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Computer giant cuts jobs as it struggles in new paradigm
Computing giant HP will lay off 34,000 employees by the end of 2014, the company confirmed in its annual report to the Securities Exchange Commission. The layoff total, previously noted in the firm's October financial filings, is up 5,000 from the figure HP gave in September, and it marks a continuation of massive staff reductions at the company. The cuts will amount to nearly 11 percent of HP's total workforce, as the computer maker has struggled to adapt to the new consumer computing paradigm.
Some recipients may not boast about getting some brands, of course
As is usually done after the holidays, a survey of tweets bragging that someone "got an iPad" or "Got a Kindle" on Twitter has shown yet again that iOS devices are in a class by themselves when it comes to owner pride or excitement -- and provides yet another real-world indicator that end-user sales of competing devices may not match up with "shipments" reports. A test by Topsy Analytics found that iOS devices still have no real rivals.
Will the Tunz crank the tunes, or disappoint?
Every company that can design an enclosure and cram some speakers into it is vying for the eye of music aficionados. There is no end in sight for the numerous configurations of Bluetooth-enabled speakers for those that need something greater than the sound a mobile device offers -- at some point the market will hit maximum saturation. Until then, companies like Tylt (pronounced 'tilt') will throw their hat into the ring with devices like the Tunz Speaker. Does this speaker easily join a field full of mediocre sounds? Or will their Bluetooth offering rise with the cream to the top? Check our review to find out.
Samsung preps new Chromebook for release next year
Samsung Electronics will release a new Chromebook next year, according to a new report. Business Korea on Monday said that the South Korean tech giant will push out a new Chromebook in the near future, with a possible unveiling set for next year's Consumer Electronics Show. Samsung, though, has pushed back against that latter prediction.
Images now available in direct messages, mirroring Twitter addition
Both the Mac and iOS versions of Twitter client Tweetbot have been updated recently, bringing support for images in direct messages (reflecting an upcoming change in Twitter itself) as well has generally improving how the apps handle images overall. Both also received the usual "various bug fixes," with the Mac version specifically fixing a problem with reading unread feed items. Twitter has not yet publicly implemented images in direct messages, but will soon.
FitBit update features MobileTrack activity tracking for iPhone 5s
FitBit has announced an update to its iOS fitness app, released today in the App Store. FitBit allows users to monitor their exercise activity with their iPhone, track their stats and set fitness goals. Version 2.1 of FitBit features MobileTrack, which utilizes the M7 coprocessor in the iPhone 5s to track basic activity as it occurs.
Embargo enforceable after Nokia shells out $550 million for bond
Earlier today, the Nokia versus HTC patent fight in Germany came to a dramatic close, as Nokia has been awarded a complete product embargo against all HTC Android devices sold in the country. The embargo is provisional upon appeal, but immediately enforceable when Nokia posts a 400 million Euro ($550 million) bond.
French taxi driver anger forces change in transport law
Start-ups offering app-based driver services in France will have to wait for 15 minutes before picking up a customer from January onwards, according to a new bill by the French government. The bill, which affects Uber, LeCab, SnapCar, and other similar services, is an attempt by the government to appease taxi drivers in the country, those who stand to lose heavily from the start-ups.
Smart Home Tablet to act as central location for connected device interaction
Archos has outlined the range of devices it is preparing for CES next week, including a number of wearable items and some destined for use in the home. A smartwatch and a fitness tracker will be accompanied by a set of "connected objects" centered around home automation, and a separate 7-inch "Home Gateway" Android tablet that will act as a central hub for the collection.
New Brisbane Apple Store opening imminent, signage hints
A barricade sign has gone up for Apple's new store in Brisbane, Australia, reports note. While it doesn't mention a particular launch date, such signs typically appear about 10 to 14 days ahead of an Apple retail opening. Since the company normally prefers to debut stores on the weekend, January 10th or the 11th may be the most likely window.
Could influence direction of Apple marketing
Apple has hired Arem Duplessis to serve as a creative director at the company beginning in February, an interview reveals. Duplessis is generally unknown to the public, but has worked as the design director for The New York Times Magazine for almost 10 years. Before that, he was a design director with the magazines Spin and GQ.
Will announce partnership at CES, working with Nvidia on hardware
Google is working with Audi to use Android with in-car systems for information and entertainment, according to a report. The two companies will allegedly announce their partnership at CES next week, with the efforts said to involve Android running on the car's own hardware, instead of communicating with an external device, such as with "iOS in the Car."
Picasa for Mac now includes Google+ Auto Backup, separate from Google Drive
The latest version of Picasa for Mac (and Windows) now includes an installation of a separate utility called Google+ Auto Backup. Google+ Auto Backup is a simple tool that allows users to select the folders desired for automatic backup, and works in the background.
Etched with unusual test-related markings
A device claimed to be a "very rare original iPhone engineering prototype" has sold for $1,499 on eBay. The unit is physically similar to the first-generation iPhone, but has unusual markings in the back, including "Ver. 1.1.1," and numbers associated with different wireless bands including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GSM 800/900/1800/1900. The unit is also depicted running previously-seen test software for components like sensors and audio hardware; interestingly, a "touch" component is included, even though fingerprint recognition didn't arrive on the iPhone until this year's iPhone 5s.
Exec boasts of strong finances
BlackBerry's new CEO, John Chen, has spoken out against the company's critics and reiterated his turnaround plan, according to a commentary posted by CNBC. Despite a $4.4 billion loss in the third quarter, the executive argues that BlackBerry is "strong financially, technologically savvy, and well-positioned for the future."
Clip points to three devices with 4, 5, 6-inch displays
Asus could be preparing a trio of smartphones to show off at CES next month, if rumors based on the company's second video teaser are to be believed. The clip, asking "What's your number?" and focusing on the numbers 4, 5, and 6, could be suggesting that Asus will be showing off three devices sporting a 4-inch, 5-inch, and a 6-inch display.
Windows notebooks, iPads remain bestsellers
Chromebooks surged ahead in 2013 to become a major player in US commercial computer sales, according to new NPD data. Between January and November of this year, some 14.4 million desktops, laptops, and tablets were sold. Of these about 9.6 percent were Chromebooks; in 2012, by contrast, the platform represented just 0.2 percent of sales. Companies are presumably choosing Chromebooks because of their laptop-style features and their cost, which can be as little as $199, cheaper even than many low-end tablets.
Extra-large Samsung television increases size of 85-inch S9
Just 11 days after revealing a 105-inch curved Ultra HD television it will be showing at CES, Samsung has put a similar-sized television on sale. The 110-inch UHD television forms part of the same product family as the 85-inch S9 television it launched at the start of this year, with the flat 4K-resolution panel encased in its own freestanding metal frame.
High per-pin data rate, low power touted in new mobile RAM chips
Samsung has revealed its first 8 gigabit (1GB) low-power DDR4 (LPDDR4) mobile DRAM, something Samsung believes to be the largest density available for DRAM components today. Built using a 20-nanometer process, the single-layer chip could lead to the company offering smartphones and mobile devices with 4GB of RAM in the future, eclipsing current models such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 2014 which currently use 3GB of RAM.
German mag says NSA diverts retail orders to secretly add tracking software, devices
The National Security Agency (NSA) has the ability to bug computers and peripherals being shipped to customers from retail, says a new report allegedly laying out more of the agency's surveillance activities. Some orders for electronics can apparently get redirected to the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group, run by the NSA, which can secretly add hardware devices and malware to the unit before resealing and forwarding it on to the customer.
Gifts vary by region or country due to restrictions, store limits
Apple is continuing its "12 Days of Gifts" promotion, which allows iOS users to download a free gift every day (including, for the first time, US users). Monday's Day 5 present is a free copy of the Martin Scorsese film Hugo in the US and Canada, while in the UK the movie is instead the Christmas classic Home Alone (the films normally sell for around $15-$18). The movie is available in 1080p, 720p ("HD") and standard definition.
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