$130 million in cash and stock shares to exchange hands
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved Verizon's $130 million buyout of Vodaphone's share of Verizon Wireless. The ruling paves the way for Verizon's complete ownership of the wireless business when all aspects of the transaction are concluded in the first half of 2014.
Samsung's next flagship may have appeared in benchmarks
The newest version of Samsung's Galaxy S line of flagship devices may well have appeared in online benchmark tests. Fone Arena on Wednesday pointed to new results from GFXBench, showing an as-yet-unannounced Samsung device with the model number SM-G900S. If the device shown off were to prove to be Samsung's next flagship handset, it would signal a huge push on the part of the manufacturer to differentiate its gadgets, as the handset in the benchmarks appears to sport a 2K resolution screen.
Google Wallet for iOS adds single sign-on, card recognition features
Google's digital wallet app, Google Wallet, has received an update today for iOS. Google Wallet allows users to shop online and in-store without the need for individual plastic cards for payment or loyalty point accumulation. Additionally, users can use Google Wallet to transfer money to anyone within the US, via e-mail, and withdraw cash from ATMs.
Beats Music streaming service to launch next month
Beats Music, the streaming music site spun out from the maker of the popular premium headphones, will make its debut in January of next year, it was revealed on Wednesday. The site for the service has gone live, and users can now register a user name for when it goes live next year. The particulars of Beats' new music offering are as yet unknown, but the company will likely reveal them in the weeks leading up to its unveiling.
Court appears skeptical of Judge William Alsup ruling
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC, appears to be siding with Oracle in the company's lawsuit against Google over Android APIs. A formal ruling has yet to be handed down, however Reuters' Dan Levine and The Recorder's Scott K. Graham, both in attendance at today's hearing, published Twitter posts suggesting that the appeals court is likely to reverse Google's earlier win.
First-gen iPad mini, iPhone 5c also see surges
iPad Air activations grew some 51 percent over the previous weekend during the course of Black Friday and the rest of the Thanksgiving weekend, according to new Localytics data. The figure is based on the number of new devices that appeared in Localytics tracking for some 20,000 apps. The iPhone 5c and first-generation iPad mini also did well, each growing by 26 percent.
Supplement to USB 3.1 specification could lessen USB cable frustration
Future USB cables will be able to be plugged in upside down, according to details about a future connector's specification. The redesigned Type-C connector will form part of the USB 3.0 Promoter Group's "supplement to the USB 3.1 specification," something which will potentially help lessen current frustrations by users plugging USB devices into hubs and computers.
Repeated reports may be an 'echo chamber' effect, or mirror actual trials
Rumors and other unconfirmed reports about Apple products -- particularly those that are only in an experimental prototype or testing phase -- are difficult to sort out. Readers who see similar reports on multiple sites or in various print and online outlets have a tendency to believe them after a while, even if the reports are just echoing each other. New reports have emerged recently from different sources claiming that Apple is at least probing the idea of larger iPad and iPhone models, but a healthy dose of skepticism is often required.
Revenue shared based on stream popularity
Following criticism from musicians, Spotify has defended its business model by providing an in-depth look at its royalty payment framework. In a lengthy blog post, the company claims to have paid out more than $1 billion USD in royalties to-date, including $500 million from this year alone, with 70 percent of overall revenue being shared with the artists.
PC market to bottom at 25M units per month
The traditional PC market will likely have fallen by 2013 by the time 2013 ends, slightly more than the 9.7 percent that had been previously forecast. This according to new figures from industry tracking service IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. The new numbers point to a bottoming out for the struggling PC industry, not a continual withering as some have presumed. PC shipments will not, according to IDC, continue to dwindle, but will hit a bottom in the coming year and show near flat growth thereafter.
Discounted iTunes codes wipe out PayPal gifts launch supplies
PayPal has launched an online gift store, with Apple as its only launch partner, in preparation for holiday season shopping. The PayPal Digital Gifts store, coming a week after the service provided support for prepaid credit cards, will allow existing PayPal users in the United States to buy gifts and gift cards to provide to other people.
Persistent security claims by US officials behind market exit
Huawei is planning to pull out of the United States, according to an interview with CEO Ren Zhengfei. The head of the company is effectively giving up on the US market, following two years of criticism and intense scrutiny by the US government, along with accusations that the telecommunications company is helping the Chinese government spy on US citizens and businesses.
Sails on Google barge to cost $350,000 alone
The mysterious barge construction in San Francisco could have cost Google $35 million to undertake, according to a new report. The project, dubbed Hanger 3 after the Treasure Island hanger it is being worked on, will apparently be one of three floating buildings, with a similar structure set to be moored in areas of Los Angeles and New York City, as well as in San Francisco itself.
Deal conditional on regulatory approvals, bankruptcy court rulings
Financially troubled SSD manufacturer OCZ Technology Group today announced that the company has signed an asset purchase agreement with Toshiba Corporation to acquire substantially all of OCZ's assets in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding for $35 million, subject to customary regulatory approval. The move comes only a few days after OCZ revealed that bankruptcy was imminent and its assets had been seized by debtors. The offer has already been approved by both Toshiba's and OCZ's board of directors.
Apple tablets top-selling item at most major retailers
A survey done by retail analyst InfoScout based on over 100,000 Black Friday sales receipts from iOS and Android smartphone owners has revealed both expected and unexpected trends: the fact that Apple's latest iPad models were the runaway top seller among both tablets specifically and consumer electronics generally is not surprising -- but that 40 percent of iPad sales went to self-identified Android smartphone owners was less predictable. Even that, however, is not the most surprising finding.
Company studies Twitter tweets to determine trends, ad effectiveness, more
Apple has confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that it has purchased social media analysis firm Topsy Labs for over $200 million, though the final price was not disclosed. The company declined to elaborate on why it acquired Topsy, which is mainly known for its analysis of Twitter's output of both tweets and user data -- but its ability to target ads to iTunes Radio and mobile users, find "influencers" or use Twitter's data on music tastes to help shape iTunes Radio stations are all among the possibilities.
Decision effectively upholds existing law
The US Supreme Court has declined to hear a legal challenge against New York's sales-tax law for online purchases, according to a Reuters report. Retailers Amazon and Overstock had asked the court to determine if the tax regulations violate the Constitution, however the decision effectively upholds the New York Court of Appeals' March ruling that sided with the state.
New Eminem album free, others discounted
Microsoft is giving hip-hop loving users of its Xbox Music service the chance to download a free copy of Eminem's Marshal Mathers LP2. The company's Major Nelson announced the giveaway on Monday, saying that it is open to Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Phone users. Downloading the album on any one Windows device will grant access to it across all of one's Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Phone 8 devices, as well as on one's Xbox console.
DOJ approval effectively leaves European regulators as last major acquisitions hurdle
The acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services section by Microsoft has taken one more step towards completion. The US Department of Justice approval in a Federal trade Commission filing has effectively completed the deal's regulatory processes in the United States, effectively leaving just the European regulators standing in its way.
Free upgrade spurs quick adoption
Mavericks is already the predominant version of OS X in use by the public, according to November tracking data from Net Applications. During that month, Mavericks' share rose from 0.84 percent to 2.42 percent of the Mac's total global share of 7.55 percent. Mountain Lion's share, meanwhile, plummeted from 3.31 percent to 1.85, while Lion dipped from 1.56 percent to 1.34. Leopard and Snow Leopard, already marginal platforms, dropped only slightly, slipping from 0.33 and 1.6 percent to 0.32 and 1.53 percent, respectively.
Four-member startup joins Yahoo Labs team for language processing work
Yahoo is continuing its trend of buying companies, and has announced possibly its last acquisition for this year. The search company has confirmed its purchase of SkyPhrase, a startup that is working on processing natural language requests, for an undisclosed amount, with the company's small team of four employees being integrated into the Yahoo Labs team in New York.
Demographic skews older, and with more buyers under median income
"Almost half" of the people who bought the iPhone 5c in September and October were people switching from Android phones, particularly ones by Samsung and LG, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. By comparison, some 80 percent of iPhone 5s purchases were by people upgrading from a previous iPhone. Kantar also notes that over 40 percent of 5c buyers were earning less than $49,000 per year, versus roughly 20 percent for the 5s. 5c buyers also tended to skew older, with an average age of 38 instead of the 5s' 34.
Camera sensor arms race continues with claimed 20MP component
Samsung is reportedly working on a new camera module capable of taking 20-megapixel photographs. The company's Advanced Development Team is apparently hoping to get the high-resolution component ready for shipping in the second half of 2014, something which could coincide with a future major smartphone release, such as a successor to the Galaxy Note 3.
IE 11 now approaching Safari's install numbers
Microsoft's Internet Explorer 11 web browser more than doubled its share of the worldwide browser market in the month of November. This according to new figures from research firm Net Applications, which showed Internet Explorer 11 at 3.27 percent of the worldwide web browser market. The November surge saw IE11 leaving Opera far behind, and the Microsoft-made browser is now approaching Apple's Safari browser in terms of market share.
Amazon to deliver packages by drone
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Sunday revealed a new service that could soon deliver Amazon orders directly to customers' doorsteps by unmanned aircraft. Bezos revealed Prime Air Sunday night on CBS' 60 minutes, telling CBS Anchor Charlie Rose that the company has been working on the technology in its Seattle headquarters for months. The service isn't set to roll out for some time, but it could mark a revolution in the online retail market, as Amazon could bypass the current package delivery system entirely, delivering goods to customers in as little as half an hour.
Samsung discussing 'crisis awareness' in big management gathering
South Korean tech giant Samsung will gather the heads of its assorted management teams at its Giheung Nano Campus in order to discuss the best ways to maintain its lead in the tech sector. This according to ZDNet Korea, which reported this week that the tech conglomerate will hold a massive management meeting between the 17th and 19th of next month. In attendance will be both Samsung Electronics vice president Ohhyun Kwon and Samsung Display president Ginam Kim.
Real-world usage again shows iOS far ahead of Android, other rivals
Yet another real-world usage statistic has surfaced showing that users with iOS devices are far more engaged with them than those of any other platform. Among Black Friday buyers who used mobile devices to shop online, 82 percent were on the iOS platform doing so, with the remaining 18 percent using Android. Using mobile devices to shop on Black Friday was up 9.8 percent overall from last year, with mobile devices accounting for 38 percent of all Black Friday shopping traffic and 21 percent of online sales.
Hard drive with 7,500 bitcoins lost in landfill
An IT professional in the United Kingdom is scouring a landfill site for a specific computer part he threw away, along with a bitcoin fortune. James Howells of Newport, South Wales, disposed of the drive without realizing the value of its contents earlier this year, with the 7,500 bitcoins on the drive worth around $7.5 million at the currency's present value.
Smartphone data consumption higher on phablets
Owners of smartphones with larger screens consume considerably more data on their devices than do the owners of smaller devices like Apple's iPhone. The finding comes from new figures out from The NPD Group, which looked at monthly Wi-Fi and cellular data consumption among American consumers. For the three months ending July 2013, NPD found that the owners of smartphones with screens sized 4.5 inches and larger used 44 percent more data than those with smaller devices.
Agency demands prior consent
Plaintiffs could not prove any data breach, actual harm
US District Court Judge Lucy Koh -- who just concluded a damages retrial between Apple and Samsung and will preside over the next round in the two companies' ongoing patent battles -- dismissed a consumer protection lawsuit on Wednesday that charged that iOS' "geotracking" data -- discovered in iOS 4 in 2011 to be an unprotected file that could theoretically have been accessed by third parties was deliberately designed to collect personal data without consent.
Real-world use makes Apple the more valuable mobile platform
Various studies from a variety of analytics firms which measure real-world interaction with devices (rather than the nebulous "shipments" number) have once again determined that Apple's iOS platform far outweighs Android in two key areas: rewarding developers and user interaction. A study by Adfonic found that ad impressions on iOS outpaced Android (which supposedly has about a 6x larger base) by two to one. A Business Insider report found that developers for iOS make five times what they do on Android.
Social network testing new list feature
Facebook is reportedly testing a new "Save For Later Reading" feature that enables users to compile content that appears in their News Feed. Mobile screenshot images posted by MyTechSkool and referenced by AllThingsD show an iBooks-style bookmark button next to news items, which can be later accessed via a new "Saved" category within the existing Apps menu.
Amazon brings video streaming service to Japan
Amazon has now opened up the Japanese version of its Instant Video streaming service, it was revealed today. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new service features more than 26,000 imported movie and television offerings. Rentals for the service start at 100 yen (about $0.98).
Google to leverage YouTube's popularity as listening platform
Google will in the near future likely add a music listening feature to its YouTube app, according to new information hidden inside the Android YouTube app. Android Police took a look inside version 5.3 of the YouTube app, finding a number of strings that hint at a forthcoming music subscription service. Reportedly, Google's YouTube music service may feature no advertising, marking a considerable difference between the YouTube music service and Google's existing Play Music app for Android, iOS, and the web.
Microsoft takes Xbox Video service live on web
Microsoft has rolled out a new web portal for its Xbox Video service, allowing users to stream video content through a browser when not at their computer, Xbox console, or mobile device. The new service relies on Microsoft's Silverlight web plug-in, and it streams content in a resolution lower than HD. That means users won't get the quality of video that they can get on Windows 8.1 and Xbox One versions of the service, though they will still have access to their entire Xbox Video libraries.
Channel 4 on-demand video service reaches Roku, Now TV streaming devices
4oD, the on-demand video service from British broadcaster Channel 4 is now available to use on the Roku and the Now TV streaming set-top boxes in the United Kingdom. The on-demand offering from Channel 4 accompanies similar services such as the BBC iPlayer and Demand 5 on the devices, as well as Sky's own Now TV prepaid Internet-based satellite television service.
New iPhones, NTT DoCoMo contributing factors
The iPhone accounted for 76 percent of Japanese smartphone sales during the month of October, according to Kantar World Panel data. Specific reasons for Apple's dominance are unmentioned, but are likely attributable to two factors. The first is the launch of the iPhone 5s and 5c on September 20th, since model refreshes always cause a surge in Apple sales. The other, though, is the addition of NTT DoCoMo as a carrier.
Visa takes on PayPal, Google Wallet with online payments system
Visa has launched its online digital wallet in parts of Europe, one it initially announced in April last year, as the company tries to take on PayPal and Google Wallet. V.me by Visa is able to store payment details for multiple cards, which can then be used to make payments with retailers online instead of providing debit or credit card details.
Quarterly results barely meet street estimates, more transitions to come
HP today announced financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter and fiscal year that ended on October 31. The company reported fourth quarter diluted net earnings per share (EPS) at $0.73, up from a net loss per share of $3.49 in the prior-year period. Fourth quarter net revenue of $29.1 billion was down three percent from the prior-year period. Crucially, the company posted gains in enterprise services, the focus of its long-term recovery, buoying the hopes of investors.
Redmond continues anti-Google ad campaign
Microsoft has released a new "Scroogled" ad, enlisting the Pawn Stars reality TV crew to deride a Chromebook as a worthless "brick." The online video begins with a woman entering a pawn shop to sell her Chromebook for cash to buy a "ticket to Hollywood," however shop co-owner Rick Harrison explains how the device is "not a real laptop" because it "doesn't do much at all" when disconnected from a Wi-Fi network.
Infringing competitior questioned validity of key patent-in-suit
A last-minute move during the damages retrial by Samsung has failed to stop Judge Lucy Koh from moving forward with the trial's results, where once again the Korean company was found guilty of infringing on several Apple patents, but ordered to pay $112 million dollars less to Apple in damages than the first jury's just over $1 billion dollar initial judgement. Samsung had attempted to stop the proceedings on the grounds that a key patent-in-suit during the retrial might be found invalid.
Inventor argued that iPhone equalled computer plus phone
An inventor named Richard L. Ditzik has discovered, thanks to a jury, that an iPhone isn't just a computer and a phone slapped together. The inventor, through his company NetAirus Technologies, has sued Apple (though strangely, no other smartphone makers) claiming in a just-decided case that the iPhone 4 violated a patent that described a method for computers to make phone calls through Wi-Fi and cellular networks. A jury, in an unusual majority vote, disagreed that Apple was in violation.
Cook initiative to sell more iPhones in-house making progress
A new study has revealed the startling statistic that Apple's retail stores are one of the biggest sellers of cell phones outside carrier-direct and carrier-store sales. The Apple Store chain now sells about 11 percent of all cell phones bought in the US, and is responsible for roughly 25 percent of all US iPhone sales. The study, by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, puts Apple's retail stores just behind Best Buy (with 13 percent of US cellphone sales).
Pilot production of iWatch allegedly underway
Taiwanese supplier Quanta Computer will be producing both the iWatch and a larger iPad for Apple in 2014, DigiTimes claims. The iWatch is said to be shipping first, in the second calendar quarter. Pilot production of the watch is allegedly already underway, but suffering low yields, resulting in the Q2 timeframe. Quanta is said to be competing with Foxconn and Inventec for orders, although only the first two have been officially invited into the supply chain.
CFO Budulka replaced by SVP Yersh, CMO and COO yet to be replaced
BlackBerry has made another set of executive-level changes, with three more members of management being pushed out from their positions. The reorganization, which sees the loss of the CFO, COO, and CMO at the phone manufacturer, comes three weeks after previous CEO Thorsten Heins was let go and replaced by interim CEO John Chen.
Microsoft Nokia buy nears EU approval
Microsoft's bid to buy Nokia's mobile phone business will likely gain approval from the European Union, according to sources close to the approval process. Persons familiar with the matter told Reuters this week that the European Commission is close to clearing the Nokia buy without any preconditions. The $7.2 billion transaction will remove Nokia from the mobile device manufacturing segment, while securing Microsoft as a company that makes not only software but computing hardware as well.
Case against Apple suspended while validity of Samsung patent decided
Just hours after a US jury restored more than half of the set-aside portion of damages from the first Apple vs Samsung trial, a separate case in Germany has been suspended because the court believes that the patent Samsung is attempting to sue Apple over is invalid. The matter will be put on hold until the Federal Patent Court of Germany can determine it. Even if the patent is eventually found valid, Apple will face no injunction over its use, since it is a standards-essential patent (SEP).
3D Systems developing 3D printing line for Project Ara module construction
Motorola's modular smartphone has taken one more step into becoming a reality, thanks to a multi-year agreement with a manufacturing partner. 3D Systems has agreed to create a "continuous high-speed 3D printing production platform" for Project Ara, and ultimately creating modules as "Motorola's exclusive fulfillment partner" if it completes the platform's development.
Sandberg says teenage use stays stable
Facebook chief operations officer Sheryl Sandberg said this week that the tech media has exaggerated the company's problems with teenagers, and that reports of declining engagement among younger users are overblown. Pulse 2.0 carried a report of Sandberg's most recent comments, which came in the midst of Salesforce.com's Dreamforce conference event. Asked about Facebook CFO David Ebersman's comments on teen use during the company's last earnings call, Sandberg said that those comments had been misinterpreted.