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Camera makers suffer continued backlash

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Cameras | Posted: Dec 30, 2013 9:00 pm

Japanese camera makers that dominated the industry for much of the late-1980s and most of the 1990s are now struggling to keep up in an increasingly competitive market. Shoppers choosing connectivity over picture quality is helping not only cannibalize the entry-level camera market, but the mirrorless cameras that fit before digital SLR cameras also have struggled as of late.

 

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Smartphones are seeing increasing saturation in developed markets and in developing nations, so camera manufacturers will have a continued battle on their hands. Unless they want to follow the same path as Kodak, which was driven into obscurity, then they will have to continue to pack in social media-optimized features while also increasing the megapixels. It's hard to imagine there is speculation that Nikon, Canon and Sony will be the only Japanese companies able to withstand the current industry trends, as each company makes higher-end, specialized cameras and recording devices.

The SilkRoad saga continues as new admin goes AWOL

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Dec 30, 2013 8:23 pm

It seems like the drama is never ending at the infamous online drug marketplace known as SilkRoad. Over the weekend, Silkroad's new Admin Dread Pirate Roberts (AKA DPR. Not to be confused with the original SilkRoad DPR) signed off from the site with a post informing users that he would release information concerning the arrest of several SilkRoad employees.

 

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The post was made on Saturday and nothing else has been heard from DPR since. Another site admin who goes by the name DefCon says that DPR has entered exile and his whereabouts are unknown. DefCon says that DPR took the sites key used to unlock its Bitcoin storage with him. This means that none of the bitcoins the site held in escrow can be released until DPR's return. DefCon says that SilkRoad users should not worry too much as DPR will return and the digital currency will be returned.

Samsung unveils 8Gb LPDDR4 mobile DRAM, could lead to 4GB smartphones

By: Charles Gantt | More News: RAM | Posted: Dec 30, 2013 6:45 pm

Mobile memory technology has taken a major leap forward with today's announcement of 8-gigabit low-profile double-data-rate 4 (LPDDR4) mobile DRAM chips from Samsung. The new DRAM chips offer the ability to pack 1GB on a single die, which will most likely lead to many upcoming next-gen smartphones featuring 4GB of RAM.

 

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Samsung says that the new LPDDR4 silicon offers improved efficiency which results in up to 40-percent less power consumption than previously seen. This is possible because the chips are designed to run at just 1.1 volts each. The chips are designed on a 20nm process, which shrinks the package small enough to fit 1GB onto a single chip. With Qualcomm releasing a 64-bit mobile processor next year, and Apple's 64-bit A7 already on the market we could see a major jump in the amount of RAM smartphones house in 2014 and 2015.

 

"This next-generation LPDDR4 DRAM will contribute significantly to faster growth of the global mobile DRAM market, which will soon comprise the largest share of the entire DRAM market," said Young-Hyun Jun, executive vice president, memory sales & marketing, Samsung Electronics. "We will continue introducing the most advanced mobile DRAM one step ahead of the rest of the industry so that global OEMs can launch innovative mobile devices with exceptional user convenience in the timeliest manner."

Google and Audi said to be developing next Android in car system

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Technology in Vehicles | Posted: Dec 30, 2013 5:13 pm

With in-vehicle technology growing at a faster pace than ever before, manufacturers are racing to beat each other to the next big thing. Audi is said to be teaming up with Google to develop the next-generation in-car system that will be based on Android and will control everything from vehicle information to entertainment and more.

 

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The new Android-based system is said to deliver similar functionality of smartphones or tablets, with emphasis on Audi's "Infotainment" initiative. The new system is said to heavily utilize voice commands, and will feature everything from voice controlled navigation, to radio station selection. Google and Audi will develop, improve and implement the in many models over the next five years, but no further details were released about which models will get the new system.

Nokia's Lumia 520 accounts for 30-percent of all Windows Phones

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Dec 30, 2013 3:21 pm

Despite what companies like Apple wants to believe, a new report has been released that shows that many mobile customers want a cheaper smartphone. AdDuplex, a cross promotion marketing network has just released a report that states that Nokia's Lumia 520 and 521 now dominate the Windows Phone market with a 30-percent market share.

 

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This news comes just under a year after the Lumia 521 was released, and slightly before the Lumia 525 takes the role of flagship budget phone for Nokia. Just a few months ago, the 520/521 combo was said to account for only 23-percent of all Lumia smartphones on the market. Many industry analyst are predicting that as smartphones get more powerful, we will begin to see a shift towards mid-range and upper low-end models dominating as they will be more than powerful enough to handle most users day-to-day needs.

Ex-Lead Designer for HTC prosecuted in Taiwan for fraud and leaks

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Dec 28, 2013 3:33 pm

HTC continues to get battered, with news breaking out in the last day or so that its ex-Lead Designer, Thomas Chien, prosecuted in Taiwan for fraud. The Taipei District Prosecutor's Office concluded its investigation on Chien, reporting that he leaked HTC's upcoming icon designs, and much more.

 

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He took the designs, showing them to his then-future business partners for a new company they were planning to form. The investigation also concluded that Chien's friends took around $1.12 million in the way of false expense claims, as well as rebates from a supplier. A quarter of this cash was found in Chien's Audi, with another taken from him on another occasion.

 

The prosecutors' allegations were not denied by most of Chien's friends, but Chien himself was in denial about most of what he was being accused of, and has the prosecutors recommending that the court place a big sentence on Chien for his "malignant" behavior.

Lenovo plans to carry momentum into the smartphone industry

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Dec 28, 2013 2:34 pm

No. 1 PC manufacturer Lenovo will continue to battle Hewlett-Packard in the PC consumer market, and the company won't become stagnant by avoiding newer ventures. Lenovo plans to attack the smartphone market across the world in 2014, as the company has strong market presence in China.

 

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"I'll be very clear: Our aspiration is someday to be No. 1 in the mobile space," Lenovo executives told the media. Earlier in the year, there were rumors that Lenovo wanted to purchase the BlackBerry phone unit - but the deal never materialized, and BlackBerry is no longer for sale. The smartphone market is highly saturated in the United States, but Lenovo can gain market share in the US and across Europe if done properly.

 

Just a few years ago, many doubted Lenovo would be able to climb the sales charts in the PC market - and the Chinese electronics maker is spending more time researching server products for the enterprise.

LG sees slump in sales of its G2 smartphone, blames the Nexus 5

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Dec 28, 2013 1:32 pm

LG's superstar G2 smartphone may be the current speed king, but it hasn't sold well for the South Korean company. According to DigiTimes' sources, it is because of the Nexus 5 that the G2 didn't sell too well.

 

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LG manufactured the Nexus 5 for Google, which seems to have cannibalized its G2 sales, with DigiTimes' sources stating: "The release of the G2 was too close to the launch of the Nexus 5, which affected sales momentum of LG's own flagship model." The South Korean giant had expected to sell 10 million of its G2 smartphones, but only managed to sell just over two million units for the year.

 

I actually pointed this out in my review of the G2, where I said: "The Nexus 5 is one of the best specced devices on the market, at an absolute competitor-crushing price of just $349, and this in turn creates a huge problem for LG. Which phone do you buy? The utterly ridiculously priced Nexus 5? Or the G2, which is double the price?"

Steam Holiday Sales for today include Assassin's Creed: Black Flag

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Dec 28, 2013 6:28 am

Today's specials in the Steam Holiday Sales include some big titles, such as Hitman: Absolution for 80% off, dropping its original $24.99 price to just $4.99, and Resident Evil 6 has 70% off, dropping it from $39.99 to $11.99.

 

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You can grab Portal 2 for just $4.99, which is down from $19.99 or 75% off. Some large games are discounted, with Assassin's Creed: Black Flag having 25% off, dropping its $69.95 price to $52.46 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II down 50%, from $89.99 to $44.99.

Users more worried about identity theft than privacy

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Privacy & Rights | Posted: Dec 28, 2013 5:35 am

Despite fallout from former IT specialist Edward Snowden, it appears more U.S. voters are interested in security over privacy-related issues. Seventy-five percent of users are worried about personal information theft over 54 percent of those users worried about browsing history being tracked.

 

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"By wide margins this survey clearly shows that ID theft has touched the majority of consumers in some way, and that hacking is more worrisome to consumers than tracking, and that voters want the government to more aggressively go after cyber criminals," said Ed Black, CCIA President and CEO, in a statement. "Safeguarding users online must become a higher priority for companies and also for the regulators and policymakers charged with protecting consumers."

 

Even though security is more thought about by U.S. citizens, privacy concerns have caused a major backlash against the National Security Agency (NSA), other US federal branches, and a handful of major corporations.

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