MWC 2014 - The quest for a $25 smartphone has been at the forefront of Mozilla and Canonnical's minds for sometime and now it appears that those dreams just might be coming true for Mozilla. Today Mozilla and Spreadtrum announced that they have teamed up to create a few turnkey FireFox OS powered reference design smartphones based on Spreadtrum's entry-level smartphone chipset.
Spreadtrum and Mozilla have completed several devices running Firefox OS and Spreadtrum's WCDMA and EDGE chipsets, reference designs that will allow OEMs to bring the first $25 smartphones to market. "Spreadtrum's turnkey reference design brings together this highly cost-effective chipset platform with the intuitive, easy-to-use experience and Web/HTML5 application ecosystem of Firefox OS," said the company in a release. "Firefox OS smartphones are the first devices powered completely by Web technologies to deliver the performance, personalization and price users want in a smartphone with a beautiful, intuitive and easy-to-use experience that is unmatched by other phones."
Today WhatsApp announced a new upcoming feature that most likely played a major role in Facebook's recent acquisition of the company. WhatsApp says that later this year it will be adding voice calling services to the popular text messaging app, a move that will undoubtedly send it rocketing even further past its competition. The new Voice calling feature will arrive on Android and iOS first, with Windows Phone and BlackBerry receiving the new features later down the road.
WhatsApp says that the new voice calling feature will be free initially, but could charge for the service in the future, much like the way its messaging service is free for the first year and then requires a $0.99 per year subscription fee. If the company can keep the new voice calling service in the same $0.99 to $2.99 per year range, I can see almost everyone subscribing at the new rate, which in turn would equate to massive revenue growth for Facebook and WhatsApp.
Additionally, WhatsApp's founder issued an official apology for the downtime the service recently suffered. Jan Koum, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO said that the outage was the app's longest ever, lasting about four hours. As someone who uses WhatsApp almost exclusively for all of his text messaging, the outage was an annoyance, but as a techie myself, I know that these things happen. I do find it refreshing to see a CEO apologize about the outage, something not many other leaders of tech companies do when their services go down.
With several reports popping up about the growing dominance of Sony's PS4 over Microsoft's Xbox One, it appears that Microsoft is slashing prices of its console to stay competitive in certain markets. Today Microsoft announced that it has dropped the price of the Xbox One from 499 euros down to 399.99 euros, which will go in effect on Friday.
In an effort to further boost sales that are beginning to lag behind the PS4, Microsoft also said that it has opened up pre-orders for a bundle pack that includes Titan Fall for $499.99. Unfortunately, even the 100 euro price cut is not enough to combat Sony's pricing on the PS4 which is currently at 349.99 euros, which is 50 euros less. The Xbox One does however come bundled with the Kinect and PS4 users must purchase their motion controller separately. What will be interesting is to see how long it takes for the price cuts to reach the US.
Hewlett-Packard wants to push the boundaries of cyber threat collaboration, hoping to bring organizations together in an effort to share threat intelligence.
In 2013 alone, companies across the world spent an estimated $46 billion to counter cyberthreats - but the number of attacks actually increased 20 percent - and HP hopes to reduce the number of attacks.
"Collaboration is fueling unprecedented innovation in the criminal marketplace, enabling the ecosystem of adversaries to stay ahead of our defenses," said Art Gilliland, HP Enterprise Security Products SVP, in a press statement. "Crow-sourced threat intelligence from our vast community of customers, partners and researchers is essential in this battle against cyercrime; we need to stop chasing silver bullet technologies and start sharing actionable intelligence through our solutions, expertise and best practices if we are going to compete and win."
Today Elon Musk unveiled the new landing leg attachments that have been fitted to Space X's Falcon 9 rocket. The legs are intended to make recovery of the rocket's lift stages easier and more efficient. Currently Space X glides the first stage of the rocket into the Atlantic Ocean several hundred miles from the launch site at Cape Canaveral, Florida. As you would expect, this form of recovery is expensive, and time consuming.
With the addition of the new landing legs, Space X hopes to eventually fly the rocket's first stage back to a landing site near the launch pad, and have it land itself vertically, making recovery and reuse much easier and far cheaper than current methods. The new landing legs are built out of a carbon fiber outer skin with a honeycomb inner layer comprised from high-alloy aluminum. The legs are planned to play on the Falcon 9's mission to the International Space Station on March 16th, but the first stage will be guided to the Atlantic for this first flight as Space X needs to test how the legs handle take off before attempting a vertical landing.
Around 80 percent of the top 25 small office/home office (SOHO) wireless routers available on Amazon are susceptible to security vulnerabilities that put users at risk, according to research recently compiled by security and compliance company Tripwire.
The Tripwire Vulnerability and Exposure Research Team (VERT) also found that 34 percent of the top 50 best-selling routers have publicly documented exploits out in the wild.
"Unfortunately, users don't change the default administrator passwords or the default IPs in these devices and this behavior, along with the prevalence of authentication bypass vulnerabilities, opens the door for widespread attacks through malicious web sites, browser plugins, and smartphone applications," said Craig Young, Tripwire security researcher, in a press statement.
During the RSA Conference 2014, Novetta Solutions and Teradata teamed up to develop the Novetta Cyber Analytics solution to help keep corporate networks more secure.
The new analytics platform will make it easier for security experts to accelerate interruption of attacks while also quickly identifying the who, what, where, when, and why regarding cyberattacks.
"Our customers want a cyber security analytics capability that minimizes the time between network intrusion, discovery and recovery," said John Buke, Teradata VP of industry marketing, in a press statement. "The new Novetta Cyber Analytics solution with Teradata's high-performance analytic data platform provides greater context and deeper perspective into data in motion on the network."
MWC 2014 is underway meaning that there is lots of news in the smartphone realm today. One of the new devices that was unveiled today at the show is the ZTE Grand Memo II LTE. As the name of the smartphone suggests, the device operates on 4G LTE networks.
The smartphone runs the Android 4.4 KitKat OS and measures 161.5 x 83 x 7.2mm. The screen is a bit 6-inch HD TFT unit that supports 16 million colors and multi touch. The rear camera of the smartphone is a 13MP unit and it uses a Sony BSI image sensor.
The rear camera also has flash and auto focus. The front camera is a 5MP unit that has fixed focus. The battery that powers the device is a 3200 mAh unit. The Grand Memo II LTE uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 2GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The smartphone also has GPS with AGPS, integrated Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.
MWC 2014 - In front of a packed house and more than 1/4 of a million live stream viewers, Samsung's CEO, JK Shin, took the stage at the company's Unpacked 5 event to unveil the long awaited successor to the unimaginably popular Galaxy S4 smartphone, the Galaxy S5. Samsung says the Galaxy S5 has been built to help enhance our daily lives, and to make every day task easier.
The Galaxy S5 is not the full redesigned smartphone everyone had asked for, but the new flagship smartphone is definitely an update from the Galaxy S4. The S5 features a larger 5.1-inch 1080p, Super AMOLED display that is on par with the Galaxy S4's image quality. The Galaxy S5 also still retains the familiar plastic frame, but does feature a waterproof IP7 rating, as well as an integrated fingerprint scanner. More details on specific hardware will be unveiled tomorrow at part 2 of the Unpacked event, but the last thing we do know about the device is that its smooth back has been replaced by a new dimpled texture which is available in several different colors.
Last year the first YotaPhone debuted. The device was the first dual screen smartphone to feature a normal LCD on one side and an electronic paper display (EPD) on the other. That LCD screen is perfect for playing games and watching videos that need full color.
On the other side, the EPD is perfect for reading in direct sunlight and saving battery power when viewing documents. At MWC 2014, the next generation YotaPhone has been unveiled and it has some nice updates from the original.
The updates include an electronic paper display that has full touch control. The electronic paper display is always-on and is very power miserly for long battery life. The new YotaPhone allows people to respond to messages, social networks, emails, and calls without having to wake up the color LCD and consume more power. The EPD is 4.7-inches and the LCD on the other side is a 5-inch AMOLED unit.