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Gates Sees Both Sides in Apple vs. FBI Ruckus
February 24, 2016
Microsoft founder Bill Gates on Tuesday attempted to clarify his position regarding Apple's conflict with the FBI, telling Bloomberg he was disappointed that his earlier comments had been construed as taking the government's side. Apple has sparked a public debate through its resistance to a court order to unscramble the data on the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists.
Samsung Raises Curtain on Galaxy S7 Models
February 23, 2016
Samsung on Sunday introduced two new models of its flagship Galaxy smartphone line at the annual gala for the mobile world, the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain. Both phones have similar features, but one, the Galaxy S7 Edge, has a 5.5-inch display, the same size as the iPhone 6s Plus. The units have curved screens that support quad HD resolution, as well as a slight curve on the back.
Apple FBI Standoff Stretches Into Week Two
February 23, 2016
Apple has called for the creation of a government panel to help resolve a standoff between the company and the Federal Bureau of Investigation over the issue of national security vs. data privacy. The proposal for a commission followed FBI Director James Comey's Sunday post on Lawfare -- an apparent effort to quell the controversy. Comey emphasized that the bureau was not seeking a master key.
Gadget Ogling: Gaming Revivals, Clever Cameras, and Smartphones for All
February 22, 2016
Sir Clive Sinclair helped popularize video games as a viable home entertainment option with the ZX Spectrum. After reviving the brand a little over a year ago with the introduction of the Vega microcontroller, which plugs into televisions, Sinclair and Retro Computers now have launched a handheld version, the Vega+. The Vega+ design is aligned with other current handheld consoles.
The FBI's iPhone Problem: Tactical vs. Strategic Thinking
February 22, 2016
I'm an ex-sheriff, I've been in and out of security jobs for much of my life, so I've got some familiarity with the issues underlying the drama between the FBI and Apple. Law enforcement officials would like an easier way to do their jobs. Wouldn't we all? If they could put cameras in every home and business on the planet, they'd find a way to do it. That would solve a lot of tactical challenges.
Cook et al Dig In Heels in iPhone Encryption Battle
February 19, 2016
CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday took Apple's battle with the FBI directly to the public, penning an open letter in defense of the company's resistance to a court order mandating it to create a way to access data in the iPhone used by the San Bernardino terrorists. A federal magistrate issued the order because the high level of encryption built into the device had impeded the FBI's investigation.
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.
Do 1800s Antitrust Laws Apply in the E-Commerce Age?
February 16, 2016
Laws usually are established after interpersonal or business activities collide with the real or perceived rights of others. After parties with different positions fight about who's right and who's wrong, legislatures create laws to solve the legal issues raised, and courts enforce them or create their own. Many of the laws from the past, however, do not make sense when applied to e-commerce.
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.
Bill Aims to Keep States From Banning Smartphone Encryption
February 11, 2016
United States Reps. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, last week introduced legislation to prevent states from passing laws banning the sale of smartphones with encryption capabilities. The bill aims to shut off attempts by the FBI, NSA and law enforcement agencies in the U.S. to force high-tech companies to include security or encryption backdoors.
Vaio's Phone Biz to Test Windows 10's Reception in Asia
February 5, 2016
Vaio on Wednesday announced Phone Biz, a Windows 10 mobile phone. The device doesn't have a SIM, leaving users free to select their own carriers. The Phone Biz lets users easily access corporate apps, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange, as well as the Azure cloud, according to Vaio. The OS is synced with the latest version of Windows 10.
Rugged Turing Phone to Run on Sailfish OS, Not Android
February 4, 2016
Turing Robotic Industries this week announced that it has uninstalled Google's Android mobile platform in favor of Jolla's Sailfish OS in its yet-to-appear secure smartphone. The Turing Phone, molded from a single unit of the Liquidmorphium liquid-metal alloy, is designed to be more durable to absorb shocks and prevent screen breakage. Preorder pricing starts at $610.
Microsoft Acquires SwiftKey to Advance AI Goals
February 4, 2016
Microsoft on Wednesday announced an agreement to acquire SwiftKey, whose software keyboard and SDK are used on more than 300 million Android and iOS devices. SwiftKey's technology aligns with Microsoft's vision for more personal computing experiences "and directly supports our ambition to reinvent productivity by leveraging the intelligent cloud," said Microsoft's Harry Shum.
Apple Pencils In March 15 for 4-Inch iPhone Launch
February 4, 2016
Apple is planning an event to unveil a refresh of its iPhone 5s and its Apple Watch, as well as to introduce a new version of its iPad Air, according to a Tuesday report. However, the event date could change, or the company could opt for an online announcement. The 4-inch Phone 5se reportedly will look similar to the 5s and sell at the same price point: $450.
Google, Movidius to Bring Deep Learning to Mobile Devices
January 29, 2016
Movidius on Wednesday announced that it's working with Google to put deep learning on mobile devices. Google will source Movidius' latest flagship chip -- the MA2450 -- and software development environment, and will contribute to Movidius' neural network technology road map in return. That could result in mobile devices that will be able to understand images and audio swiftly and accurately.
Wall Street Backs Off Apple
January 28, 2016
Their fears confirmed, investors were bearish on Apple Wednesday, the day after the company reported its slowest-growth quarter ever. The company's shares closed the day at $93.44, down 6.55 percent. In its Q1 earnings report, Apple prepared investors for what may come next: its weakest quarter for iPhone sales in 13 years. Even worse is its gloomy forecast for next quarter's iPhone sales.
iPhone Sales Could Be Slowing
January 26, 2016
In the runup to the release of Apple's Q1 2016 earnings report Tuesday, one of the big unanswered questions was whether the iPhone could maintain its sales momentum. Q1 2015 iPhone sales hit a record 74.5 million units, and it's possible the latest quarter's shipments may not equal -- let alone exceed -- that mark. IDC has forecast of slowing sales industrywide for 2016.
New Little iPhone May Sprout This Spring
January 26, 2016
An iPhone with a 4-inch display and some features found in Apple's latest models will launch in March or April, according to a report that surfaced last week. The model reportedly will be called the "iPhone 5se" -- for "special edition" -- and will be offered at the same price point as the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5se will have design features similar to the 5s, which was released in 2013.
California Bill Would Ban Encrypted Smartphone Sales
January 25, 2016
California State Assemblyman Jim Cooper last week introduced a bill seeking to ban the sale of smartphones that include unbreakable encryption. It would require smartphones made on or after Jan. 1, 2017, and sold in California to be capable of being decrypted and unlocked by manufacturers or OS providers. Knowingly failing to comply would subject a seller or lessor to a fine of $2,500 per device.
Child Laborers Mine for Cobalt Used in Tech Gadgets
January 20, 2016
Amnesty International and African Resources Watch on Tuesday issued a report alleging that the supply chains of major electronics companies -- including Apple, Sony and Samsung -- included cobalt mined by child laborers in Africa. The companies have failed to make basic checks to halt the practice, the report claims. The report traces the harvesting and sale of cobalt in the poverty-stricken DRC.
IDC: There's Hope on the PC Horizon
January 18, 2016
IDC last week reported worldwide PC shipments totaled nearly 72 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015, down 10.6 percent year over year -- the largest YoY decline ever. While shipments in Q4 were slightly higher than in Q3, 2015 was the first year since 2008 that fewer than 300 million PCs were shipped. Longer PC life cycles and economic issues contributed to the poor results.
Major Security Flaw Found in Silent Circle's Blackphone
January 7, 2016
Security researchers at SentinelOne on Wednesday revealed a vulnerability they discovered in the Blackphone. The flaw -- an obscure socket -- lets an attacker take over and control communications on the Blackphone, a highly secure Android smartphone Silent Circle developed and marketed in reaction to news of government surveillance of people's communications.
Looking Ahead to 2016
December 28, 2015
Next week is CES, and I am so looking forward to coming home from that show. It used to be a lot of fun, but it covers such a massive amount of space that just getting around takes up much of the time. Given that most folks do prebriefings if they are smart, and that most of the really cool stuff is behind closed doors and not on the show floor, every year I question the intelligence of going.
10 Things on an Apple Fan's 2016 Wish List
December 22, 2015
When your favorite consumer tech company is also the best consumer tech company in the world, and said tech company is generally a magnet for hyperbole and blind customer loyalty -- while also producing more products at higher levels of quality than ever before -- what's left to really wish for? Plenty, it turns out. I'm not talking about a new Apple car or even any special new product category.
2015: Looking Back at an Amazing Year
December 21, 2015
I'm kind of surprised it took us so long to figure out that an iPod-like product with a Siri-like voice interface would be a massive hit in the home. As I write this, the numbers suggest the breakout product this holiday is the Amazon Echo. It once again showcases that if you create something that is plug-and-play easy and does at least one thing folks want to do well, it will be a hit.
Gadget Ogling: Long-Lasting Smartphones, Burglar-Busting Drones, and Ski-Obsessed Sensors
December 19, 2015
If the dream for many in the modern world is to have a smartphone that never needs a charge, Oukitel's K10000 is a pretty good runner-up. The smartphone is named for its 10,000mAh battery. When subjected to "normal" use, it's good for 10 to 15 days between charges. Given that many smartphones will need some extra juice after around 10 hours of typical use, that seems a tall order.
Samsung's S7 May Fall Just Shy of Innovation
December 15, 2015
Samsung's forthcoming Galaxy S7 smartphone will have several new features, including a pressure-sensitive display like the one available on the iPhone 6s, according to a report published Monday. The S7 also will have a USB Type-C port, which will make for faster charging; a camera optimized for low-light photography; and possibly a retina scanner and an external memory card slot in some versions.
Gadget Ogling: Unappetizing Apple Juice, a Fistful of Virtual Reality, and Considerate Drones
December 12, 2015
After years of seeing third-party companies release battery pack cases for its iPhone line, Apple finally has entered the market itself. The Smart Battery Case aims to protect your iPhone and provide it with extra power when you need it. A full charge on the phone and the battery case delivers up to 25 hours of talk time, and up to 18 hours of LTE Internet use.
FBI Chief: High-Tech Firms Need to Rethink Encryption Stance
December 11, 2015
FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday told members of a U.S. Senate committee that high-tech companies may need to adopt a new business model regarding encryption in order to get on the same page with law enforcement. "Encryption is getting in the way of our ability to have court orders effective to gather information we need in our most important work," he told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Mozilla Gives Up Firefox Phone Ambitions
December 10, 2015
Mozilla on Wednesday confirmed that it has hung up on the Firefox OS mobile phone and will try using the operating system to dial into other connected device uses instead. The company spent several years developing a browser-based smartphone OS. It ended its sales program of the Firefox mobile operating system to carriers and will no longer develop the OS for smartphones, Mozilla said.
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Would you drive a Tesla?
I already do, and I love it!
Yes -- if the price were lower.
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I'm not yet sold on electric vehicles.
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