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Foxconn Finally Wrangles Sharp Deal
April 1, 2016
Foxconn has agreed to purchase a controlling stake in Sharp -- about 66 percent -- for roughly $3.5 billion, the companies announced Wednesday. Foxconn has committed to restoring Sharp's profitability and improving operations, according to the companies. "I am confident that we will unlock Sharp's true potential," Foxconn CEO Terry Gou said. The acquisition brings months of speculation to a close.
Facebook Plots Secret Chat for Messenger
April 1, 2016
Facebook has been working on mobile pay and secret chat features for its Messenger app, according to a report published this week, based on clues found in extracted software code on Messenger for iPhone. Commands embedded in the software hint at secret conversations, similar to what's found in WhatsApp, and commands to pay in person and pay in Messenger when picking up an item.
Oracle Ups Java Damages Demand to $9.3B
March 30, 2016
Oracle has asked for $9.3 billion in damages in its multiyear lawsuit against Google over the use of Java in Android, according to a report filed last week in federal court. That amount is reportedly about 10 times what it had initially asked for. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for May 9 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
FCC Commissioner Sounds Alarm Over Netflix Throttling
March 30, 2016
FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly on Tuesday suggested the government should investigate Netflix's practice of throttling video content delivery to customers using mobile devices. However, Netflix's video throttling was not a violation of the FCC's Net neutrality rules, O'Rielly also said. Netflix last week announced plans to offer a data saver feature for mobile apps beginning in May.
Latest iOS Upgrade Drives Users Buggy
March 30, 2016
Apple has been deluged with complaints from users who say the latest version of its mobile operating system is breaking links and crashing apps. "Following iOS 9.3 on iPhone 6splus update links in safari no longer open, then safari crashes -- any ideas how to fix? Same problem in Chrome," user John MacDonald posted Monday on Apple's support page on Twitter.
Hard-Pressed Pebble Sheds 25 Percent of Workforce
March 29, 2016
Pebble -- once viewed as the little smartwatch company that could -- last week cut its worldwide workforce by 25 percent, according to news reports. That's reportedly about 40 people, but actual figures are hard to come by because Pebble is privately held. The company has raised $46 million, but CEO Eric Migicovsky blamed the layoffs on the difficulty of raising funds in Silicon Valley these days.
A Dramatic 16 Years for 4 Tech Titans
March 28, 2016
Following Apple's latest announcements, I noticed a number of reports on how disappointed customers were that there was nothing they wanted to wait in line for hours to buy. I personally thought they should have been excited about that, because I hate to stand in lines. I've never really figured out an Apple fanatic's penchant for pain. Still, it is very clear that today's Apple is very different.
Google Aims to Build a Better iOS Keyboard
March 24, 2016
Google has been developing a third-party keyboard for Apple devices in an effort to increase the number of Google searches on iOS, according to a news report published Tuesday. The keyboard, which is being tested internally, reportedly would incorporate a number of search options and a Swype-like feature to guess the intended word when a user slides a finger from one letter to another.
iPad Pro Wants to Be Your Next PC
March 24, 2016
When Apple unveiled its 9.7-inch iPad Pro earlier this week, it aimed the tablet squarely at the PC replacement market, with Senior VP Phil Schiller describing it as the "ultimate upgrade for existing iPad users and replacement for PC users." More than 600 million PCs in use are 5 years old or more, he said. The Pro's 64-bit A9X processor rivals that of most portable PCs, Apple said.
Supreme Court to End Samsung, Apple Patent Brawl
March 22, 2016
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal from Samsung regarding its patent dispute with Apple. The case stems from a 2011 lawsuit by Apple that alleged Samsung copied certain design elements and features from the iPhone and iPad and used them in Samsung Galaxy phones and tablet computers. A jury in 2012 awarded $1 billion to Apple.
ProtonMail Launches Encrypted Email for iOS, Android
March 18, 2016
ProtonMail, which offers encrypted email, on Thursday launched free iOS and Android mobile apps worldwide, through the iTunes App Store and Google Play, respectively. They have been in beta since August, company CEO Andy Yen said. The email service features end-to-end encryption; emails stored on ProtonMail's servers also are encrypted and thus can't be accessed.
Does Little iPhone Mean Apple Is Growing Up?
March 17, 2016
Every few months, fans gather with excitement to see what Apple will introduce next -- so what can we expect to see from Apple on March 21? I think the most important thing will be fixing a mistake the company made two years ago. Apple will reintroduce a 4-inch iPhone. As smartphone sales slow, even Apple needs to cozy up to users. Slapping them in the face was not a good sales tactic.
Amazon May Let You Pay With a Wink and a Nod
March 16, 2016
Amazon has applied for a patent for selfie-based authentication for online purchases, according to a patent application published last week. Using the technology, a prospective purchaser would take a selfie, and the image would be authenticated against an image database using facial recognition software. The buyer then would perform an action to verify that the image is of a live human being.
Digital Assistants Fail Abysmally in Crisis Situations
March 16, 2016
Personal digital assistants are of little benefit for people experiencing a serious personal crisis, such as sexual assault or thoughts of suicide, according to a study published Monday. The research looked at four major personal assistants. For the most part, they were unable to recommend solutions when users expressed severe mental anguish, or reported domestic violence, sexual assault or forms of imminent danger.
Apple Slips Native Advertising Into News App
March 16, 2016
Apple recently updated its iAd specifications to allow the display of sponsored posts directly in users' news feeds in the Apple News app for the iPhone and iPad. The ads will appear in native-banner format and can link to articles in the News app. They will be set in the same default font as News articles and will have the same look, with a title, text excerpt and a small image.
Apple Lassos Attention With 'Loop You In' Tease
March 11, 2016
Apple on Thursday sent out media invitations to a March 21 event at its Cupertino, California, headquarters, with the cryptic teaser, "Let us loop you in." Speculation is rife that the company will unveil a new 4-inch iPhone called the "iPhone SE." A 9.7-inch iPad Air also is expected, as well as some new Apple Watch bands and minor hardware and software updates.
FCC Proposes Subsidy to Close Broadband Gap
March 10, 2016
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Tuesday announced a $2.25 billion plan to expand the federal Lifeline subsidy program to help low-income consumers afford broadband Internet service. Lifeline, which currently allows low-income consumers to buy mobile phone service at a discount, would let them buy standalone broadband starting Dec. 1 for $9.25 per month or apply the discount to bundled services.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Review Buzz: It's the Bee's Knees
March 9, 2016
Reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge came out Tuesday, and they were overwhelmingly positive. "What the S7 line does, and does smartly, is it comes back to the basics and does the basics well," remarked Ramon Llamas, a research manager at IDC. Samsung is "hitting the right notes with improved battery life, external storage capacity and the quality of the camera."
Google's Loons to Glide Over India
March 8, 2016
Google has been in talks with telecom service providers in India to bring its Project Loon to the subcontinent, Rajan Anandan, Google's managing director for Southeast Asia and India, said in an interview published Monday. The project would deliver Internet access via balloons floating thousands of feet in the air. It is Google's latest effort to bring Internet access to remote parts of Asia.
Google's Hands Free Puts Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
March 3, 2016
Google on Wednesday announced that it has begun testing an app dubbed "Hands Free," which lets Android and iOS smartphone users make purchases via their devices without taking them out of their pockets or purses. Early adopters in Silicon Valley can use the system at some McDonald's, Papa John's and other eateries. The app offers connectivity via Bluetooth Low Energy, WiFi and location services.
Apple Event Date Nudges Court Showdown
March 1, 2016
Apple reportedly has changed the date for the launch event for its 4-inch iPhone and new iPad Air from March 15 to March 21. If the rumor is correct, Apple will be holding the event the day before it appears in a federal court in California to contest a controversial court order. "The timing seems to be a miscalculation on Apple's part," said John Carroll, a professor at Boston University.
Fitbit Leads Surge in Wearable Sales
February 26, 2016
Wearable device makers shipped more than 27 million units globally in the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase of nearly 127 percent over the year-ago quarter, IDC reported Tuesday. Vendors shipped a total of 78.1 million units in 2015, up 171.6 percent over 2014, according to the "Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker" report. Fitbit led the growth, followed by Apple and Xiaomi.
Microsoft Buys Xamarin to Boost Cross-Platform Development
February 25, 2016
Microsoft on Wednesday announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Xamarin, a platform provider for mobile app development. Xamarin's platform will be used in conjunction with Microsoft's Visual Studio, enabling developers to build apps using C# to deliver fully native mobile app experiences across platforms, including Android and iOS, said Microsoft's Scott Guthrie.
MasterCard Will Put Selfies to Work for Authentication
February 23, 2016
MasterCard on Monday announced facial recognition and fingerprint technology that essentially would allow customers to take selfies to help authenticate their identity when engaged in mobile shopping. The rollout, which is planned for this summer in the U.S., Canada and part of Europe, follows a pilot of biometrics by MasterCard and International Card Services with Dutch participants.
Facebook May Launch Risky Messenger Ad Program
February 22, 2016
Facebook has been preparing to push personalized ads through its Messenger app, according to a report last week. The company will allow brands to send their own marketing materials through the popular chat app, suggests a leaked document apparently intended for Facebook's advertising partners. The changes could go into effect during the second quarter of the year.
Investors Bet $57M on Jana's Global Internet Access Strategy
February 19, 2016
Jana on Thursday announced it has raised $57 million in Series C funding, enabling it to continue its plans to connect developing countries to the Web. Verizon Ventures led the funding round, with backing from Spark Capital and Publicis Groupe. The backing will give Jana the boost it needs to connect its next billion users, according to company spokesperson Meagan Ward.
A Glimpse Into the 5G Wireless World
February 18, 2016
Your world is about to change. 5G is coming. Whether you are a wireless carrier, a handset maker, an app developer, a mobile TV provider, a worker, investor or consumer, your world is about to undergo a major transformation. AT&T recently announced plans to start testing 5G technology this year. Wireless data transmissions could be 10 to 100 times faster over 5G than on current 4G networks.
Report: Apple Moving Quickly to Sell New iPhone, iPad Models
February 16, 2016
Apple will begin selling new models of its iPad tablets and iPhones in mid-March, according to a report published last week. It will debut a 4-inch iPhone, called the "iPhone 5se," as well as a new iPad Air at a March 15 event, followed by a retail and online sales launch three days later, said the report. Apple is not expected to offer its usual preorder sales event.
AT&T Jumps Into the 5G Race
February 13, 2016
AT&T on Friday announced plans to start testing 5G technology, with a possible limited commercial rollout before the end of 2016. 5G offers the promise of besting the speeds of today's fastest wireless networks by a factor of 10 to 100, through the use of millimeter waves, network function virtualization, and software-defined networking. AT&T is collaborating with Ericsson and Intel on the effort.
Yahoo May Have Found a Lifeline
February 11, 2016
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdams last week confirmed that his company was exploring an acquisition of some of Yahoo's assets, which would be placed under the corporate umbrella of Verizon's AOL unit. McAdams discussed Verizon's interest in an interview with Mad Money host Jim Cramer. Giving AOL CEO Tim Armstrong control of some of Yahoo's assets would be good for investors.
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On texting and driving:
It's dangerous and I never do it.
I know it's dangerous but I do it anyway.
I do it but I'm extra careful.
It's only dangerous if you're a bad driver.
It's less dangerous than many other driver distractions.
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