lenovo a big winner in smartphones from this acquisition, but to date, things are looking good.
'Smart Spaces' Project Seeks to Light Up Networks
February 05, 2015
Dartmouth University researchers are shining a new light on using "smart spaces" in ambient room lighting to transmit both data and human gestures. This technology enables so-called smart spaces to separate shadows from light in real time. Thus, the light spectrum is able to carry high-speed data wirelessly without interruption between smart devices.
Infected Android Apps From Google Play Affect Millions
February 04, 2015
The malware harbors fake ads that pop up when users unlock their devices, to warn them about nonexistent infections, or that their devices are out of date or have porn. Victims are then asked to take action. If they agree, they are redirected to poisoned Web pages that contain a variety of hazards. Google spokesperson Elizabeth Markman did not confirm how many devices had been hit.
Good and Samsung Partner to Harden Android Security
February 04, 2015
Good Technology on Tuesday announced a merger of its app container and app ecosystem with the Samsung KNOX enterprise security platform for Android. The product merger is aimed at eliminating virus and malware concerns that come with Android adoption in the enterprise. The hardened security for Android targets the OS's deployment with U.S. government and Department of Defense agencies.
A Personal Power Plant in the Palm of Your Hand
February 04, 2015
The problem with most portable battery-based chargers is that you still need to plug them into a wall socket to gain a charge. While some inventors have turned to solar, or even wind power, for off-the-grid power sources, solar and wind power take time and require Mother Nature to provide sun or wind. Enter Kraftwerk, a fuel-based hand-held portable generator that has launched as a Kickstarter project.
Think Different: Apple's 10 Biggest, Riskiest Bets
February 03, 2015
Even the most vociferous Apple haters can surely admit that Apple -- judged upon the evidence of its record-breaking quarterly profit of $18 billion, the most of any public held company ever -- is not only firing on all cylinders but also creating products that consumers around the world are willing to pay a premium for. The sheer scope of Apple's success is mind-boggling.
Verizon Addresses Supercookie Conundrum
February 03, 2015
Users of Verizon Wireless' network and products will find it will be easier to opt out of the carrier's tracking activities. The carrier has been using a "supercookie" identifier to follow smartphone users' mobile Web activity. Verizon has given consumers ways to opt out of various marketing programs, but escaping the reach of supercookies has proven to be elusive for consumers.
Google Expands Bug Bounty Program
February 02, 2015
Since 2010, when it began paying security researchers to find flaws in its programs, Google has paid more than US$4 million to bug hunters. Now it's prepared to pay even more. The company announced Friday that it's expanding its Security Rewards Programs to include payments to researchers before they find bugs in Google's software. It's also broadening the reach of its Vulnerability Reward Program.
Gadget Ogling: A Touchless Thermometer, Flashing Audio, and a Mesmerizing Mattress Cover
January 31, 2015
JoyWing's Wishbone is a fancier thermometer than what you or I will have seen on any trip to the doctor. It's a smartphone attachment that gives temperature readouts within a couple of seconds without even having to touch the person or material it's examining, thanks to an infrared sensor. It's inexpensive, at $26-35 for those pledging to the crowdfunding drive.
Google Gives WebView the Cold Shoulder
January 30, 2015
Google has decided not to fix vulnerabilities in WebView for Android 4.3 and older, sparking heated discussions among developers. Those versions of WebView run on the WebKit browser. Fixing them "required changes to significant portions of the code and was no longer practical to do so safely," explained Adrian Ludwig, lead engineer for Android security.
FCC Issues Tough Warning Against WiFi Blocking
January 29, 2015
The FCC on Tuesday issued a warning that intentional blockage of personal WiFi hotspots was illegal and would be subject to enforcement. The FCC has noticed a "disturbing trend" among hotels and other commercial establishments of blocking consumers' personal WiFi hotspots on their premises, it said. The agency last year conducted an investigation of Marriott International for WiFi blocking.
Tech-Savvy Cubans Build Their Own Private Internet
January 28, 2015
Because Cuba's government makes it difficult for all but a handful of Cubans to access the Internet, people in Havana and other parts of the country reportedly have linked thousands of PCs to create an informal network known as "StreetNet," or "SNet" for short. The network was built with commercially available equipment. The PCs are connected by WiFi and Ethernet cables strung over rooftops.
Cablevision Freewheels Into WiFi-Only Phone Territory
January 27, 2015
Cablevision on Monday announced plans for Freewheel, an all-WiFi mobile phone service offering unlimited data, talk and text to residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The prepaid service will connect to Cablevision's Optimum Online WiFi network of 1.1 million hotspots. Optimum Online is Cablevision's high-speed Internet service.
China Overtakes US in iPhone Sales
January 27, 2015
Apple is expected this week to report that last year's iPhone sales in China exceeded those in the U.S. Thirty-six percent of iPhone shipments in the most recent quarter reportedly went to China, while just 24 percent went to the U.S. This shift took place over the past year; in the year-ago quarter, the U.S. accounted for 29 percent of all units sold, while 22 percent went to China.
Microsoft's Windows Reboot Could Be Legendary
January 26, 2015
I was one of the launch analysts for Windows 95, and the launch of that product is widely held -- including by Bill Gates -- as the company's pinnacle. No launch before or since ever came close to that launch, and I remain amazed that no one, including Apple or Microsoft, has ever really attempted to duplicate that effort. Windows 10 has the potential to be even greater than Windows 95.
Gadget Ogling: A Microsoft Marvel, an Eensy Keyboard and an Ingenious Desk
January 24, 2015
Microsoft had a major surprise up its sleeve for those awaiting details about the Windows 10 launch: its holographic headset, HoloLens. Billed as a new way to interact with technology and the world around us at once, it overlays holograms onto what wearers see in front of them. They might, for instance, play a version of Minecraft that's constructed across a kitchen table and chairs.
Google to Add Mobile Carrier Hat to Its Collection
January 23, 2015
Google reportedly is planning to set up shop as an MVNO, purchasing bandwidth from Sprint and T-Mobile in order to offer its own wireless service. Details are sparse, but Sprint is said to be putting a volume trigger into its contract that would allow for renegotiation if Google's customer volume should exceed a predefined number. The project, led by Nick Fox reportedly bears the code-name "Nova."
Ford R&D Facility Rolls Into Silicon Valley
January 23, 2015
Ford Motor on Thursday announced the opening of its Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto, a 25,000 square foot facility that will help it accelerate the company's innovation in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience and big data. This is the latest addition to the automaker's global network of R&D centers, which include its hometown facility in Dearborn, Michigan.
The Brave New World of Windows 10
January 23, 2015
Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled a slew of new features and capabilities coming in Windows 10: the convergence of the desktop and mobile; the advent of the killer universal app; more power and features for personal digital assistant Cortana, which will be on mobile as well as desktops and laptops; improvements to maps; a new browser; a strong emphasis on gaming; and holographic computing.
Chen Calls on Congress to Mandate BlackBerry Apps
January 22, 2015
BlackBerry CEO John Chen set off a barrage of online chatter Wednesday when he proposed that any rules the U.S. adopts to preserve Net neutrality also should guarantee application neutrality. Chen made the proposal in a letter to two U.S. congressional panels and posted an adapted version on the company's blog. Both the FCC and Congress are considering Net neutrality proposals.
Acer Designs Chromebooks for Students' Rough Handling
January 22, 2015
Acer on Wednesday announced two new ruggedized Chromebooks geared for classroom use. Both will go on sale in February. The Acer Chromebook C910 and C740 have a durable design built around reinforced covers and hinges. The new models support multiple user sign-ons and offline file access. Security features include a Kensington lock to secure the laptop to a wireless cart or lab station.

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