Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Moderators must be straight-forward, he can make decisions on what individuals are supposed to see; they also delete unwanted blogs, fix URLs and do lots of editing plus deleting unnecessary threads. He protects the public from unwanted content by using good judgment!

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Monday, June 4, 2012


"Freedom of Speech" Everyone has the ability to speak their mind without limitation. Yet, this has been questioned many times in different ways. In social media, freedom of speech is a widely accepted convenience wherein conversations are often not be restricted (or monitored)..Read More

Sunday, June 3, 2012


FACEBOOK ACCOUNT MODERATION Internet Business | By: Wendy Angela (06/03/12) Nowadays, people are living in the world of technology. There are invented tools present to assist people in solving problems for themselves; making their way of communication more accessible which grants them share their interests and pieces of information. People today commonly communicate by posting comments or blogs on their favorite sites or sending text messages from their mobile phones. Read More

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Facebook reportedly building phone with ex-Apple engineers

Among other murmurings of a Facebook smartphone, The New York Times reports the company is hoping to release the handset by next year.Interesting how the very week Google became a hardware maker with the closing of its acquisition of Motorola Mobility, there's talk of another Internet giant doing the same.Read More..

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Here comes Yahoo's own Web browser -- Axis

Yahoo's search group attempts to take control of its destiny by launching its own browser. Surprise: It's good.Yahoo is announcing tonight that it's getting into the browser business with its new Axis browser. There are versions for iPad and iPhone, and plug-ins for the desktop browsers Chrome, Firefox, IE, and Safari. The design goal, according to Ethan Batraski, head of product for the Search Innovation Group at Yahoo, is to eliminate the middle step in the usual Web search process: Enter a query, see the results, go to a page. With Axis, you're supposed to be able to go directly from query to page, skipping the step of surfing a sea of links. Read More..

Google will alert users to DNSChanger malware infection

Google is using a clever Domain Name System hack to let people infected with the DNSChanger malware know that they have only a few weeks left before their Internet connection goes dead.Google is about to begin an ambitious project to notify some half a million people that their computers are infected with the DNSChanger malware. Read More..

Monday, May 21, 2012

Intel vs. AMD: Who's got the fastest chip now?

Has AMD finally got Intel beat? Overall, the answer is no. Advanced Micro Devices new Trinity chip doesn't deliver the performance trifecta necessary to threaten Intel's market-leading position, according to most initial evaluations. It's an old story line now: AMD comes out with a new processor that offers better graphics performance, but, overall, does little to change Intel-AMD market dynamics -- which of course heavily favors Intel. Read More..

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pakistan blocks Twitter over 'blasphemous' images

The country implements the ban over concerns about a promotion involving posting images of the prophet Muhammad. Facebook has taken a more conciliatory approach.The Pakistani government blocked access to Twitter over potential "blasphemous" caricatures of the prophet Muhammad, according to several reports. Read More..

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Facebook's Saverin: I'm a 'global citizen,' not a tax dodger

Company co-founder who, it was recently revealed, renounced his U.S. citizenship says the decision had nothing to do with the blockbuster IPO and taxes.Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, who is simultaneously becoming one of the richer and more reviled people around, wants to set the record straight. Read More..

Nokia: Apple rigged Siri to name iPhone best phone

The Finnish phone maker is accusing Apple of intentionally altering Siri to change its pick for the best phone from the Lumia 900 to the iPhone. Is Apple purposely tweaking Siri to stack the deck in favor of the iPhone? Nokia certainly thinks so. Siri stirred up some controversy late last week in voicing its view on smartphones. When asked its recommendation of the best smartphone, Apple's voice assistant named Nokia's Lumia 900 the top dog.Read More..

Monday, May 14, 2012

Facebook mobile redesign makes photos three times larger

The redesign, which appears to be based on lessons learned by Instagram, aims to make users' photos appear larger in their news feeds than they were before.Facebook today unveiled a new mobile redesign aimed at making news feed photos up to three times larger on iOS, Android, and the social network's own mobile site. Read More..

Apple forced to change name of iPad Wi-Fi + 4G

It seems that international pressure sometimes works, as criticism of the iPad Wi-Fi + 4G name -- which in many countries isn't actually 4G, has finally caused a name change to iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular. Read More..

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Google+ for iPhone gets first big visual overhaul

The company has given its Google+ app for the iPhone a new coat of paint, replacing a design that didn't quite match up with its Web counterpart.If there's one thing to be said about Google+ for the iPhone (iTunes), it's that it hasn't looked as good as its Web counterpart. With an update today, Google is hoping to change people's opinions on that. Read More..

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Thousands of Twitter passwords exposed

It's unclear who's responsible for posting passwords for Twitter accounts to a public Web site. The exact number of accounts is also unclear, as Twitter says many are duplicates and many had already been suspended. Twitter is investigating the release of what appear to be thousands of user account passwords and e-mail addresses. Read More..

Monday, May 7, 2012

FBI: We need wiretap-ready Web sites - now

CNET learns the FBI is quietly pushing its plan to force surveillance backdoors on social networks, VoIP, and Web e-mail providers, and that the bureau is asking Internet companies not to oppose a law making those backdoors mandatory. The FBI is asking Internet companies not to oppose a controversial proposal that would require firms, including Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and Google, to build in backdoors for government surveillance. Read More..

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Frustrated advertisers to Facebook: Take our money -- please!

With Facebook's huge IPO getting nearer, this is the sort of news that Mark Zuckerberg doesn't need to hear just now. With a reach approaching 15 percent of the world's population, Facebook is a thriving media business. In the last quarter alone, it raked in more $1 billion in revenue, almost entirely from advertising. Read More..

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Asus PadFone

The good: The Asus PadFone has extremely snappy performance, fantastic battery life with the PadFone Station and PadFone Station Dock, and a sleek handset design. The bottom line: The Asus PadFone is a great idea and features fantastic battery life when combined with its accessories. However, while the concept is cool, users may find the entire combination bulky. Read More..

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Google Drive FAQ

Are you ready for a hard drive in the cloud? Do you have friends or family who are nagging you to explain it? Use our FAQ. Got questions about Google's new cloud storage product, Google Drive? Here are some answers. Got more questions? Add them in the comments or e-mail the author; we'll add to the story as needed. Read More..

Monday, April 23, 2012

Facebook buys AOL patents from Microsoft for $550M

The social network, closing in on what should be a mammoth IPO, is fattening up its patent war chest "to protect Facebook's interests over the long term." Facebook is paying Microsoft $550 million in cash for a chunk of the patent portfolio that Microsoft recently acquired from AOL. Read More

Monday, April 16, 2012

Microsoft makes Windows 8 name official, three editions only

Windows 8 is the official name of the next version of Windows client. Here are details on the three SKUs that are in the pipeline.
Those hoping for fewer Windows editions than in previous versions, your prayers have been answered.

It's official as of today, April 16: Windows 8 is the name for the next version of x86/64 edition of Windows. And there will be three SKUs only.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Place your bets on who Zuckerberg buys after Instagram

Bookmaker Paddy Power now has a book on just which company Facebook will swallow whole next. Might it be Foursquare? Or might it be Tumblr?
If Facebook is going to gamble its money, why shouldn't you?

Though we could have a lengthy mathematical discussion here about the varying merits of the exacta versus the trifecta, perhaps a quicker and more clinical bet would be on which company Facebook might buy, now that it has swallowed Instagram.

Read More..

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Google said to launch tablet via its own online store

The latest chatter on the debut of the Web giant's Android tablet is that users might be able to get their hands on them this year by way of an exclusive Google store.
The Google tablet is reportedly on the way and could be released this year, according to The Wall Street Journal. What is more, it could be sold in exclusive Google-only online stores.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Was the iPhone worth it for Sprint?

An early read from one analyst on the iPhone's performance at Sprint suggests limited benefits from the device, despite its blockbuster status.
Did Sprint Nextel really need the iPhone?

That's what one Wall Street analyst is asking after looking at the company's year-end performance, which Sprint disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday. The results show that a bulk of Sprint's customers would have joined the carrier regardless of whether the iPhone was available, and only a fraction of the customers would have left the service for the iPhone elsewhere. Sprint began carrying the iPhone in October.

Read More..

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Instagram for Android imminent: Now taking sign-ups

Android device users, get ready to join the Instagram fun. Makers of the popular photo-sharing app are now taking e-mail addresses for those who want to be "first in line."
Good news for Android users who've had to sit by the sidelines watching their iOS friends have all the Instagram fun: the company yesterday opened a sort of registration for Android users, giving them the chance to be "first in line" for the app made for Google's platform.
Read More..

Monday, March 19, 2012

Apple: 3 million iPads sold since launch

Apple says it sold 3 million iPads over the weekend, not counting preorders. That handily beats previous iPad launches, and puts it close to that of the iPhone 4S last year.

Read More..

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Does the new iPad have a heat problem?

Previous-generation iPads have had heat problems. But the new iPad may have a unique issue due to the larger battery and chip.
Heat has come up as an issue with previous generations of iPads. So, that's not news. But the new iPad may have, in select cases, its own unique heat problems.

User forum postings (here and here) and a report seem to point to heat as an issue for select users.

The problem area--based on forum links above--seems to be the a hot-spot in the lower left corner of the unit.

Read More..

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Should I buy iPhone 4S now or wait for iPhone 5?

The iPhone waiting game has begun. In this edition of Ask Maggie, I offer advice to a desperate iPhone 3GS devotee on whether he should hold out for the iPhone 5.
It's that time of year again, when anxious smartphone shoppers flood my inbox with questions about whether they should buy the current iPhone now or wait for the new version.
And with good reason. No one wants to be the dupe who buys the older version of a product a week before the latest model is introduced. In this edition of Ask Maggie, I advise a reader who recently lost his iPhone 3GS to the smartphone gods about whether he should buy an iPhone 4S now or wait another three to six months for the new iPhone to be introduced.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Apple's Siri not as smart as she looks, lawsuit charges

A new lawsuit seeking class action says Siri doesn't work anywhere near as well as Apple's TV ads suggest.
Apple's been a little overzealous in the way it's advertised Siri, the voice assistant feature found on the company's latest iPhone, a new lawsuit claims.

iPhone 4S buyer Frank Fazio says the software feature simply didn't work like it did in Apple's television advertising. And now he's suing Apple in the Northern District of California.

"Promptly after the purchase of his iPhone 4S, [Fazio] realized that Siri was not performing as advertised," Fazio's complaint states. "For instance, when [Fazio] asked Siri for directions to a certain place, or to locate a store, Siri either did not understand what Plaintiff was asking, or after a very long wait time, responded with the wrong answer."

Continue Reading..

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The iPad HD: Is This How Apple Will Own the Living Room?

Put aside the rumors of streaming TV service or an Apple HDTV set. The company’s real play for the living room might be right under your nose — in the form of the iPad.

In the biography Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson quoted the Apple co-founder and CEO as remarking: “I finally cracked it.” The “it” was a fully-integrated wireless television set that could sync content and was extremely easy to use. Since the book was published, that quote has led to widespread conjecture about what an Apple iTV could look like.

Continue Reading..

Monday, February 20, 2012

Why Apple is winning

Apple is on a tear: shares up over $100 in a month, big product launches looming and a massive untapped market of tablet and computer buyers. Here's why it won't slow down anytime soon.
Call this column "confessions of a reformed Apple hater." I've spent the better part of my career insisting that Apple products were not for me--this after my first job in tech was reviewing them for the now-defunct Mac Home Journal. The company was too controlling, the prices too high, the forced upgrade march too abusive, the closed system too limiting.

Now, just a week ago, I traded in my fourth Android phone (a Samsung Galaxy Nexus) for an iPhone 4S, which just about completes the cycle of Apple in my life. I bought a MacBook Air to replace a balky HP laptop running Windows Vista. I own an iPad because, well, what other tablet would I own? I have an iPod Touch almost solely to power a Bose sound system (and because I wanted to Facetime with my son back before I had the iPhone). And the other day, when my mom was complaining about startup times, printing, and wireless networking, the words, "you should get a Mac" were out of my mouth before I could stop them.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Apple MacBook Air Patented; Beware, Ultrabook Makers

Apple was just awarded 19 patents, one of which is for the design of the MacBook Air.

In theory, Apple could leverage its patent on the Air to try and block manufacturers of other light, thin laptops from marketing their products in the U.S.

The patent, No. D654,072, refers to an “ornamental design for an electronic device,” and lists Steve Jobs as one of its inventors. While the term “MacBook Air” isn’t cited, the drawings of a laptop with tapered design is unmistakable.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Facebook Graffiti Artist Could be Worth $500 Million

Last week Evelyn Rusli and I wrote about the people who are set to get rich from Facebook's coming initial public offering of stock. The most startling was David Choe, a graffiti artist who chose Facebook stock instead of cash when he spray-painted the first Facebook offices in 2005.

Although Mr. Choe declined several requests for an interview while I was reporting the story, he took to the airwaves on Tuesday as a guest on The Howard Stern Show to discuss his windfall.

Read More..

Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock to step down

Yahoo's undergoing more changes at its top, with a reshuffling of its board of directors.

In a letter to shareholders today, Yahoo's chairman of the board, Roy Bostock, said that along with fellow board members Vyomesh Joshi, Arthur Kern, and Gary Wilsonhe, he would not seek re-election this year.

Bostock added that to help fill the gap, the board has hired Alfred Amoroso and Maynard Webb Jr. to serve as independent directors. Amoroso was previously the president and CEO of Rovi. Webb previously served as CEO and currently serves as chairman of LiveOps.

Bostock's plans for announcing his departure were reported earlier today by All Things Digital.

Read more here;topStories

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Why Apple's A5 is so big--and iPhone 4 won't get Siri

Apple's A5 processor includes noise-reduction circuitry licensed from a start-up called Audience, and a chip analyst believes that fact resolves an iPhone 4S mystery and explains why the iPhone 4 lacks the Siri voice-control system.

Audience revealed details of its Apple partnership in January, when it filed paperwork for an initial public offering (IPO) of stock. Teardown work from iFixit and Chipworks revealed a dedicated Audience chip in the iPhone 4, but the iPhone 4S integrates Audience's "EarSmart" technology directly into the A5 processor, the company's S-1 filing said.

The details answered a question that Linley Group analyst Linley Gwennap had about the A5 chip that powers the iPhone 4S: why is it so big? Larger processors are more expensive and can consume more power, and chip designers strive to trim every last square millimeter from their designs.

"Even after accounting for the dual Cortex-A9 CPUs and the large GPU that provides the A5 with industry-leading 3D graphics performance, the remaining die area seems too large for the usual mundane housekeeping logic," Gwennap said in a report yesterday. "To reduce system cost and eliminate the extra package required for the Audience chip, Apple cut a deal to integrate the noise-reduction technology directly into its A5 processor, which appears in the iPhone 4S."

Audience also said in its filing that its iPhone 4-era technology was good only when the phone was held near the speaker's mouth. Audience's noise-reduction technology built into the iPhone 4S is better, though.

Read More..;topStories

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Windows Phone 8 details reportedly leak

The next big iteration of its Windows Phone platform appears to address many of the early concerns and brings it to par with competing platforms. Microsoft is still fighting an uphill battle in getting its phones--which have been critically praised--into the hands of consumers. So far, consumers have by far favored Android smartphones and the iPhone.

The version, codenamed Apollo, will allow vendors more choice with how they build their phone, going back on Microsoft's previous insistence upon using a standard set of specifications. That allows the handset manufacturers to better compete and stand apart from each other with varying levels of specs.

The platform will add support for multicore processors--at a time when Android devices are already moving to quad-core chips--four different screen resolutions, a removable microSD card, and near-field communication, crucial for mobile payments.
Windows Phone 8 will also integrate with the Windows 8 desktop and tablet operating system. The hope is developers can take chunks of their code for one platform and move it to the other. Pocketnews said the company expects 100,000 apps to be available at launch, which it pegged to the fourth quarter. Windows Phone 8 will add native code support, allowing for apps that are more integrated into the devices. Skype may also play a bigger role in the operating system.

Possibly taking a swipe at Research In Motion's shrinking share for its BlackBerrys, Microsoft is adding more business-friendly features such as encryption and allowing companies to build their own proprietary apps into the phone.

The new platform will also be designed to better handle data traffic, opting to go to Wi-Fi and using proxy servers to feed pages to Internet Explorer 10, similar to how Opera Mini can achieve faster browsing times.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Nobody wanted MegaUpload busted more than MPAA

Contrary to recent media reports, the FBI did not arrest MegaUpload founder Kim DotCom after being pressured by managers at the four major record companies, who supposedly feared DotCom would launch an unlicensed music service, sources close to the investigation told CNET.

Numerous film and music industry sources have discussed some of the events that preceded the January 19 raid in New Zealand on DotCom's home. What becomes clear is that two years ago, when the FBI began investigating the cyberlocker service, the film studios were far more intent on taking down MegaUpload than their counterparts at the music labels.

In addition, records show that when the FBI began its investigation, MegaUpload had yet to approach the music labels about MegaBox. Meanwhile, over at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the trade group representing the six top Hollywood film studios, MegaUpload "was at the very top of the piracy pyramid," said Kevin Suh, the MPAA's senior vice president of content protection, in an interview this week with CNET.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the trade group for the four largest record labels, also spoke to the FBI about MegaUpload but provided little information outside of listing the pirated songs available on the site, sources said. At the time, the RIAA was much more focused on its court fight with file-sharing service LimeWire, which it eventually won. LimeWire was forced to shut down operations in 2010.

Hollywood had more motivation to try to get the federal government to crack down on MegaUpload, say film industry sources.

MegaUpload was for a period the 13th most-trafficked site on the Web. In the company's five-year history, it claims to have seen more than 1 billion visitors. The U.S. government alleges that the company banked more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and cost copyright owners more than $500 million in damages.


Petition tells Apple: We want an 'ethical' iPhone 5

A new online petition is demanding that Apple clean up its act overseas in time to make its next iPhone "the first ethical iPhone."

Watchdog group SumOfUs last week put up a petition asking Apple to "make the iPhone 5 ethically," referring to the company's use of overseas manufacturing from companies such as Foxconn, which have recently come under fire for their working conditions and practices.

The petition, which the group says garnered more than 35,000 signatures in its first 24 hours, asks Apple to "overhaul the way its suppliers treat their workers," ahead of the release of its next smartphone, which is expected later this year.

"Can Apple do this? Absolutely," the petition reads. "According to an anonymous Apple executive quoted in The New York Times, all Apple has to do is demand it, and it'll happen."
Overseas manufacturers came under fire last week with a pair of investigative stories published by The New York Times that lambasted Apple for poor worker labor and safety issues in its supplier facilities, as well as using cut-throat business practices that prohibited those manufacturers from making improvements.

Apple did not respond to the reports in the press, though an internal memo from Apple CEO Tim Cook that leaked last week argued to employees that "any suggestion that we don't care is patently false and offensive to us."

"If Tim Cook is really offended by these allegations, why isn't he doing anything to fix the problems?" Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director of SumOfUs, asked in a statement. "This is the supply chain he set up as COO--he needs to start taking responsibility, not blaming the messenger."

This is the latest in a series of petitions targeting Apple, though it is less product-focused. One that launched early last year called on the company to remove a homophobic application from the App Store, a move that resulted in it getting pulled. Two others just a few months ago took aim at the company for the Siri voice assistant application on the iPhone 4S not being able to direct users towards an abortion clinic, which Apple referred to as a "glitch."


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lenovo's plan to take over the world...eventually

LAS VEGAS--Lenovo wants to be the No. 1 personal-technology company in the world, but it plans to get there on its own time.

At this year's CES, the Chinese maker of laptop and desktop systems debuted more than 20 new products: There were plenty of more traditional systems, an Android smart TV and a pair of ultrabooks. But most interesting are the new IdeaPad Yoga tablet/laptop hybrid designed with Windows 8 in mind, and an Android smartphone--the K800--with Intel's Medfield Atom processor and enough power to rival Samsung's Galaxy Nexus.

There's just one more thing--we won't see the most notable of these devices on store shelves here in North America anytime soon.

The K800, a snappy but thick phone running Lenovo's Clover UI on top of Android, has garnered plenty of attention in the last 24 hours here in Las Vegas, but it's actually the flagship phone of a half-dozen models rolling out in China next month. Lenovo's product people wouldn't even begin to speculate about when any of the phones might migrate across the Pacific, saying only that it was "important to learn in China first."

Indeed, although China might not be the best place to learn about dealing with North American carriers.

The Yoga, which folds itself inside-out to convert from a thin laptop to a de facto tablet running Windows 8--you might call it the Redmond salutation pose--is destined for these shores, but the timing is contingent on the release of Windows 8. Lenovo Vice President Luis Hernandez told me the Yoga is compatible with Windows 7, but clearly designed for the integrated touch-screen experience promised in Windows 8.

World domination via multiple screens
Lenovo has built a reputation for making solid systems for business, but Hernandez says the company's goal is nothing short of becoming "the number one personal technology company in the world." For now, the IBM descendant seems eager to re-pave a path to such world domination by rolling out a cloud strategy and every imaginable screen to access it.

Lenovo's take on the cloud involves lots of syncing between devices and a remote control feature that easily "throws" content between your phone, tab and TV. Nothing groundbreaking, but the execution is nice.

"We understand our users need more than just the traditional keyboard and screen for a truly satisfying digital experience. Our Personal Cloud vision integrates all devices, from tablets to TVs, for a comprehensive mobile Internet experience anytime, anywhere," Liu Jun, senior vice president, said in a statement released at the start of CES.

Lenovo isn't yet prepared to make all those screens available in this hemisphere just yet--the smartphones and smart TVs are China-only for the time being--but perhaps there's no hurry. As anyone who's ever played Risk knows, the game is never won in one night, and you've gotta have control of China and Kamchatka to have a prayer of taking over the world.

Read more:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Microsoft exec: iPhone prompted Windows Phone redesign

The Microsoft executive who oversees software design for Windows Phone admitted that the mobile operating system was redesigned in response to Apple's iPhone.

"Apple created a sea change in the industry in terms of the kinds of things they did that were unique and highly appealing to consumers," Joe Belfiore told The New York Times. "We wanted to respond with something that would be competitive, but not the same."
Despite being an early player in the smartphone sector, Microsoft's effort was hobbled by software that featured complex on-screen menus that borrowed design cues from its desktop cousin. As insiders tell the newspaper, once the iPhone appeared on the scene, Microsoft executives knew that their OS would not be able to compete as designed.

After a seven-hour meeting called by mobile engineering chief Terry Myerson to discuss the fate of its mobile OS, the management team for the mobile group decided there wasn't much in Windows Mobile worth saving.

"We had hit bottom," Myerson, who was recently promoted to run the company phone business, told the Times. "That frankly gives you the freedom to try new things, build a new team and set a new path."

The team concluded that it was necessary to start over from scratch, a decision longtime Microsoft manager Charlie Kindel compared to hiker Aron Ralston's decision, depicted in the movie "127 Hours," to amputate his own arm after a boulder fell on it.

"This boulder comprised of Apple and BlackBerry rolled on our arm," he said. "Microsoft sat there for three or four years struggling to get out."

The time it would take for Microsoft to redesign its mobile operating system would prove costly, allowing Google to gain huge market share. In the third quarter of 2010, when Windows Phone 7 handsets were introduced, Microsoft's mobile OS held 9 percent of the smartphone market, behind RIM's BlackBerry (33.5 percent), Google's Android (26 percent), and Apple's iOS (25 percent). A year into Microsoft's turnaround effort, its share of the mobile OS market has dwindled to 5.2 percent, while Android now controls 46.9 percent.

Microsoft hopes to recapture some of that lost luster with the expected launch of the Nokia Lumia 900 at CES this week. The two companies are reportedly planning to spend $200 million on marketing in the U.S. to promote the upcoming lineup of Windows Phone 7 handsets.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Why 3-D TV still hasn't caught on

3-D television was heralded as the breakthrough technology of the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show. Hot on the heels of James Cameron's eye-opening Avatar, 3-D HDTVs were everywhere on the show floor.

One year later, at CES 2011, 3-D was back again -- this time iterating. We saw bigger 3D HDTVs, 3-D displays that didn't require special glasses, and camcorders that captured 3-D content.

But where is 3-D now? It's certainly not showing up big on our CES 2012 radar, and now looks like over-hyped technology in hindsight -- especially to those of us who always thought 3-D's natural home was in the movie theater, not the living room.

Indeed, a variety of obstacles -- high prices, a lack of 3-D content, and uncomfortable viewing experiences -- have kept 3-D TV adoption in the single digits nationwide. Manufacturers and content providers are working to address these issues, but one has to wonder if 3-D was nothing but a flash in the CES pan -- a technology story rather than anything consumers actually wanted.

In 2010, consumers purchased a paltry 1.1 million 3-D TV units, and although sales have grown in the two years since, the widespread 3-D fervor that TV manufacturers were anticipating never took root.

According to a January Display Search report, just more than 23 million 3-D TVs were shipped in 2011 worldwide, with only 3.6 million shipped in the U.S.

Display Search analyst Paul Gagnon says that U.S. household penetration for 3-D TVs is at about 3%. "To be fair, 3-D TVs have only been available for sale in a significant way for about 18 months, so that's why the penetration is so low," Gagnon says. "That said, it's still lower than what many in the industry had hoped for."

Markets like China and western Europe are seeing far more enthusiasm for 3-D TV than in North America, but worldwide adoption is still likely less than 2%.

So what's to blame?

The content, for one.

"We have disappointed our audience multiple times now, and because of that I think there is genuine distrust -- whereas a year and a half ago, there was genuine excitement, enthusiasm and reward for the first group of 3-D films that actually delivered a quality experience," Dreamworks animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

After "Avatar," a string of unsuccessful, rushed-to-market 3-D flicks -- we're looking at you, "Clash of the Titans" -- zoomed to theaters hoping to cash in on the craze. Moviegoers were left with a bad taste in their mouths (and oftentimes headaches, too, as 3-D viewing can cause eyestrain). Since then, better-quality 3-D films like "Tron: Legacy," and, more recently, "Tin Tin" and "Hugo," have tried to improve 3-D's image. Meanwhile, small-screen content providers have branched out to provide live and on-demand 3-D offerings.

Currently, there are 55 3-D channels worldwide, including ESPN 3-D. Another 35 channels offer 3-D content on-demand.

If content and a disillusioned audience are the biggest problem, that's bad news for manufacturers: They have zero control over the content side of the equation.

To this end, 3-D TV manufacturers are doing whatever they can to make the 3-D viewing experience as pleasing and trouble-free as possible. This includes doing away with uncomfortable, unattractive 3-D glasses, which have also been cited in studies as barriers to consumer adoption. LG, for one, has announced it's making 3-D glasses that are lighter and more stylish.

But even handsome 3-D specs can't mitigate the headaches and fatigue suffered by some viewers of 3-D content, or the high prices of 3-D TVs.

So, yes, 3-D TVs are expensive. And they can cause headaches. And they aren't supported by a lot of quality content. All of which begs the question: Who's buying these things at all?

The existing sales, however paltry, can be attributed to consumer desire to purchase high-end TVs. Consumers don't really want 3-D specifically, but if they want that priciest, top-of-the-line unit, they'll receive 3-D capability whether they like it or not. "Sometimes consumers are even unaware [that they're getting a 3-D set] at the time of purchase," Futuresource Consulting's Fiona Hoy said.

Whatever the reason for purchase, the most recent studies indicate consumers are slowly warming up to 3-D. An October report from the Digital Entertainment Group found that the majority of 3-D TV owners say the experience is positive: 88% of those surveyed rated 3-D picture quality positively, and 85% of those 3-D TV owners prefer to watch more than half of their programming in 3-D.

As prices come down, more content becomes available, and 3-D glasses improve (or are replaced by glasses-free technology), 3-D TV adoption will only increase. Whether we reach the near 50% adoption rates that have been projected for 2014 and 2015 is yet to be seen. But whether you like it or not, 3-D does not appear to be in its death throes just yet.

Yes, we'll see new 3-D displays and accessories at CES next week, but you can rest assured the manufacturers' over-reaching hype campaigns are over.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Verizon doubles iPhone sales over last quarter

Verizon had a happy holiday thanks to the Apple iPhone.

The company's wireless unit sold 4.2 million iPhones in the fourth quarter, Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said during an investor conference. The figure was more than double the number of iPhones sold in the previous quarter.

The figure underscores the enduring popularity of the phone and the importance of the device to each of the carriers, even if it is available now on three national carriers. Verizon considers it an important tool for convincing basic phone users to upgrade to a smartphone and pricier data plan.

The sales jumped thanks to the introduction of the iPhone 4S in October. Prior to the launch, Apple saw disappointing iPhone sales figures as consumers held off on buying the device until the new model arrived. Verizon said it ended the year with a backlog of 120,000 iPhone orders.

Adding the fourth-quarter figure, backlog, and sales from the rest of the year, and Verizon said it sold nearly 11 million iPhones in 2011.

As with the other carriers, the success of the iPhone comes at a cost to Verizon. The more iPhones it sells, the larger hit it takes on the upfront subsidy it must pay to Apple to keep the phone at $199. Shammo said the iPhone would cut gross margins by 500 to 600 basis points.

The carriers have been largely happy to take the margin hit because it leads to customers who pay more and stay with the service longer.

Verizon Wireless is jointly owned by Verizon and Vodafone Group.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Rumored three iPad model lineup could cut entry price to $299

The rumored expansion of iPad models this year may reduce the price of entry for owning an Apple tablet, if a new report is to be believed.

Despite having its report on Apple planning to triple its iPad lineup this year firmly rebuffed by many onlookers, Taiwan-based tech site DigiTimes today reiterated that assessment, also claiming that the change could bring big price cuts at the low end.

In a research report issued earlier today, the site once again asserted that Apple plans to expand its lineup of iPads by adding models that serve the "high-end segment" and "the midrange," while continuing to offer the iPad 2.

"With the existing iPad 2, the Apple tablet series may cover all price segments--from entry-level to high-end. Apple's pricing strategy for its iPad series is crucial to the tablet market. It remains to be seen at what price level Apple will set its entry-level iPad. For Wi-Fi-only models, U.S. $299, U.S. $349 or U.S. $399 may all be possible," the outlet said.

A $299 iPad has been available before, but there were caveats galore. It was Apple's first-generation device, and it only sold at fire sale prices through third-party carrier stores following the introduction of Apple's second-generation model.

Since then, competitors have emerged, including and its Kindle Fire, which made waves near the end of last year, selling for $199. While not sporting as big of a display, and missing a handful of hardware features found on the iPad, it sells for less than half the price of Apple's current entry-level iPad, with reports pegging sales at 1 million units a week during December.

Apple has maintained the same pricing structure since the introduction of the iPad in 2010, offering Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G models of the tablet at different pricing tiers for its 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models. The entry-level 16GB model with Wi-Fi starts at $499, with each additional tier of storage, plus optional 3G networking, tacking on costs scaling up to $829.

One important consideration is the cost of producing the iPad. A teardown of the iPad 2 by IHS-owned iSupply last year estimated the total cost of Apple's two 32GB models to start at $326.60, with manufacturing costs pushing that total north of $333. iSuppli lists the LCD screen as the most expensive part of the tablet, at $127. Costs could have certainly come down between then and now, but Apple is expected to be utilizing panels with considerably higher pixel density in the next iPad, something that does not come cheap.

Apple has been known to make considerable price cuts on its products, though such moves have been few and far between. The shortlist includes the $200 price cut on the original iPhone, a move that came a little more than two months after its introduction and infuriated early buyers, leading to Apple offering iTunes gift cards as an apology. There was also the $500 price cut on the solid-state version of its first-generation MacBook Air.

The suggested iPad price cut comes alongside price reductions on two high-profile tablets in recent days, with Sony knocking $100 off the price of its S series tablet over the weekend, and Research In Motion dropping the price of its entire line of PlayBook tablets to $299, down from its $499 starting point.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Hackers get iOS apps to run full-screen on Apple TV

While you were buying the New Years bubbly and party horns, hackers were busy this weekend figuring out how to run iOS apps natively on Apple TV--and in full screen.

Dublin-based hacker and iOS developer Steven Troughton-Smith--known for getting Siri to work on an iPhone 4 and iPod Touch and even somewhat on an iPhone 3GS--says over the past couple days he and a fellow hacker have managed to get a jailbroken second-generation Apple TV to run iOS apps in full screen at 720p.

The hack, first reported by 9to5Mac, isn't publically available and is considered more of a proof of concept at this time. He says it was done using a custom springboard written by Nick@TheMudKip on a jailbroken Apple TV.

"Nick had written this amazing window manager for the iPad that replaced the entire homescreen, allowing you to run multiple apps side by side, and I realized this could enable iOS apps on the AppleTV for the first time," Troughten-Smith told CNET, adding that he hasn't heard a thing from Apple. "We've spent the past 2 days modifying everything to work really well on the AppleTV screen size, etc, and getting apps to run."


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sony slashes Tablet S price, signaling trend

Sony has knocked $100 off the price of its S series tablet, another sign that non-Apple tablet pricing is trending downward.

The 16GB Tablet S is now $400, reduced from $500, while the 32GB model got cut to $500 from $600.

Specs include a 9.4-inch 1280x800 display, front and rear cameras, Android Honeycomb, 1GB system memory, and eight hours of rated battery life.

Sony is by no means is the first to wield an ax on pricing. RIM's BlackBerry Playbook is the most extreme recent example of tablet price deflation. The PlayBook has been selling--depending on the week--for $300 off its original price.

But Android tablet (the PlayBook uses the BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet operating system) prices are also trending downward from their rarified $700-$800 price tier 2-year-contract-only beginnings.

Consumer 10-inch Android tablets like the 16GB Lenovo IdeaPad K1 Tablet (Wi-Fi only) and 16GB Acer Iconia (Wi-Fi) are priced relatively low from the get-go, now listed at $319.99 and $359.99, respectively at Best Buy. And the 16GB Toshiba Thrive (Wi-Fi) and the 16GB Asus Eee Pad Transformer (Wi-Fi) are both $400.

Is that low enough to trigger significant consumer demand for a 10-inch class tablet? Only the tablet suppliers know for sure but Amazon and Barnes and Noble are not making it any easier by releasing 7-inch tablets for $199 and $249, respectively. The Kindle Fire, in particular, is seeing very strong demand.

Alas, Apple, so far, is pretty much immune to the price pressure impacting mere mortal tablet makers. Ranging from $499 to $829, Apple still sells over ten million tablets per quarter.

Verizon apparently didn't get that memo, though. The carrier just released the Motorola XyBoard priced between $529.99 and $729.99 with a two-year contract (and as much as $899.99 without a contract).