Xiaomi has taken the global smartphone market by storm, and is now the No. 3 smartphone manufacturer in the world - but has previously said it doesn't want to just rush into markets and struggle. Instead, the company will continue its expansion outside of China and focus on India, Brazil, Mexico, and a select handful of other markets, while continuing to learn and evolve.
"We don't think that the US market is in our near-term plans," said Hugo Barra, Xiaomi VP for international operations. "Brazil and Mexico are far more interesting markets."
It would seem like only a matter of time before Xiaomi makes an entrance to the US market, but with most subscribers on a postpaid plan - the US market still is not a priority for the company. Meanwhile, Xiaomi is able to launch products such as the Redmi Note becoming the first 4G smartphone on the Indian market available for less than $160.
Forget China and Russia - Sony Pictures Entertainment is investigating a major cyberattack that could have originated from North Korea. The attack crippled SPE's email and computer systems since Monday, interrupting employee operations throughout the short holiday week. Several movies being promoted by SPE were also impacted, as Twitter feeds were disrupted by the cyberattack.
The "Guardians of Peace" group claimed responsibility for the attack, and said it has a large amount of internal Sony data that it has taken. GOP is reportedly preparing a "volume of the data" to the Internet in the immediate future.
SPE is the studio behind "The Interview," a geopolitical satire that features James Franco and Seth Rogen as a talk show host and producer turned American operatives tasked with killing Kim Jong Un.
A California company has a novel approach to solve problems with delivering fast internet to remote and rural locations. The system can even deliver speeds faster than fiber in locations where laying fiber isn't a financially viable option. Lasers can beam signals up to 10km per jump by utilizing a technology called COR (Composite Optical RF). Each 10km span will merely end up with another repeater, and series of these can deliver up to 2 gigabits per second over amazing distances. This all sounds like the technology of the future, but AOptix Intellimax links are up and running on 5 continents and passing data through diverse weather conditions.
This isn't the first time lasers have been envisioned for backhaul internet applications, but the differentiator is the hybrid nature of the system. Inclement weather, such as rain, dust storms, and other factors, can disrupt laser transmissions. Fog can disrupt millimeter radio as well. The AOptix system also employs millimeter-wave radio in tandem with laser optics. Complex algorithms merge the laser and millimeter wave radio into one cohesive system that essentially provides fault-tolerance in inclement weather.
The use of credit cards with magnetic chips in the United States is slowly but surely being replaced by new chip and PIN cards that are more secure. However, retailers need to make sure their employees are properly trained in how to accept payments with chip and PIN cards, especially with some retailers replacing their own magnetic cards with the newer security.
Target, which suffered a massive breach at the end of 2013, is rolling out support for chip and PIN cards - and other retailers that suffered data breaches are expected to follow suit. But customers are finding checkout to be a tedious process when cashiers are unsure how to handle this new this payment process, however, the growing pains should prove to be worth it.
The use of chip and PIN technology will likely begin to transition from large retailers down to smaller businesses, as they discover its added security benefits. "It's about the peace of mind for the consumer, right?" said Shane Cowger, Arvest Bank sales manager, in a statement. "More consumers feel comfortable coming into your store, hopefully the more money they're going to spend in return."
Those looking for the ultimate in NAS performance have long yearned for SSD specific NAS models. 2.5" NAS models offer a slim design and impressive density, but adding in SSDs can actually provide a big capacity bump along with increased performance. Due to popular demand QNAP has released the TS-451S Turbo NAS, the first consumer NAS unit designed for SSDs.
The four-bay TS-451S Turbo NAS features a quad-core Celeron 2.41Ghz processor and comes with 4GB of DDR3L, which can be easily increased to 8GB. The Turbo has a low price point that is similar to HDD NAS models, so users do not have to pay a premium for the 4,000+ IOPS performance, at least for the NAS. SSDs are selling as low as 35 cents a GB, so users can find plenty of economical SSDs on the market. SSDs are well-suited for NAS environments due to lower power consumption and totally silent operation. The new TS-451S Turbo will be available within a month.
There have been more than 6 million email accounts and credentials leaked over the past three months, as several major data breaches gave criminals a treasure trove of information. There are typically just 150,000 accounts stolen per month, according to Heimdal Security, so seeing more than 6 million is being seen as an epidemic.
"As a security company we only pick up a smaller part of what hackers actually have access to, and you have to remember that the 6 million accounts have only been discovered over the last three months," said Morten Kjaersgaard, Heimdal Security CEO. "The actual number could be 20 times as high or more."
The entire year has been a painful lesson in how evolved cybercriminals have become in their craft, as experts believe data breaches - and more compromised information - is likely to happen multiple times in the future.
Mushkin announced the release of the Reactor SSD. The drive only has one listed capacity of 1TB, but we would expect it to be available in numerous capacity points. The Reactor sports the Silicon Motion SM2246EN controller, but no word on the type of NAND employed. The SSD only features a three-year warranty, which is a bit light in the era of 10-year warranties we see with several MLC SSDs. The NAND is likely MLC, as that version of Silicon Motion's controller doesn't support TLC, at least to our knowledge.
The Reactor comes in a 2.5" 7mm form factor, which is perfect for mobile applications. The SMI controller also supports DevSlp, a key function that idles the SSD to save power in mobile applications. The Reactor features speed of 74,000/76,000 IOPS random read/write and 560/460 MB/s sequential read/write speed. The Reactor wades into an extremely competitive market, and low-cost MLC and TLC SSDs are lowering the bar on pricing. The fab-enabled SSD manufacturers are in the midst of a cost-cutting cycle, and current prices are as low as 34 cents per GB.
Danish citizen Hammad Akbar pleaded guilty for advertising and selling StealthGenie, a spyware application designed to allow customers to snoop on mobile phones. Akbar will have to pay $500,000 and turn over source code, but avoided jail time for marketing the app.
StealthGenie allowed users to monitor phone calls, text messages, videos, and other communications on victims' smartphones. The spyware was able to be installed on Apple iPhones, Google Android smartphones, and BlackBerry devices, and was extremely difficult to detect on compromised devices.
"Mr. Akbar is the first-ever person to admit criminal activity in advertising and selling spyware that invades an unwitting victim's confidential communication," said Andrew McCabe, FBI Assistant Director in Charge, in a statement. "This illegal spyware provides individuals with an option to track a person's every move without their knowledge. As technology evolves, the FBI will continue to evolve to protect consumers from those who sell illegal spyware."
Apple iOS 8.0 and 8.1 is now installed on 60 percent of iPhone smartphones and iPad tablets, according to figures recently released by Apple. The November figure is an 8 percent increase since October, when just 52 percent of users had installed iOS 8.0/8.1 - as Apple continues to try to get users to upgrade.
There are still 35 percent of users running iOS 7 - which captured 78 percent adoption at its peak - but there are some significant hurdles users must deal with when trying to upgrade to the newest version of iOS. iOS 8 requires anywhere from 4.7GB up to 6.9GB of free space, so some users have found they need to begin uninstalling apps. In addition, the Over The Air download can be a major drag for users on slower connections.
Aside from those logistical issues, some iPhone 6 Plus owners complained of problems when they upgraded to iOS 8.0.1.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings believes traditional broadcast TV is operating on borrowed time, and it might not last past 2030. It's not necessarily surprising, as Hastings has painted a doom and gloom picture for broadcast TV over the past couple of years, though it appears to be coming true. There are currently more than 34 million Netflix subscribers in the United States, while the service continues to roll out in overseas markets.
"It's kind of like the horse, you know, the horse was good until we had the car," Hastings reportedly said. "The age of broadcast TV will probably last until 2030."
Even if broadcast TV continues to persevere, there is growing interest among premium movie channels and broadcasters - HBO, CBS, and other channels are dabbling in subscription online video services. It wouldn't be surprising to see traditional TV apps becoming apps on connected smart TVs, Blu-ray players, and other entertainment devices.