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Embattled studio shift to mobile so far failing to gain traction
In conjunction with Zynga's quarterly results, new CEO Don Mattrick revealed that founder Mark Pincus is stepping down as chief product officer at the embattled game producer. Mattrick also announced that Alex Garden, ex-general manager of Xbox Live, has been hired as president of Zynga Studios.
New rules allow for paid faster access, prohibits blocking
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will circulate new "open" Internet regulations internally on Thursday. The new proposal will allow companies to pay Internet providers a fee for "special access" to customers and boosted speed of delivery of the paid content, on a "commercially reasonable" basis, paving the way for more deals like the one Comcast struck with Netflix. The FCC will determine what the terms will be on a case-by-case basis.
Dividends also to go up on an annual basis in moves to increase stock value
In a surprise announcement, Apple will do a 7:1 stock split on June 6, giving stockholders of record as of June 2 an additional six shares for every one share of stock they currently hold. Trading will resume on June 9 at the split-adjusted price, which CEO Tim Cook has said the company wants to be more affordable so that smaller investors can get into the stock. Given today's closing price of $524.75, the average price of a share would drop to $75 if the split were happening now.
Surprise news beats expectations
Former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts will be joining Apple as its retail head "next week," Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed today during the company's Q2 conference call. Ahrendts has been confirmed as making the switch since last year, but until now neither Apple nor Burberry would give an exact timeframe. In the interim Ahrendts has been helping Burberry transition to her successor, CCO Christopher Bailey.
Retail revenues virtually flat
As a part of announcing its second-quarter results, Apple has also posted a detailed breakdown (PDF), exposing further facts. They reveal for instance that Apple's iPad revenues dropped 13 percent year-over-year, shifting from roughly $8.7 billion to $7.6 billion. The company has typically seen continuous growth for the iPad, but units fell from just under 19.5 million to 16.3 million.
Records 43.7 million iPhones, 16.3 million iPads
Apple has posted $45.6 billion in revenues in its second fiscal quarter, up from $43.6 billion the same period a year ago. Net profits rose from $9.5 billion to $10.2 billion, or from $10.09 per share to $11.62. The company sold 43.7 million iPhones, an increase from the 37.4 million in Q2 2013. iPad sales came in at 16.3 million units, below a Wall Street consensus forecast of 19.7 million. The company also recorded 4.1 million Macs.
MagicPlay acts as bridge between Google Cast API and AirPlay
Google Play Music on Android can be used to stream music through AirPlay devices, thanks to a release from doubleTwist. MagicPlay: AirPlay for Android, downloadable from Google Play and works with the existing doubleTwist Player, will act as a bridge between Google's Cast API for streaming to the Chromecast and AirPlay, granting the music service AirPlay support.
Viber updates iPhone app, features iOS 7 redesign
Calling and messaging app, Viber, today has announced an update for its iPhone app featuring a redesign for iOS 7. Viber facilitates free world-wide calling and messaging over a WiFi or 3G connections to other Viber users, with calls made to non-Viber landlines and mobile numbers possible at low rates. Viber v4.2.0 features a revised aesthetic to compliment iOS 7, and the added ability to send up to 10 photos and videos at one time to reduce redundancy in file transfer. Users can now send longer video messages, and contacts can see when a user is typing a message to them from an Android tablet, Linux, Mac, PC, or Windows 8 device. Viber is free to download through iTunes for devices running iOS 6.0 or later.
Windows 8.1 could get Start Menu earlier than first thought
The Start Menu could be making its way back to Windows desktops in another Windows 8.1 update later this year, according to rumors. A second update for the operating system is apparently on the way, landing sometime in the third quarter of this year, and may see Microsoft bringing back the Start Menu before its expected return in the next version of Windows.
SunPower corporation tapped for funds, solar panels, installs
Google has announced a plan intended to boost solar energy adoption to residences in the US. In parallel with purchasing up to 407MW of wind energy from Iowa utilities, Google is parterning with SunPower Corporation, to create a $250 million fund to finance the purchase of residential rooftop solar systems and offer them to consumers at a cost said to be lower than monthly energy bills.
Retailer diversifies as game sales switch to downloads
US-based game retailer GameStop is planning to add 23 Simply Mac locations this year, and as many as 400 Spring Mobile and Cricket locations, says the Star-Telegram. The company bought out Simply Mac and Spring Mobile last year in an attempt to diversify its revenue. Simply Mac is an authorized Apple reseller, whereas Spring Mobile sells AT&T products; Cricket is based on the AT&T network. The expansion is expected to cost up to $140 million, based on a mix of buying existing outlets and constructing new ones. GameStop says it expects to add 200 to 250 Spring locations and 100 to 150 Cricket outlets.
How well does Samsung's new flagship smartphone compete?
The Samsung Galaxy S5 might be the phone that Android users have been craving for some time. Information coming out of Mobile World Congress painted the phone to be the next leap in innovation spearheaded by Samsung to breathe life back into their smartphones. From changes in the camera and adding pieces of technology to aid a healthy lifestyle, on top of a powerful set of internals, the phone has been set up by Samsung marketing to be the next must have phone for consumers at all levels. But is Samsung creating a phone that will indeed work for everyone, or are they stretching themselves too thin to cover so many ideas? Read our review and find out.
Company already said to be taking 40 percent of revenue from Apple
Analysts for two financial firms, Barclays and Morgan Stanley, are contending that Taiwanese firm Catcher Technology will supply metal casings for the next-generation iPhone. Both firms in fact expect Catcher's share of iPhone 6 casings to top 10 million units this year. Much of the argument is based on Catcher's existing involvement in the Apple supply chain; the firm is thought to produce casings for both the MacBook Pro and the iPhone 5s, to the degree that 40 percent of its revenue stems from Apple orders.
Clock icon on Google Street View shows earlier photographs of locations
Google has updated its online Maps service by adding the option to view earlier Street View imagery. Users of Google Maps can, in a number of locations, use previously-collected Street View photographs to explore an area, and be able to compare recent shots of the location with those from the same place dated from as far back as 2007.
Set-top could follow in footsteps of Amazon Fire TV
Code contained in iOS 7.1 and 7.1.1 suggests that Apple is planning to bring Siri to the Apple TV. A PLIST file for Assistant -- an internal Apple name for Siri -- includes the Apple TV lineup under its collection of supported devices. Notably, though, no Apple TV to date has included the microphone that would be needed for Siri.
Classic HBO shows heading to Prime Instant Video next month
Subscribers of Amazon Prime will be able to enjoy classic HBO shows in the near future, the retailer has revealed. At the same time, Amazon has announced HBO Go will be added to the company's Fire TV, allowing the streaming media box to show recently-broadcast programs as well as its archive of over 1,700 shows, original films, and specials.
Apple support pushes iOS 6 users to upgrade to iOS 7
Apple has released a minor update for the OS X version of FaceTime, v1.0.5. The patch is aimed directly at resolving connection problems some people have been experiencing, particularly in OS X Snow Leopard. The file is a 17.6MB download at the Mac App Store.
Galaxy K 10x optical zoom more than doubles phone thickness
Two more photographs of Samsung's alleged Galaxy K smartphone have surfaced, showing how far its zoom lens protrudes out of the back. The pair of images found on Baidu has the phone held inside a clear polycarbonate casing, with the lens extending outwards in three segments, spanning a larger distance on its own than the smartphone body's thickness.
WhatsApp reaches 500M monthly active users,700M photos shared daily
WhatsApp has hit a milestone of half a billion active users, the messaging service has announced. The 500 million-user figure is 50 million more than it reported in February, when it also announced it was being acquired by Facebook for a total of $19 billion in cash and shares, with the service now seeing 700 million photographs and 100 million videos being shared between users every day.
CyanogenMod-based smartphone has rear 13MP camera, replaceable covers
OnePlus has formally launched its first CyanogenMod-based Android smartphone, a device the company teased last week. The OnePlus One has a 5.5-inch 1920x1080-resolution display packed into a case that measures 8.9mm (0.35 inches) thick, weighs 162 grams (5.7 ounces), and will offer a variety of StyleSwap back covers including wooden and denim options.
Apple defends against Samsung charges, discloses secret deal
The biggest news in today's Apple vs Samsung patent trial was the previously-reported revelation of a secret deal between Google and Samsung in which the search and advertising giant not only agreed to indemnify Samsung if it lost on two of the patent claims in this trial, but that Google -- not Samsung -- was to "direct and control" litigation and defense on Samsung's behalf. The revelation, which Samsung had previously denied in court, will be used to diminish the Samsung claim that the case is really about Android.
Sony Smartwatch 2 updated, features customizable watch face editor
Sony has announced an update for its Android-based Smartwatch 2, adding a customizable watch face editor. Various widgets can be selected that include date, weather, calendar, Bluetooth, notifications, and more, with third-party developers welcomed to create new content. The Smartwatch 2 now has a built-in calculator app featured in the new update, as well as improved Gmail and Facebook apps. Featuring six new wallpaper options, the watch offers a new low-light double tap function that increases the display's brightness by thirty percent when touched. According to Sony's blog post, new options and further developments are on the horizon.
The search for a good messenger bag that doubles as a laptop bag is something many travelers find themselves facing at least once. Bet ...PenClic Bluetooth mouse
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