MWC 2014 - During a panel discussion in Barcelona this week, Motorola senior vice president, Rick Osterloh, says that the company is planning on launching a new smartwatch later this year. The wearable device is said to address issues consumers have with current smartwatch models on the market and will improve on style and battery life. It is unknown what the smartwatch may look like, but we are willing to bet that Motorola will steer clear of its MotoACTV design that saw less than stellar sales since its launch.
This news comes as a surprise, especially since the company is in the midst of a transition of ownership phase between Google and its new owners, Lenovo. From a business standpoint, the announcement does make some sense though as smartwatches and other wearable technology are at the forefront of consumer spending, a market which is dominated by LG, Pebble, and Samsung at the moment. Let's just hope that Motorola can pull it off this time under the leadership of Lenovo.
Since his first day on the job, BlackBerry's new CEO, John Chen, has been focused on rebuilding the company from the ashes left over from his predecessors tenure with the company. That does not mean that he would not sell off key components of the company if the right offer was made. During an interview with CNBC, Chen told reporters that he would sell off BlackBerry Messenger, the company's widely popular messaging service, if the price was right.
"If somebody comes to me with $19 billion I would definitely sell it," Chen said. "I mean, I would recommend to the board to take it." He was of course referring to the total selling price that Facebook acquired WhatsApp for earlier this week. Unfortunately it seems that the greatly inflated acquisition of WhatsApp has set a false precedence or "bar" if you will at what companies value their messaging services at.
Unfortunately what I feel is happening is that another .com bubble is inflating, and eventually the market will not be able to sustain all of these $1 billion, $3 billion, and $19 billion valuations, causing the bubble to burst the same way it did in the late 90s. It feels like every tech company, start-up, and company fork is being valued at $1 billion plus these days, and that trend does not seem to be slowing at all. Eventually something will have to give, and the aftermath will not be pretty if history is any indication.
MWC 2014 - AMD has partnered with Bluestacks to unveil a new dual-OS Android solution that has been optimized for AMD APUs at this weeks Mobile World Congress. The new dual OS solution brings a virtualized Android experience to new Microsoft Windows 8-based AMD-based tablets, 2-in-1s, notebooks and desktops and can be found on devices at select retailers across the US now.
"The ability to span two OS ecosystems gives end-users access to both Windows and Android apps, but the key is providing for the seamless integration of entertainment and productivity across those ecosystems," said Steve Belt, corporate vice president, Product Management, at AMD. "Introducing our solution in retail puts AMD and BlueStacks in a unique position to offer in-store customers the option to include access to this great experience at the time of purchase of their new systems."
Irvine, Ca. based WD, a Western Digital company, launched its entrance into the surveillance specific drive market today with a new line of HDDs named WD Purple. These 3.5" drives are designed specifically to address the unique requirement of CCTV applications that are always-on and write intensive. With capacities up to 4TB they are capable of supporting 32 high definition cameras.
WD Purple drives can be stacked in an eight bay array, which according to Ying Yang, director of testing, Hikvision, adds "flexibility to expand for future system coverage". In addition to increased flexibility, the company's proprietary AllFrame technology implemented in WD Purple protects against pixilation and dropped frames.
While the general conscious is that the Galaxy S5 is nothing to get terribly excited about, the phone does bring a few new features to the market and it can now lay claim to being the fastest gaming smartphone in the world. Today Rightware announced that the Samsung Galaxy S5 scored high enough in its Basemark X benchmark to claim the number one spot on its fastest smartphones list.
Featuring a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor clocked to 2.5GHz and an Adreno 330 GPU, the Galaxy S5 was able to obtain a Basemark X score of 23501.52 which is 1155.36 points higher than its closest competitor the ASUS Padfone Infinity 2 which runs the Qualcomm MSM8974, a quad-core processor clocked to 2.1GHz. The Galaxy S5 also beat out the Sony Xperia Z Ultra, and both variants of the Xperia Z1.
There are plenty of smartwatches on the market today. Samsung has its Gear line of products and there is the Pebble smartwatches as well. Qualcomm has had its Toq smartwatch on the market for a while. The watch launched in December of last year.
So far, the reviews of the Toq have been mixed and sales haven't been as strong as Qualcomm probably hoped. Today the announcement was made that the Toq will be cheaper. Not just a little cheaper either, Qualcomm has cut the price of its Toq smartwatch by $100.
The new retail price for the Toq is $250, it launched at $350. Other than the price cut, the watch maintains the same features. Qualcomm is selling the Toq in black or limited edition white via its website for $249.99 right now.
RSA 2014 - During the 2014 RSA Conference in San Francisco, the non-profit Software Assurance Forum for Excellence in Code (SAFECode) released software security training courses to help drive interest in better cyber security training.
The free training courses are available via webcast and cover a variety of different topics, including SQL injection prevention to cross site request forgery. Each course is designed to help security experts develop their own internal training programs for use by product developers and others concerned about security.
The current course offerings: Product Penetration Testing 101, Cross Site Scripting (XSS) 101, and Secure Java Programming 101 - SAFECode will launch Secure Memory Handling in C 101, and Using Cryptography the Right Way.
T-Mobile might be the smallest of the four major carriers in the US, but it is putting pressure on other carriers to match its offers. AT&T has announced a move that is likely in response to pressure from T-Mobile that anyone with friends or family outside the US will appreciate.
Starting on February 28, anyone on an AT&T Mobile Share plan will be able to send unlimited text messages from the US to just about any other country at no cost. The change also makes voice calls placed to other countries like Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean with a monthly plans selling for $5 per month.
The minutes on that plan are a penny each. AT&T previously charged people $10 per month for international texting and a higher per minute rate for calls to other countries.
Dean Hall, the creator of DayZ, is planning to step down as the lead designer of the game. He has explained his desire to leave Bohemia Interactive, something he will do before the end of the year, after which he will set up a new studio in New Zealand.
Hall said: "I have a specific use. I'm really good at risk-taking and making other people take risks, I've always been good at that in my life. Like you say, maybe I've got the gift of the gab, so I can talk, I can explain something, I can talk people up to the ledge and get them to jump off it. Eventually, that's the bad person to have. Eventually, you don't want the guy telling you to go over the top and get through. So at some point I'll be a disaster for the project, at least in a leadership role".
The DayZ creator said that he had no plans to be around this year, but claimed "it would be stupid not to, and it would be unfair to the community". Don't fret though, as Hall will "always be involved" with DayZ, in either a leader or creative role. Hall said that DayZ is a "fundamentally flawed" concept, and that it is "not the perfect game, it's not the multiplayer experience, and it never can be, [with] the absolute spark that I want in it".
One of the things that bummed out some Xbox One gamers at launch was the fact that the Twitch live broadcasting service for games wasn't available. All the Xbox One gamer could do was record and upload videos. Gamers on the PS4 console were able to stream their live games.
The good news is that Twitch live game streaming will be coming to the Xbox One game console next month. The feature will come along with an update to the console in March. The update will bring with it in addition to live streaming of games the ability to start game broadcasts using your voice, the ability to archive game clips, and the ability to watch Twitch streams broadcast from any device.
That means you can watch PS4 game streams on your Xbox One. Right now, the Xbox One user can only spectate on streams or record game clips using the Upload app. Players will also be able to broadcast from their living room using the Kinect camera. The update should land on March 11 along with Titanfall.