tech in the spotlight
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 19, 2013 06:16 PM
Nobody likes a virus, unless you’re the evil warlord in a bad superhero film. Google, in particular, is no fan, and last month announced that it would put some of its copious cash where its mouth is and expand its Patch Reward Program for those who can identify and fix any bugs on its various platforms, such as Chrome. Now the company has added more platforms to the bug-bounty program, including any issues found on Android.
The internet gurus that successfully track down and eliminate bugs can make anywhere from $500 to, well, quite a lot. Just last week, a bug-bounty hunter by the name of Pinkie Pie dealt with “multiple memory corruption issues” and picked up $50,000. “The goal is very simple: to recognize and reward proactive security improvements to third-party open-source projects that are vital to the health of the entire Internet,” Google said in a statement.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 15, 2013 12:51 PM
It's no longer enough to just go for a run. Athletes and first-steppers alike are more data driven than ever, feeding off of fitness apps that tell them how many steps they've taken, their heart rate, calories burned and so on. After all, if it can be measured, it can be improved.
Following the runaway success of personal fitness trackers like Nike's FuelBand, main competitor Under Armour has announced that it has acquired MapMyFitness for about $150 million. It may not have cost UA too much, but the addition of the new technology will lift the company to a whole other level in the fitness business.
The one differentiator that will set UA apart (and perhaps above) competitors? MapMyFitness analyzes data from multiple mobile device brands and operating systems, unlike Nike's FuelBand, which works exclusively with Apple's iOS.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 4, 2013 01:42 PM
BlackBerry seems to have more than a few lives. The company that has had one foot in its grave for months now has been revitalized through an infusion of $1 billion from its largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings and “an unnamed group of institutional investors,” according to the New York Times.
After issuing a public plea last month, the mobile company announced that it was no longer on the market, cancelling out a plan that would have seen the company go private under Fairfax Financial for $4.7 billion. The company also announced that CEO Thorsten Heins would be stepping down and will be replaced by interim CEO John Chen, formerly of Sybase, a mobile software company, who will also serve as the executive chair of the company's board of directors. Fairfax CEO Prem Watsa will also join the company's board following the investment.
Despite the decision to not go private (for the moment)—which sent shares tumbling 16 percent—there are still entities that could make bids for BlackBerry, including a group that consists of co-founder Douglas Fregain and Qualcomm.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 1, 2013 09:29 AM
Kraft and McDonald's team to sell McCafe packaged coffee.
FAA lifts most rules against use of electronic devices on flights.
AT&T explores acquiring Vodafone, reports say, but European outcry over NSA involvement hurts brand.
Air France seeks deep overhaul of Alitalia.
Amazon produces two original drama pilots.
Apple launches iPad Air.
Bonobos expands with new women's brand.
Buffalo Wild Wings' new pricing and service model builds confidence.
Century 21 handles "haunted houses" in campaign.Continue reading...
social media watch
Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 30, 2013 11:31 AM
After two years of a less-than-impressive existence, Google is shining some much needed light on Google+, announcing 18 new features including updates to Hangouts and new tools for photo-buffs. Most impressive though, was the fact that the site now claims over 540 million active users who upload 1.5 billion photos per week.
It’s the search giant’s latest move to compete with and differentiate its social network from the likes of Facebook, Twitter and others.
"We want to be more than just a lightweight sharing service. We want to be the archive of your life," said Bradley Horowitz, Google+ VP Product Management.
To that end, Video Hangouts now include SMS so users can share via text, supports animated GIFs, and offers a one-click geo-location feature that adds a user's location to a message using Google Maps. Video Hangouts now appear in full-screen HD and a new suite of creative tools lets users change and focus the view while chatting in black and white, or use "Spotlight" to make the speaker the primary focus.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on October 29, 2013 11:07 AM
Even Apple is becoming vulnerable to the things that afflict most other companies. Its profits and margins slid despite selling 33.8 million iPhones in its September quarter, and the tech icon signaled a more challenging than usual holiday selling season ahead as well as slower going in China.
Apple stock slid after CEO Tim Cook on Monday outlined what Reuters called "unremarkable quarterly numbers" that prompted some disappointed investors to cash in on the stock. Apple has slid overall by more than 10 percent in the last year as concerns have grown about everything from its current slate of new products—such as the two new iPhones and iPads—to what it might or might not have up its sleeve for the future.
The company's main products, the iPhone and iPad, have been under increasing competitive pressure from rivals including Samsung and Amazon that sell cheaper devices that run on versions of Google's widespread Android operating system, USA Today noted. Even Nokia is reporting record Lumia sales, while BlackBerry this week saw a renewed sense of hope after its free BBM messaging app netted over 20 million downloads in its first week. All of that "has Wall Street scouring Apple's quarterly results for any sign the company is dropping prices at the expense of profit margins."Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 16, 2013 07:14 PM
Since George Jetson and James Bond strapped theirs on, the world has been waiting for an actual smartwatch to come onto the market. Wait no more, as Samsung and now Sony have released their respective versions, with a reported entry from Apple on the way.
Last month, Samsung revealed its $300 Galaxy Gear smartwatch and now Sony has come out with its Android-compatible SmartWatch2 along with a new phablet and phone.
The watches first appeared—along with the Qualcomm’s Too—at Shanghai’s Mobile Asia Expo this past June, but now the $199.99 dust-proof, water-resistant device is on sale to the public. Sony's second iteration has a 220 x 176 pixel screen and three to four days of battery life.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 16, 2013 04:42 PM
Much like how Apple is starting to seem like a luxury brand nowadays, Nike is looking a lot more like a tech brand than a sports apparel icon. And it's all because of one device: the Nike+ FuelBand. And now Nike’s nifty wrist-worn activity monitor has got itself an upgrade in the form of the more capable (and colorful) SE.
On sale Nov. 6, one of the $149 FuelBand’s new features, "Win the Hour," keeps track of movement throughout the day and continually reminds those who wear it that they need to get up and move around soon or they won’t “win” that hour. The "Win the Hour feature came from insight we saw in our data," Jenny Campbell, senior director at Nike Fuel and consumer knowledge, said in a promotional YouTube video. "Less than 2 percent of our FuelBand users were actually moving enough throughout the day. We saw that as a huge opportunity to develop a feature that would motivate them to move more."Continue reading...