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Snap Unveils Eye-Popping Camera Spectacles
September 27, 2016
Snap, the company formerly known as "Snapchat," on Saturday announced sunglasses that take videos through a built-in camera in the frame. Snap's Spectacles let users take 10-second videos by tapping a button on the top left-hand corner of the eyeframe. Users can tap on the record button to record two more 10-second segments, for videos of up to 30 seconds long in all.
Samsung Green-Lights Galaxy Note7 Replacements
September 22, 2016
In an update to its Galaxy Note7 recall, Samsung announced that more than 500,000 new replacement devices would be available for exchange at U.S. retail outlets on Wednesday. The company also announced the rollout of a software update that will display a green battery icon on the screens of new Note7 devices to distinguish them from those subject to recall.
Comcast Takes the Wireless Plunge
September 21, 2016
CEO Brian Roberts on Tuesday announced that Comcast will enter the wireless phone market by mid-2017 as a mobile virtual network operator. A 150-strong Comcast Wireless team, headed by Greg Butz, is "getting ready next year ... to launch a WiFi and MVNO-integrated product," Roberts said at the Goldman Sachs Annual Communacopia Conference in New York.
Samsung Troubles Deepen Following Formal CPSC Action
September 19, 2016
The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Samsung last week announced a formal voluntary recall of about 1 million Galaxy Note7 smartphones, after the high-end flagship device was found to have overheated or caught fire in at least 92 incidents. Samsung was notified of 26 cases of people being burned by the defective 5.7-inch smartphones and 55 cases of property damage, according to the CPSC.
New Apple Products Have the Right Gaming Stuff
September 17, 2016
Apple wants to attract gaming fans to the more powerful graphics and processing power embedded in its new iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 products. The iPhone 7 features the new A10 Fusion chip -- the most powerful ever in a smartphone, according to the company. The CPU fuses two high-performance cores that run twice as fast as the iPhone 6 with much more efficient use of battery power.
Pandora Plus Trades Ad Views for Extra Features
September 16, 2016
Pandora on Thursday launched Pandora Plus, a replacement for its $5-a-month Pandora One streaming music service. The 4 million Pandora One subscribers will be switched over to Plus, which will continue to offer ad-free listening at the same price. However, Pandora Plus also offers an opt-in video advertising feature that lets users skip or replay songs. Plus also has an offline mode.
Google Pursues Both Fiber and Wireless Broadband Ambitions
September 16, 2016
Google Fiber is reaching its tentacles into North Carolina's Research Triangle, a move that seems to contradict the gloom-and-doom rumors of layoffs and low consumer interest. The Triangle is Google Fiber's eighth incursion. It's already available in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri; Nashville, Tennessee; Provo, Utah; and Salt Lake City.
Adblock Plus Now Means Ad Blocking Plus Ads
September 15, 2016
Adblock Plus, together with partner ComboTag, on Tuesday launched the beta version of the Acceptable Ads Platform. AA is an interactive platform that pre-whitelists ads publishers and bloggers then can place on their sites. It will only contain only ads that abide by AA's criteria for size and labeling, and their placement will be governed by the AA rules.
iPhone 7 Draws Tepid Notices
September 15, 2016
The iPhone 7 may be Apple's best smartphone to date, but it's garnering lukewarm reactions from reviewers and pundits. The new iPhone's waterproofing and better battery life are welcome. Further, "the camera and speed improvements are nothing to sneeze at," wrote reviewer Andrew Cunningham, "but you'll need to buy into Apple's vision of the future" -- a world without buttons or wires.
Business Agility and the Platform
September 14, 2016
A common perception of business agility is that it revolves around quickness, especially quickness in the service of accelerating a deal or transaction. That's a good starting point, but agility actually goes deeper -- especially now that so many structural changes, like cloud computing and subscriptions, have turned up the dial on everyday business.
Samsung Catches a Small Break in Midst of Note7 Battery Pummeling
September 13, 2016
Samsung stock recovered slightly on Tuesday from the nosedive it took Monday, after regulators urged consumers to turn in more than 2.5 million Galaxy Note7 smartphones. Shares closed 4.2 percent higher on Tuesday, erasing some of Monday's $14 billion loss in market value. The FAA's alert came in response to a small number of reports of the phone's lithium ion batteries catching fire.
Apple Puts Its User-Friendly Stamp on Fancy iPhone 7 Cameras
September 9, 2016
Apple raised the ante for cameras in flagship phones with the announcement of its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Others already have taken the dual-camera approach to smartphone photography -- notably HTC, LG and Huawei. "While it's not the first dual camera mounted in a smartphone, it's on par with the others in terms of basic functionality," said Brian Blau, a research director for Gartner.
It's Time for Comcast to Get Off the Wireless Fence
September 8, 2016
Comcast tried to give wireless a go several years ago. It failed. It pulled out of wireless, sold its spectrum and was done. Now, wireless has expanded and changed, and competitors like AT&T's U-verse and DirecTV are using wireless to deliver television programming. I'll bet Comcast now wishes it never sold off its wireless spectrum. So, what can we expect from the company going forward?
Apple Hopes iPhone 7 Extras Will Make Up for Missing Headphone Jack
September 8, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday officially unveiled the iPhone 7 and iPhone Plus, confirming a rumor that has evoked widespread dread: The traditional headphone jacks are gone. The new iPhones are sleeker than their predecessors, though, as well as water resistant. Their biggest plus might be the advanced lenses in what Apple claims is the most sophisticated smartphone camera in the world.
American Bookworms Still Love Paper
September 7, 2016
The death of the printed book appears to have been greatly exaggerated. Nearly three quarters of participants in a recent Pew Research Center study said they had read a book in the last year, largely on paper. Of the more than 1,500 American adults who said they'd read a book in the last 12 months, nearly two thirds had read a print book. That's more than twice the number who had read an e-book.
Google's Russian Android Appeal Falls Flat
September 7, 2016
A Russian appeals court has rejected Google's appeal of a $6.75 million fine regulators imposed for anticompetitive behavior -- that is, for forcing mobile device vendors to put Google Play apps on the main screens of devices using the Android operating system. The Ninth Arbitration Appeal Court handed down its ruling last month, confirming the decision of Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service.
That Hissing Sound Is the Last Bit of Air Leaking From Apple's Balloon
September 6, 2016
Apple used to guard details about a new iPhone more closely than Fort Knox, but that doesn't seem to be the case any more. The shift has been glaring with the iPhone 7, slated for introduction on Wednesday. It's widely believed that the new iPhone has no headphone jack. Sound is piped to the user through a set of EarPods that connect to the phone through its Lightning port or a dongle.
Google Fiber's Long, Tough Road Is Full of Twists and Turns
September 6, 2016
Alphabet has been facing significant roadblocks in expanding Google Fiber into new U.S. cities, in part due to significant competitive and legal challenges from incumbent broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast. The companies currently are embroiled in a dispute over access to utility poles in Nashville, Tennessee, and the city council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a controversial proposal.
Sacking Jack May Anger iPhone Headphone Fans
September 3, 2016
Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak recently said removing the headphone jack in the next version of the iPhone is going to "tick off a lot of people." It's been rumored for months that Apple would be scrapping the 3.5 mm headphone jack in the iPhone 7 it's expected to unveil next week. Such a move, Wozniak said, could upset users who have invested in listening technology that uses the headphone jack.
Intel's Kaby Lake Chip Promises Deeper Internet Immersion
August 31, 2016
Facing a shrinking market for personal computers and a stalled market for tablets, Intel on Tuesday unveiled its 7th-generation processors, code-named "Kaby Lake," which deliver more speed and power than its 6th-generation chipsets, while improving battery efficiency. Intel has positioned the new Kaby Lake chipsets as ideal for the immersive Internet.
Snazzier Fitbits Sport Beefed-Up Feature Sets
August 30, 2016
Fitbit on Monday announced two new fitness trackers with sleeker looks, more durable construction and greater data-gathering capabilities. The Fitbit Charge 2, priced at $149.95, features continuous heart-rate tracking. It uses the data to generate a cardio fitness score and provides guidance for improving it over time. The Charge 2 displays real-time exercise stats.
WhatsApp Shaves Off a Little More Privacy
August 25, 2016
WhatsApp on Thursday announced an update to its terms and privacy policy -- the first in four years. Among other things, the changes will affect the ways users can communicate with businesses while continuing to avoid third-party banner ads or spam messages, according to the company. However, WhatsApp will begin to share some personal details about its 1 billion users with Facebook.
Google Cracks Down on Intrusive Mobile Ads
August 24, 2016
Google has announced that it soon will downgrade mobile pages in its search rankings if they carry ads that obscure content. Such ads "provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible," explained Doantam Phan, a product manager at Google. Techniques that reduce the accessibility of content include showing users a popup that covers the main content.
Google Fills Nexus Devices With Rich Nougat Features
August 23, 2016
Google on Monday began rolling out its long-awaited Android 7.0 Nougat release to Nexus smartphones and tablets. The new operating system became available as a beta release, known only as "Android N," earlier this year. The experiences of developers and other users led to more than 250 new features, including improved multitasking, stronger battery life and tighter security features.
Verizon Toys With Risky App Revenue Plan
August 23, 2016
Verizon's reported consideration of a plan to preinstall mobile apps from major retailers and financial firms on users' smartphones has drawn sharp criticism. The carrier reached out to numerous retail and finance brands with an offer to preload mobile apps on its Android phones for between $1 and $2 per device, according to unnamed ad agency executives.
From the Olympic Non-Robbery to Ford Getting Out of Cars, to Evil NSA: A Strange Week
August 22, 2016
There were three stories that caught my eye last week that I think deserve some additional discussion. One is the alleged robbery of U.S. Olympians followed by questions of whether it really happened because their phones weren't stolen. There may be a legitimate reason for that, and it's one that suggests a lot of folks will be getting huge cellphone bills next month.
Cloud Platforms and the Connected-Device Value Chain
August 17, 2016
Internet of Things cloud platforms offer device makers and companies the opportunity to greatly expand the value of products and services. These devices are reshaping the value chain by altering product design and development, manufacturing, marketing, supply chain management and service after the sale. They also generate new support activities, such as product data analytics and security.
Google Duo Aims to Make Video Calling Super-Easy
August 16, 2016
Google on Monday launched Google Duo, a one-on-one video calling app that runs on iOS and Android. The app will be available worldwide in the next few days, said Justin Uberti, principal software engineer at Google. Duo switches from cellular service to WiFi, and transitions from high-speed to lower speed wireless service smoothly, promising to let users continue video calls uninterrupted.
Tim Cook Devotes a Lot of Words to Saying Very Little
August 16, 2016
Tim Cook talked about his five years at the helm of Apple in a wide-ranging interview published Saturday. Apple fans looking for juicy morsels about new products won't find them in the Q & A, however. Among other things, Cook discounted the bleak claims of those analysts who maintain the smartphone market is in decline -- and Apple's fortunes with it.
Russian Regulators Scoop Apple Into Price-Fixing Probe
August 12, 2016
A Russian regulatory authority earlier this week named Apple, along with more than a dozen Russian retailers, as a target for an investigation into price-fixing activities. The Federal Antimonopoly Service, or FAS, has seen signs of price-setting coordination among iPhone resellers in Russia, according to a notice published on the agency's website.
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What do you think of politically inspired Internet memes?
They tend to be brutally honest about their targets.
They're usually cheap shots based on lies.
They're often stupid but amusing.
They can have a dangerous influence on uninformed people.
They don't impress me one way or the other.