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RumorTT: Microsoft considering $1 billion bid to buy Barnes & Noble's Nook business

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 9, 2013 5:49 pm

Microsoft is already a major investor in Barnes & Noble's Nook business, and now rumors are coming in that the Redmond, Washington based giant is considering buying the Nook business outright for a reported $1 billion.

 

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Last year Microsoft invested $300 million in the Nook in exchange for a 16.8% stake. Now with reports that Barnes & Noble is planning to pull out of the hardware business altogether, it only makes sense for Microsoft to swoop in and buy the hardware business outright.

 

This would put Microsoft in direct competition with the likes of Amazon and even Google's Play Books. The big question is whether or not Redmond will keep the device running Android, or will we see a Windows 8 version of the Nook released. Would Microsoft even keep the Nook branding? Only time will tell I guess.

OUYA raises $15 million in new funding, said to help with game development and retail sales

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 9, 2013 5:02 pm

The crowdfunding world was blown away when the OUYA raised more than $8.5 million during its Kickstarter campaign for the tiny Android gaming console.

 

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This morning OUYA announced that it has secured an additional $15 million in funding from investors to help with game development, as well as its upcoming retail launch.

 

Investors include Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers. Other investors include the Mayfield Fund, NVIDIA, Shasta Ventures and Occam Partners. The company has also announced that general partner Kleiner Perkins and former EA executive Bing Gordon will be joining OUYA's board of directors.

 

The company is well into the shipment process for all of its Kickstarter backers and is preparing its retail launch in the coming months.

New Zealand government announces that software is no longer patentable

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 9, 2013 4:31 pm

The New Zealand government has passed a bill that prevents software from being patented in the country any more. The New Zealand Institute of IT Professionals praised the decision saying that it would lead to innovation on a large scale.

 

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The new policy was part of an amendment to the existing patent bill, which redefines three basic principles:

 

  1. A computer program is not an invention and not a manner of manufacture for the purposes of this Act.
  2. Subsection (1) prevents anything from being an invention or a manner of manufacture for the purposes of this Act only to the extent that a claim in a patent or an application relates to a computer program as such.
  3. A claim in a patent or an application relates to a computer program as such if the actual contribution made by the alleged invention lies solely in it being a computer program.

 

I see this as a major step forward and I am sure that the folks over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation are ecstatic this morning. However, not all is as it seems.

 

The bill still allows the patenting of software when it can be tied to a specific piece of hardware, such as Apple iOS (iPhone and iPad), or the software that runs your Samsung Smart TV. So, while this is a step in the right direction, there is still much room for improvement.

Google and Time team up to launch Timelapse, a new tool for viewing how Earth has changed

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: May 9, 2013 3:57 pm

This morning Google and Time released the culmination of a project in which they teamed up with NASA and the US Geological Survey to produce a historical perspective on how Earth has changed over the past 30 years.

 

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The project takes satellite imagery produced by the LandSat program and stitches them together removing clouds and haze to produce animated GIF images of how a region has changed over the past three decades. The Time.com hosted site features a handful of pre-chosen sites such as the Amazon Rainforest, Las Vegas, Dubai, Mendenhall Glacier and the Oil Sands fields in Russia.

 

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The project consists of literally millions of individual images taken by the LandSat satellites that have been orbiting Earth at an altitude of over 400 miles since the 1970's. The project began in 2009 when Google began working with the USGS to make the entire archive of LandSat imagery available to the public.

Continue reading 'Google and Time team up to launch Timelapse, a new tool for viewing how Earth has changed' (full post)

Google gives I/O 2013 Android app major update ahead of show opening next week

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Apps | Posted: May 9, 2013 2:45 pm

Google I/O is getting closer by the day and as a result we are learning more about the scheduled events, talks, and what new and exciting things we may see launched at the event. This morning Google pushed out an update to its I/O app for Android that includes some pretty cool features.

 

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Ahead of next week's show opening, this update provides some pretty awesome practical functionality for those who are both attending and not attending the conference. Once signed in with your Google+ account, the updated I/O app will determine if you are attending the conference or not, and will adjust information accordingly.

 

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Attendees will get venue Wi-Fi settings pushed to their mobile device, along with device synced schedules, a widget that displays upcoming scheduled events on the lock screen, NFC badge scanning and even a vector based map. Those not attending will see the Off-Site Attendee mode and will be able to watch live streams, which can be streamed to larger screens via the devices HDMI port. Google has also said that live streams will be available for all sessions for those not attending.

Continue reading 'Google gives I/O 2013 Android app major update ahead of show opening next week' (full post)

Sony releases fiscal year results, sees first full-year profit in five years

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 9, 2013 2:20 pm

This morning Sony has released its full-year financial report for the 2012 fiscal year that ended in March. While the report is quite long and at points very boring, the major news is that the company managed to squeeze out its first full-year profit in five years.

 

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Strong smartphone sales are being attributed to the new profits, alongside its Vita console. Net income was approximately $458 million which is up from a loss of over $2 billion in 2011. Not all is good news for the electronics giant though, PlayStation 3 sales were down significantly, alongside LCD TV sales, which fell a staggering 38-percent.

 

Sony said that it expects smartphone sales to increase in 2013 by 27-percent and its LCD TV business to rebound by 16 million units before the fiscal year is up. The company can also expect to see a surge in console sales this fall when its still unpictured PlayStation 4 launches.

EA confirms staff layoffs and restructuring, 10% of all EA staff have been laid off

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 9, 2013 10:27 am

EA took some time during their recent earnings call to announce that they have laid off around 900 workers, with Blake Jorgensen, Vice President of EA saying: "Our cost reduction plans will reduce our overall headcount by approximately 10 percent".

 

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Jorgensen continued, saying that the restructuring plan and resignation of CEO John Riccitello cost the company around $15 million more than they had estimated in their recent estimate guidance. He also added that they're working toward achieving a 20% operating margin, which is a goal within reach after the layoffs.

ASUS teases 'We Transform' for Computex with teaser video

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: May 9, 2013 9:30 am

It's nearly that time of the year folks, Computex, and now that we're getting closer, ASUS have decided to unveil their Computex 2013 teaser video. Featuring a "We Transform" tag, we should expect another Transformer device.

 

 

The video doesn't show off much, but talks about how much ASUS have innovated over the years, and how they'll continue to do so. We should expect the 'ASUS Innovation Showcase' at Computex in June to be quite the event. You can be sure we'll be there covering it, and taking a hands-on look at their devices by yours truly.

 

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CyanogenMod 10.1 reaches Release Candidate stage

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: May 9, 2013 8:27 am

CyanogenMod 10.1 has reached a step closer to being a proper 'stable' release, reaching Release Candidate (RC) 1. The final release is now close, according to the team.

 

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CyanogenMod 10.1 RC1 is now available to download for compatible devices, and if you aren't aware of what it is, it's an OS based from Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, but has a huge cache of additional features. This is the perfect way to upgrade your device if your manufacturer hasn't bothered to do so. The compatibility list, is below:

Continue reading 'CyanogenMod 10.1 reaches Release Candidate stage' (full post)

NASA to get rid of Windows on the International Space Station, will replace it with Linux

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: May 9, 2013 7:27 am

NASA has decided to get rid of their Windows-powered notebooks on the International Space Station (ISS) and replace with them with Linux-powered counterparts. On top of this, the first humanoid robot in space, R2, is powered by Linux.

 

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Keith Chuvala, who has quite a mouthful of titles, is a United Space Alliance contractor, manager of the Space Operations Computing (SpOC) for NASA, and leader of the ISS's Laptops and Network Integration Teams, recently explained that NASA decided to move away from Windows, and in to the arms of Linux for the ISS's PCs. He said:

 

We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable - one that would give us in-house control. So if we needed to patch, adjust, or adapt, we could.

Continue reading 'NASA to get rid of Windows on the International Space Station, will replace it with Linux' (full post)

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