As expected this week from Sprint, the company unveiled cheaper pricing plans, including data-heavy family plans available for $160 per month. Sprint will also offer $350 to entice users away from rival wireless carriers, following several years that saw millions of customers abandon ship. A subscriber with four lines and 20GB of shared data will spend $160 per month under new Sprint pricing.
"Sprint is offering the best value to data-hungry consumers. Period," said Marcelo Claure, Sprint CEO, in a press statement. "We are doubling the high-speed wireless data because today's customers rely so much on their smartphones and tablets. We make it simple and easy for wireless consumers to get the data they need at affordable prices to make their lives easier, more productive and enjoyable."
Sprint's failed bid for T-Mobile left company officials scratching their heads as to what's next - and this latest effort is aimed at better competing with Verizon Wireless and AT&T - while also competing with T-Mobile's disruptive marketing strategies. Four lines with the same data offerings would cost around $310 per month with Verizon and AT&T, and would cost $180 on T-Mobile.
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wrote a letter addressed to current CEO Satya Nadella, stating he is stepping down as a Microsoft board member. Ballmer retired almost six months ago and Microsoft picked Nadella to try to steer the company into a mobile, cloud-connected world.
"I bleed Microsoft - have for 34 years and I always will," Ballmer wrote in the letter. "I continue to love discussing the company's future. I love trying new products and sending feedback. I love reading about what is going on at the company. Count on me to keep ideas and inputs flowing. The company will move to higher heights. I will be proud, and I will benefit through my share ownership. I promise to support and encourage boldness by management in my role as a shareholder in any way I can."
It's not a surprise to hear Ballmer has stepped down from the board, especially as his focus turns more towards the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. In addition to owning the NBA franchise, Ballmer has stayed active in the non-profit community, teaching and studying, which is "taking a lot of time."
Startups and established companies are developing new technologies to better monitor health and create gadgets that can improve the lives of seniors. As the wearables market expands further, helping those with the most significant medical needs has become important for software developers and hardware manufacturers.
One such technology is a pendant being used at the Edgemere retirement community in Dallas, Texas, which sends an alert if a resident falls. The custom pendant can track the fall and will immediately notify staff members, so they can be quickly dispatched to address the situation.
"The pendant will pick up the arc of that fall," said John Falldine, Edgemere managing director, in a statement to the media. "It sends the same signal to us as though the resident had hit the button."
A Silicon Valley resident purchased a 1.4-acre home site near Lake Tahoe, a popular Northern California tourist destination, for $1.6 million in bitcoins. It was the first time the Martis Camp real estate company handled a transaction in bitcoins, but enjoyed a pleasurable experience this time around. The deal closed on August 6 and serves as a significant real estate transaction using bitcoins, with many companies still seeking cold, hard cash.
"We didn't know much about (Bitcoin)," said Brian Hull, Martis Camp sales director, in a statement to the media. "We actually closed in the quickest time frame that we've ever closed on a developer lot transaction."
Earlier in the year, the Sacramento Kings NBA team became the first professional sports team to begin accepting bitcoins - as more businesses embrace the sometimes volatile cryptocurrency. Meanwhile, Overstock.com estimates $6 million to $8 million in bitcoin sales during 2014, with the popular e-tailer serving as a major business early adopter.
Roku has been making set top boxes with its streaming service on them for a long time now and the company is set to move into a different category with a new product. The new product is a line of Smart TVs that are said to be streaming displays first and normal TVs second.
The TVs are called Roku smart TVs and will come from Chinese makers like HiSense and TCL. Models will ship from both companies in a range of screen sizes and are said to start shipping in a few weeks. When the TVs are first turned on, owners will see options for streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, and HBO Go.
Access to content from a cable box or TV antenna will also be offered and the setup menu will allow users to change what they see first to input from a cable box if desired. The TVs will also include remotes that have one touch access to streaming services. A 32-inch Roku smart TV will sell for $229 with a 40-inch going for $329 from TCL.
NFL football is big business with team owners spending millions and millions of dollars on single players and raking in millions and millions of dollars in profits each year. With so much money made and spent in the NFL, it's natural for teams to want seriously high tech stadiums for their teams to play in.
One of the newest and most high tech stadiums in the league is Levi's Stadium where the San Francisco 49ers play. The stadium has a very robust wireless infrastructure that will allow the over 70,000 fans that can fill the stadium to all connect to Wi-Fi and 4G networks.
The stadium has 400 miles of cabling inside and 1200 distributed antenna systems for Wi-Fi. The stadium also has an internet backbone that offers 40 gigabits per second of bandwidth, which is 40 times more bandwidth than any other stadium. The stadium also has 1700 beacons to give people directions within the stadium. Other tech features include 2000 Sony TVs and 70 4k TVs in addition to a pair of giant LED displays in each end zone.
NASA's Curiosity rover has been picking its way over the rocks and sand of Mars for a long time now on its way to the ultimate goal of reaching Mount Sharp in the center of Gale Crater. Curiosity was taking a path through what has been dubbed Hidden Valley, which is a sandy area about the length of a football field.
However, Curiosity ran into a problem with its chosen path recently when the rover and its controllers discovered that the sand in Hidden Valley was much slipperier than expected. NASA scientists are now assessing alternative routes that would take Curiosity north of the valley and hopefully find more traction for the 1-ton rover.
"We need to gain a better understanding of the interaction between the wheels and Martian sand ripples, and Hidden Valley is not a good location for experimenting," Curiosity project manager Jim Erickson, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California said in a statement.
One of the big features that rumors have been claiming Apple will have on the next iPhone is a screen covered with sapphire glass. The big benefit of sapphire glass is that it is nearly indestructible and said to only be able to be scratched using a diamond. However, one analyst is now saying that an iPhone with sapphire glass is unlikely to land this year.
The analyst that thinks sapphire glass is unlikely to land this year is Rod Hall. Hall noted that right now producing sapphire displays is about ten times more expensive than using Corning Gorilla Glass. Gorilla Glass is used to cover the LCD of many of the most popular smartphones on the market, including current iPhones.
Hall believes that Apple might produce a high-end line of iPhones in limited quantity with sapphire glass, but he doesn't believe those will come until next year. The home button for the iPhone 5S is covered with sapphire glass and the lens cover is made of the material as well.
HP is set to launch a new Windows notebook to compete against the lower cost Chromebooks already on the market. The machine was leaked by a site called Mobilegeeks who claims the machine will be called the HP Stream 14. The Stream 14 is expected to land running Windows 8.1 with Bing.
That operating system is a version of windows with fewer features than the normal version of Windows. Other features of the Stream 14 notebook will include a 14-inch screen with a resolution of 1366 x 768. Under the hood of the machine will be an AMD processor and 2GB of RAM.
Storage options will be either a 32GB or 64GB SSD with a slot for a SD card for expansion. Microsoft will also offer 100GB of OneDrive space for two years with the purchase. Rounding out the features list is a HD resolution webcam, Beats Audio, a USB 3.0 port, and Radeon R3 graphics. The launch date for this notebook is unknown and the price is rumored to be under $200.
When PC enthusiasts think of AMD Radeon branding the thing that comes to mind is probably going to be video cards. The Radeon line has a new product category that has just gone official- SSDs. AMD has unveiled the Radeon R7 SSD series and the drives are made by OCZ.
There are three SSDs in the line including 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB drives. Performance is promised to be 545MB/s read and up to 530MB/s write. The drives are also tipped to have 100,000 read IOPS and 90,000 write IOPS.
Under the hood, the R7 SSD series uses the Barefoot 3 controller and Toshiba A19 NAND. Power consumption for the drives is 0.6W-2.7W. The smallest 120GB capacity drive will sell for $100 and includes a four-year warranty.