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Apple's Got Algorithm

Apple's Got Algorithm

Today in international tech news: Apple acquires Swedish startup AlgoTrim. Also: Australia's undersea cables are a prime snooping target; HTC teams up with the Chinese government to create a China-specific mobile operating system; Nintendo announces a new handheld device (and a Wii U price cut); and a Google exec jumps ship for a Chinese phone maker.

Apple has acquired AlgoTrim, a Swedish software developer that specializes in compression algorithms for mobile phones.

AlgoTrim developed algorithms for "lossless" compression, whereby processing instructions in operating systems and applications are not only sped up but require less flash memory.

The company will create solutions for "modern computational photography," it says, which would use sensors, computing, actuators and other components to transcend the current bounds of digital photography.

The brunt of AlgoTrim's work over the past few years has focused on Android devices, so this could be a double-edged win for Apple.

[Sources: TechCrunch; Rapidus]

Australia's Undersea Cables Being Tracked

The British Government Communications Headquarters has been collecting data from Australia's undersea fiber optic telecommunications cables, which link the country to Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

BGHQ's interception has targeted the SEA-ME-WE-3 cable, to which Australia is connected. As a result, BGHQ has been snatching up much of the telecommunications and Internet traffic taking place between Australia and Europe.

The 24,000-plus-mile cable is owned by a consortium that includes telecommunications companies from across Asia, Europe and the Middle East. It is believed to be one of the most important underseas cables for BGHQ and National Security Agency data collection.

[Source: The Age]

HTC, Chinese Government Team Up On Mobile OS

The Great Call of China?

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC is reportedly hooking up with the Chinese government to build a mobile operating system targeted at consumers in the Middle Kingdom.

The new OS, expected to launch sometime in 2013, will reportedly be based upon Android in some way. Beijing has partnered with UK-based Canonical to create a Chinese version of its OS that favors China-made apps and services.

Earlier this year, China bemoaned the nation's reliance on Android.

[Source: The Wall Street Journal via TechCrunch]

Nintendo Announces New Handheld, Slashes Wii U Price

Nintendo announced Wednesday that it will release a new handheld gaming device targeted at younger gamers and will also drop the price of its higher-end Wii U console.

The new handheld device, the 2DS, will play games from Nintendo's DS line and the three-dimensional 3DS; the 3DS games will be lacking 3D elements, but gameplay will be the same. The WiFi-equipped 2DS will cost US$129.99 and will be available in mid-October.

The price drop on the Wii U is also noteworthy. The console is going from $349.99 to $299.99 after only about a year on the market. Nintendo didn't reset the price on the original Wii, released in 2006, for almost three years.

[Source: The Washington Post]

Google Exec Leaving to Join Chinese Phone Maker

Hugo Barra, the vice president of product management for Google's Android OS, is heading for redder pastures.

Barra has joined Chinese phone maker Xiaomi, where he will head up the company's international business development in the role of vice president of Xiaomi Global.

Xiaomi does the bulk of its sales in China, where it outsold Apple last quarter. Its Mi 2S model was the top-selling phone in China in the first half of last year, edging out Samsung's Galaxy 4; the company is now looking to build on that momentum globally

Xiaomi's products are generally much cheaper than those of Apple or Samsung.

[Source: USA Today]


David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author of The Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out his ECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.


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