Tag - Softbank
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look back at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, China's Tencent reportedly vies for a majority stake in mobile development studio Supercell, a new piece of Nintendo hardware is hinted at by a Japanese report, and Paradox pulls a mod for recent release Stellaris for being discriminatory.
Japanese carrier SoftBank is still on the hunt for acquisitions in the United States, following its earlier failed attempt to merge T-Mobile with Sprint, a report claims. The company is said to be in talks to buy DreamWorks Animation, a studio behind film franchises including Shrek and Kung-Fu Panda, with the deal claimed to be worth somewhere in the region of $3.4 billion.
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are commanding the Japanese smartphone market, just a week into their availability, according to BCN sales rankings cited by Forbes. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 was the most popular phone overall, taking eight out of the top 10 spots, and even then the iPhone 5s claimed 5th and 8th places. The larger, 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus reached no higher than 11th, but still took five out of the next seven spots.
Sharp has created two new Aquos smartphones with an extremely minimal bezel, giving the appearance of an edge-to-edge display. The Aquos Crystal and the Aquos Crystal X, with respective 5-inch 720p and a 5.5-inch 1080p displays, will both be going on sale in Japan, with at least one of the devices heading to the United States in the near future.
Softbank, is planning to put a humanoid robot on sale from next year. Jointly developed with NAO creators Aldebaran Robotics, Pepper is said to be able to interact with others, with its various sensors and voice recognition allowing it to recognize gestures and speech, while analyzing vocal tone and reading expressions also allows it to recognize emotions.
Cellular carriers Sprint and T-Mobile have agreed upon an outline for a proposed merger that would see Sprint acquiring its rival company for around $32 billion. Sources tell the Wall Street Journal that Sprint would pay about $40 a share for T-Mobile. The deal would further consolidate the cellular marketplace, reducing the number of large carriers to three if the merger is able to pass federal regulation.
Reports are circulating that Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile's parent company, has agreed to a proposed deal to sell the US wireless carrier to SoftBank. The deal would combine SoftBank's Sprint, with T-Mobile, merging the third and fourth largest US carriers into a single company with more than 103 million subscribers. Terms of the rumored deal are not yet known.
Sources familiar with the matter claim that Sprint has approached sources of funding for a T-Mobile buy previously rumored in December. Sprint executives Joe Euteneuer and Greg Block met with a half dozen banks to prepare financing agreements before Sprint signals that it is ready to make an offer. A deal to acquire the US telecom provider is expected during the early summer.
Sprint appears to be actively moving toward making a bid for T-Mobile next year, as Masayoshi Son – head of Softbank, which bought Sprint this year – is said to be courting banks to finance a potential acquisition. This according to Bloomberg, which cited sources familiar with Son's plans in saying that he is looking for roughly $20 billion to finance a T-Mobile buy. Son is said to have consulted with six banks, including Deutsche Bank AG, JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse, Mizuho Bank, and Goldman Sachs.
Dish Network is still considering an attempt to acquire T-Mobile sometime next year, according to a report. Despite its failure to secure Sprint in the last year, the satellite TV service is still looking towards owning a carrier and offering cellular service, with the potential acquisition attempt seemingly setting up Dish for another battle with Softbank.
Now AAPL Stock: 92.04 ( -1.36 )
Scrivener for iOS to arrive in late July
For some long-time Scrivener users, to quote Paul Simon, "these are the days of miracle and wonders." As it marks its 10th anniversary in business, developer Keith Blount has announced that the long-awaited iOS version of his creative-writing tool Scrivener is to be submitted to the App Store, following strong praise from beta-testers. The program, expected in late July, will sell for $20 and work with both the iPad and iPhone. When we interviewed Blount last January, he added that Scrivener 3 for Mac would follow along shorty afterwards. http://bit.ly/2901XLE
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu