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Microsoft Gets the Lead Out
June 26, 2013
Microsoft kicked off its Build 2013 developers conference on Wednesday with the announcement that its highly anticipated Windows 8.1, aka "Windows Blue," has arrived. CEO Steve Ballmer also said that rapid release will be the new norm in the Microsoft ecosystem, and that Redmond will transform Windows devices. "Rapid release's cadence is fundamental to everything we're doing," Ballmer said.
Countless Ouyas Find Their Way Into Gamers' Hot Hands
June 24, 2013
Open source video game console Ouya officially launched to the public on Tuesday, and the $99.99 device did what most product manufacturers surely dream of: It quickly sold out. The Android-based game console, which became a hit on crowdfunding website Kickstarter in recent months, sold out on Amazon, Target and GameStop soon after being made available.
WWDC 2013: All About Managing Expectations
June 12, 2013
There was no shortage of news coming out of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference this week, including a glimpse at the next generation of iOS. On the hardware front, meanwhile, the company revealed it will launch a new desktop computer and a refreshed MacBook Air line. Then, of course, there was its new streaming radio application.
Microsoft's Uncanny Transformation
June 10, 2013
For much of the last decade, Microsoft has set an example more of doing things wrong than right, but at TechEd last week, Microsoft suddenly was showcasing a number of really smart decisions and best practices. It almost felt like an event from a different company -- or the company I remember from the 1990s, before it got arrogant; when it was younger, more vital and a bit more fun.
The Linux Standard Base: Order From Chaos
June 06, 2013
Imagine going out to do your shopping errands in a world devoid of standards. What would that be like? Without standard sizes, something as routine as buying clothes would be an exercise in frustration. Finding a replacement bulb or buying tires for your car would require unique parts made only by the manufacturer. That's why the world of Linux has the Linux Standard Base.
When Apple Whispers to Devs, Consumers Read Lips
June 06, 2013
When Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off next week in San Francisco, it won't just be application developers watching. While the company speaks to business partners and professionals who use core Apple tools every day, the rest of the Apple enthusiast world will be paying close attention. What will Apple reveal? A new iWatch? The next iPhone? No and no.
Amazon Spreads Its Influence With Single Sign-In
May 30, 2013
Amazon on Tuesday announced a feature that lets users access websites using their Amazon account information. The goal of Login with Amazon is to reduce sign-in friction by providing secure credentials to websites, apps, games and other online access points on the Web, as well as on Android and iOS devices. Google+, Facebook and Twitter already offer similar social sign-in capabilities.
Yahoo Pulls PlayerScale Under Its Umbrella
May 24, 2013
Yahoo hasn't been playing around when it comes to acquisitions. Its latest, announced Tuesday, is PlayerScale, which makes software infrastructure for cross-platform gaming. Four-year-old PlayerScale has built a sizable audience, and it could fit well with Yahoo's new direction. "This deal is intriguing for a couple of reasons," said tech analyst Charles King.
IBM Suits Up Watson to Tackle Thorny Customer Service Problems
May 21, 2013
IBM on Tuesday announced that it will offer Watson -- its artificial intelligence software package that won the Jeopardy game show -- as a customer service solution called "Watson Engagement Advisor," a cognitive computing assistant that rapidly learns, adapts and understands a company's data.
Google Takes Maps to Next Level
May 16, 2013
Google Maps, already the de facto standard for online and mobile maps, is breaking new ground with added capabilities announced on Wednesday at the Google I/O Conference in San Francisco. Maps will get 3D views, speech recognition, enhanced voice search capabilities and will leverage artificial intelligence. Google Maps for mobile is also being enhanced.
New Google APIs Target Play and Games
May 15, 2013
Google on Wednesday announced new APIs for Google Play services and gaming, new features for the Google Play Developer Console, and a new Android Integrated Developer Environment at the Google I/O 2013 Conference in San Francisco. Google Cloud Messaging, which pushes data from servers to Android apps, has been made part of Google Play services.
Amazon Mints Coins and Makes Deposits in All Kindle Fires
May 13, 2013
Amazon Kindle owners have a new way to pay for games, apps and in-app purchases -- Amazon Coins. Amazon released its virtual currency Monday, and to kick off the new feature the company deposited 500 free Coins into the accounts of every Kindle Fire owner. Since each Coin equals a penny, the gift amounts to $5 for each user.
Twilio Lets Devs Build Contact Centers in the Cloud
May 09, 2013
Twilio last week rolled out capabilities that extend its communications API platform into the cloud contact center market. The new functionality is aimed at companies that want to migrate part or all of their traditional contact center operations to the cloud, or those that want to enhance existing traditional operations with a cloud-based component.
No Starry Eyes Yet for Google Glass
May 06, 2013
There's plenty to lust after in Google Glass -- if you're a tech aficionado, that is. A beta version of Google's widely hyped, Web-connected eyewear has been out for a few weeks, and rave reviews have been the rule rather than the exception. Developers are building Google Glass apps to tempt and titillate, including one that lets a Google Glass wearer take a photo with the blink of an eye.
Microsoft's IllumiRoom Blends Gaming, Real-World Environments
April 29, 2013
While Microsoft isn't taking the wraps off its upcoming next-generation video game console until next month, it did cast a little more illumination on its IllumiRoom projection system on Monday. The system has been described as a proof-of-concept technology that augments the area surrounding a television to enhance the gaming experience.
Real-World Marauders Infest Online Games
April 12, 2013
A scenario involving cybercriminals using techniques developed by state-sponsored cyberespionage groups sounds like a plot point in a video game, but the Winnti crew aren't the villains in some new release. These Chinese hackers are very real, and online games are their target. The group has been conducting a long-running cybercrime campaign targeting online gaming companies worldwide, Kaspersky Lab reported this week.
In A Blink, Google Ditches WebKit Browser Engine
April 05, 2013
Google announced this week that it is going to replace the open source WebKit browser rendering engine with a fork of WebKit's WebCore component known as Blink. The move means that Google and Apple will no longer share development of WebKit. WebCore is a layout, rendering and document object model library.
Twitter Hands Devs Some New Playing Cards
April 03, 2013
Twitter announced updates to its Cards feature for developers Tuesday. The enhancements enable greater integration of media and apps, and target mobile users of the social network, but the overall goal is to allow developers to stuff more content in and around a typical tweet while maintaining the 140-character tweet limit for texts.
Feds Crown Winners of Robocall Whacking Contest
April 03, 2013
Nothing steams consumers like robocalls, which is why the Federal Trade Commission launched a contest last year calling for ideas to tackle the nuisance. The winners of that challenge were announced Tuesday. Each of two winners will receive $25,000 to bring their robocall solutions to market.
Grabbing the Mobile App Brass Ring
March 30, 2013
By the end of 2012, 60 percent of U.S. broadband households owned at least one app-enabled consumer electronic device. With connected device ownership at mainstream levels, there is a solid foundation for app development and rapid growth in app economies. Of the primary devices used to access apps, smartphones have the highest penetration rates.

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