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Custom Android branches by each company responsible for boosts
Following reports of Samsung rigging benchmarking scores on its Galaxy S 4 flagship device and Galaxy Note 3 phablet, the entire speed-testing process for Android devices has come under some fire by enthusiast websites. It has been discovered that most, if not all, of the Android device manufacturers -- including Samsung, HTC, and Asus -- are guilty of artificially boosting benchmarking results by identifying the benchmark application by name, with the phone OS branch customized to then have the processor to run, and stay, at maximum speed possible for the duration of the tests.
Despite generous shareholder dispersals, company still mega-profitable
Such is the level of Apple's success in making its mobile device, Mac and even its "hobbies" profitable that despite a $60 billion stock buyback program and additional billions given out in dividends, the company continues to make bank faster than it can disperse its capital. According to a new report from Moody's, Apple has at least $147 billion in reserves unencumbered by debt, accounting for about 10 percent of all the cash held by non-financial US companies.
New models boosted with Haswell, improved battery life, better video
In addition to today's reveal of the new Dell Venue tablets, Dell is introducing new XPS laptops, each with enhanced displays over previous models. Released today are the new XPS 11 2-in-1 tablet convertible device, and a refreshed XPS 15 multimedia laptop. Dell is also upgrading its XPS 13 Ultrabook with faster processors, touch Full HD (1920 x 1080) display and improved battery life.
Parents had given children access to password; Apple refunds anyway
The "twin" problems developers targeting children with in-app purchases and parents who give children their iTunes password -- failing to grasp that it is tied to their credit card on file -- has yet again resulted in an excessive bill tied to in-app game purchases. In the latest case, a British six-year-old twin boy and girl were able to buy $1,590 worth of virtual pets and clothing across two different games. The father has called for tougher legislation for in-game app purchases.
FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Pro Advanced available in buy-one-get-one offer
Today, FileMaker announced a promotional offer for customers purchasing FileMaker 12 Pro or FileMaker12 Pro Advanced. Under the terms of the deal, purchasers can receive a second downloadable copy of the software for free. FileMaker Pro 12 (priced at $300) and FileMaker Pro 12 Advanced ($500) allow users to easily create and use database-based custom business programs for iOS, Windows and Mac OS X, as well as for the web applications. Also included with purchase is the FileMaker Training Series, tutorial software consisting of self-paced learning materials that outline the essentials of FileMaker software. FileMaker Pro can be downloaded from the company's website, with the 'buy one get one' promotion ending October 23.
Company may be selling off real estate prior to ownership transfer
BlackBerry has had a mixed day of news -- the same day it announced that it has to take a larger-than-expected $400 million write-down for its 4,500 layoffs (which was expected to only cost $100 million), reports have surfaced that there are additional suitors for the company. Private equity firm Cerberus, specializing in beleaguered company acquisitions, is reportedly looking at bidding for the company -- complicating the bid by Fairfax Financial. Should the bid collapse, Fairfax would be owed over $100 million by BlackBerry.
FaceTime, iTunes Match, other iCloud features briefly affected
Several of Apple's online services were briefly impacted by outages earlier today, according to Apple's System Status page. The worst affected the iTunes Store, the iBookstore, and the Mac and iOS App Stores between 1:28 and 2:57PM Eastern time, preventing some people from making any purchases. During the same time period, people may have been unable to use iTunes in the Cloud or iTunes Match, or restore purchases from an iCloud backup.
New markets range from Florida to Washington
AT&T has announced the latest cities to receive LTE coverage as the company continues to deploy its 4G network across the US. The rollout arrives in 11 cities for the first time, while the coverage footprint has been expanded in another 11 cities that previously had limited availability.
May bring tablets close to parity with iPhone 5s
The fifth-generation iPad and the second-generation iPad mini may both be upgrading to an 8 megapixel rear camera, says KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Both iPad lines are currently stuck with a 5 megapixel camera, similar to the one on the iPhone 4. Kuo further suggests that the new tablets will be capable of larger apertures, potentially putting them on par with the iPhone 5s.
Leaked promotional materials show improved display, altimeter
Promotional material for a future Fitbit device has surfaced, showing the company as creating another wrist-based fitness tracker. The Force, mimicking much of the style of the Fitbit Flex, appears not to stray too far from the path of its predecessor, but this time the tracking watch will have an altimeter and an updated display.
Owner accused of murder-for-hire scheme
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has allegedly arrested the owner of the Silk Road service, known for its use by black-market drug sellers. A copy of the criminal complaint filed against Ross Ulbricht accuses him of a number of charges, including narcotics trafficking conspiracy, computer hacking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Attempts to access the Tor site encounter a takedown notification with logos from the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Justice, Department of the Treasury, Homeland Security and the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Android offerings sold alongside Windows 8.1 devices
Dell has made a surprise return to the Android platform with its latest tablet introductions, the Venue 7 and Venue 8. Not to be confused with the Venue "Pro" variants, which run Windows 8.1, the basic Venue tablets are powered by Intel's latest Atom processors and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.
Choice between Bay Trail, Core i-series hardware
As part of Dell's renewed push into the tablet market, the company has unveiled a 10.8-inch model that serves as a convertible device powered by Windows 8.1. Several internal configurations are available for the Venue 11 Pro, ranging from Intel's 2.4GHz quad-core Bay Trail processor to a 1.6GHz Core i5 chip.
Dell delves back into consumer tablet arena
Dell's new Venue 7 and Venue 8 tablets mark the company's return to the consumer tablet arena, after a long hiatus following an unsuccessful attempt with the Streak series. The new Android tablets will be sold alongside the company's Windows 8.1-powered Venue "Pro" tablets. Electronista had a chance to try out the new tablets at Intel's Developer Forum conference last month in San Francisco.
Safari update brings parity with version in Mavericks
Apple is distributing new pre-release builds of iTunes, Safari, Java, and the OS X 10.8.5 Supplemental Update amongst employees, a report says. The Supplemental Update is said to have reached build 12F45, as opposed to the 12F42 code seen during an initial leak. Safari 6.1 is meanwhile up to build 537A134.
Downloads, DVDs of Windows upgrade shipping on October 17th
Microsoft has started accepting pre-orders for its next operating system, Windows 8.1. The DVD and downloadable versions of the install disc, costing $120 for Windows 8.1 and $200 for Windows 8.1 Pro, will serve for both full installs and upgrades from earlier versions, with the discs themselves set to ship on the October 17th release date.
Streaming previews can be major boost to sales
Apple will use iTunes Radio to promote and stream albums before their release, according to Eddy Cue, the company's senior VP for Internet Software and Services. For some time now Apple has been offering full-length preview streams of albums by mainstream acts, but only on the iTunes Store. "It's a huge improvement to do it on iTunes Radio because you don't go to a store a lot. Hopefully lots of people will be listening to iTunes Radio a lot; from a discovery perspective it's significantly better," says Cue.
Mobile apps allow for remote connection to MyCloud across Internet
Western Digital has launched a new network attached storage device with a greater emphasis on cloud storage. The MyCloud line, continuing from where the MyBook Live and MyBook Live Duo left off, provides storage across a home or office network, as well as allowing users to download and upload files over the Internet.
Secrecy measures in place to prevent Mavericks info from leaking out
Apple has today begun training AppleCare workers on OS X Mavericks, according to sources. During the next few weeks, staff are expected to spend at least six hours learning about new features, the installation process, and troubleshooting options. Apple is reportedly maintaining the same sort of secrecy it applied to iOS 7 and iTunes Radio training, meaning AppleCare advisors will only learn about Mavericks in small groups in order to keep the training process from becoming public.
Display manufacturing just getting underway, sources say
Apple will be unable to rollout large numbers of a Retina-equipped iPad mini this month, and will only have limited quantities through the rest of the year if at all, supply chain sources tell Reuters. The supply chain is only now said to be ramping up to manufacture Retina displays for the tablet. Nevertheless, the people claim that Apple will announce a new Mini later in October.
Samsung launches free Pen.Up drawing app for Galaxy Note 3, II
Samsung has introduced a new drawing app with social sharing made for the Galaxy Note 3. Pen.Up is billed as a "community" for Note users to view S Pen drawings by other users, along with the option to submit their own to the gallery for community viewing. Preloaded onto the Galaxy Note 3, Samsung is also making it available as a free download to Galaxy Note II users through Google Play.
Bluetooth speaker uses single piece of extruded aluminum
Jawbone has put its Mini Jambox portable Bluetooth speaker, revealed by the company last month, on sale in the United States. The speaker, capable of connecting to an accompanying iOS and Android mobile app that collects playlists from iTunes, Rdio and Spotify for playback, is available to buy for $180 through Jawbone's website.
LG smartphone to use flexible display in rigid body
LG will be following its success with curved televisions by announcing a smartphone with a curved screen in the future, claims a report. The manufacturer has entered mass production of the device, dubbed the LG Z, with the central feature consisting of a flexible display attached to a rigid body, and will apparently have similar specifications to the recently-launched LG G2.
ITC complaint victory by Nokia forces changes in HTC One, others
HTC is being forced to change the design of the HTC One yet again, along with other devices in its range, in order to avoid more legal trouble from Nokia. Following the first stage victory of Nokia in its ITC complaint against HTC, the manufacturer is now working on a way to improve the HTC One's radio components, without infringing on Nokia's patents.
Hulu adds Cast button to mobile apps to support Chromecast streaming
The Google Chromecast media-streaming dongle is now able to support video from Hulu. An update to the Hulu Plus mobile app for the iPad and Android will add a Cast button to the menu, which then starts playing the selected TV show through the Chromecast device, with the app acting as the remote control. Support for the iPhone is "coming very soon," according to the Google blog.
Says problem is not widespread, but will soon issue patch to correct it
Following widespread reports of iMessage issues for some users who have upgraded to iOS 7, the company on Tuesday said it was aware of the problem and working on a fix. The official statement from the company says the problem is affecting "a fraction of a percent" of users, but with Apple's enormous mobile userbase, this amounts to millions of people even if Apple's accounting is accurate. The problem seems most likely to strike those who upgraded after the first updates.
Unknown if other board members will go along with plan to remove Gates
On the heels of CEO Steven Ballmer's exit, three of the top 20 investors in Microsoft are pressing the company's board of directors to force BIll Gates out of his chairman position. The investors are concerned that Gates holds a disproportionate influence over the company than his 4.5 percent stake should allow, and his role is preventing the company from implementing new strategies to help it survive a changing industry.
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