Sprint users who have access to LTE phones often don't have access to any LTE coverage. I, for one, was one of those left out in the dark ages by Sprint, even though I have the latest LTE iPhone 5. While in Vegas for CES 2013, I was amazed that LTE hadn't hit that market yet, as CES would seem to be a perfect time to light it up.
However, Sprint is far behind AT&T and Verizon in terms of LTE coverage, so they are rapidly moving to implement LTE across the country and have pledged to cover their entire 3G footprint with LTE by the end of the year. 28 more cities have been added to the list of cities getting 4G in the coming months.
These markets include: Paris, Texas; Decatur, Ala.; Winona, Minn.; Homosassa Springs, Fla.; and Glasgow, Ky. While one would expect Sprint to cover the major cities and markets first, in no way is this bad news. This is progress, though they need to make it at a much quicker rate to keep their pledge.
Larry Page, during a recent interview with Wired, brought up Steve Job's comment about waging thermonuclear war on Android. His response was a simple, yet effective one: "How well is that working?" If you use stock price to judge how well its working, then the answer is also simple: not well.
The interview then transitioned towards self-driving cars and Google X, known for projects such as the Google Self-Driving car and Project Glass:
You know, we always have these debates: We have all this money, we have all these people, why aren't we doing more stuff? You may say that Apple only does a very, very small number of things, and that's working pretty well for them. But I find that unsatisfying. I feel like there are all these opportunities in the world to use technology to make people's lives better. At Google we're attacking maybe 0.1 percent of that space. And all the tech companies combined are only at like 1 percent. That means there's 99 percent virgin territory. Investors always worry, "Oh, you guys are going to spend too much money on these crazy things." But those are now the things they're most excited about-YouTube, Chrome, Android. If you're not doing some things that are crazy, then you're doing the wrong things.
It seems as though Google isn't too worried about the future.
LG have some grand plans for 2013, and by grand, we mean really grand - the South Korean company are expecting to have a ten-fold increase in sales according to The Korea Times.
The Korea Times' report also says that LG are looking to sell roughly 75 million handsets this year, with 45 million of those being smartphones. LG also talks about jumping into the Windows Phone 8 bandwagon, with a senior executive from one of LG's partners telling The Korea Times:
We will release quite a number of new Optimus devices this year, and LG also has some new smartphones in the works that will run Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.
The executive adds that this year "won't be as bullish for LG as last year" and that the Nexus 4 and Optimus G have helped the South Korean company make great impressions with major carriers. These two smartphones have shown not only the carriers, but consumers that LG are more than capable of releasing some of the best built, and outright best smartphones on the market right now.
I've just moved house and I'm stuck with piddly 4Mbit ADSL, which isn't too bad, but nothing quite like Google's Fiber service that has rolled into Kansas City.
The Associated Press is reporting that thanks to Google's Fiber service, it has turned Kansas City into a huge attraction for tech startups who want to jump onto the fastest Internet access in the US. The AP has reported that several startups have popped up in Kansas City, "working on their ideas for the next high-tech startup".
The AP cites one startup residence, which has been called the "Home for Hackers" that provides entrepreneurs "a deal that allows them to live rent-free for up to three months "while they develop their business plans". The Home for Hackers has three spots specifically reserved for entrepreneurs and an additional bedroom set up for "fiber tourists who want a place for a day or two where they can download anything faster than they could elsewhere."
AMD is on the offensive claiming that ex-employees have provided NVIDIA with stolen documents containing some of AMD's most sensitive trade secrets. NVIDIA hired away former AMD executive Robert Feldstein, a person that was instrumental in getting AMD's graphics chips into the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii.
"The volume of materials that these three defendants collectively transferred to storage devices, each of which is unaccounted for, as they left to work for AMD's competitor, exceeds 100,000 electronic files," AMD claims.
Not only is AMD accusing these ex-employees of stealing sensitive documents, AMD says that the former VP violated a "no-solicitation of employees" promise when he worked on bringing over other AMD employees to NVIDIA. We're likely to see a court battle where more evidence and details will come out.
Things looking up for Facebook as Bank of America raises price target to $35 thanks to 'innovation' with Graph Search
With the "innovation" of Graph Search, some investors are seeing a brighter future ahead for Facebook. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has revised their target price for Facebook stock, increasing it to $35 from $31. Justin Post, an analyst for the bank, says Graph Search was "an example of Facebook's ongoing innovation to increase engagement and potential to add revenues to the platform."
Facebook's stock is actually trading down by about 0.8 percent, at the time of writing, which could be investors having some uncertainty about the Graph Search product that was introduced yesterday. Investors are likely not happy that Facebook unveiled something that couldn't be monetized immediately.
Bank of America continues to suggest buying the stock.
Online anonymity has been dealt yet another hard hitting blow, this time by Australian courts. In a case of defamation, the courts have ordered that Google relinquish all relevant evidentiary material about several bloggers who allegedly defamed businessman Shane Radbone.
The former footballer along with his wife want to sue the bloggers on accusations of defamation and up until now, the problem was that the bloggers were just anonymous faces behind a blog. The courts have given Google a total of 21 days to comply with the order, which states that Google must hand over email addresses, telephone numbers and the IP addresses provided by the person or persons who created the blog.
Google declined to comment on the case, but we know that the company has handed over details in criminal cases and criminal investigations before. It is unclear whether Google has handed over information in civil legal proceedings before, though.
Apple's business hasn't been doing well as of late. It's stock is the lowest its been since February of last year. Now, Apple has just lost their Vice President of Retail, Jerry McDougal. McDougal is said to have left the company to "spend more time with his family," though this seems a bit fishy.
One theory is that Tim Cook passed him over for the position of Senior Vice President of Retail, a position that hasn't been filled since the firing of John Browett back in October. This could indicate that Tim Cook is getting close to nominating a replacement candidate.
Apple has replaced McDougal with Jim Bean, current VP of Finance and someone who has been with the company for 15 years now.
It's a fairly gloomy outlook for the Surface RT tablet. An estimate by analyst Brent Thill places the number sold around one million for last quarter. This is down from a previous estimate of two million. To put that estimate in perspective, analysts are expecting Apple to have sold around 20 million iPads during the same period.
That means that Microsoft has been estimated to have sold just 5 percent of the number of tablets that Apple did. Now, when you add in tablets running the Android operating system, Microsoft's share of the tablet market is even less.
Surface Pro could help Microsoft's weak numbers. Since it runs Intel chips, it would give corporate users an alternative to the iPad, though numerous other Intel-based tablets are coming out as well.
Agence France-Presse and The Washington Post are in a bit of hot water after using pictures that were tweeted by a photo journalist. The story goes something like this: after the Haiti earthquake back in January 2010, AFP and The Washington Post used pictures tweeted by photojournalist Daniel Morel. Morel accused AFP of copyright infringement, so AFP sued Morel to get him to stop.
Morel countersued and the court battle has ended in a ruling saying that AFP and The Washington Post improperly used the photos. AFP argued that because the pictures were provided publicly, Twitter's terms of service allowed those pictures to be used. While Twitter's terms do allow some use of the pictures, such as retweeting them, Twitter maintains that users own their content.
"As has always been our policy, Twitter users own their photos," a Twitter spokesman said. There are still more issues to be settled in a trial, though the judge has limited damages that could potentially be recovered by Morel. The main takeaway is that you should not use Twitter pictures commercially without first obtaining permission to do so.
Comcast has purchased a stake worth $150 million in Arris, a set-top box maker. Cable still relies on users having set-top boxes, so it's probably not a bad investment for Comcast to be making. In return for the cash, Comcast will receive around 10.6 million shares of common stock in the company.
Comcast's purchase will close along with Arris' purchase of Motorola Home from Google. The value of Motorola Home is valued at $2.35 billion. Both Comcast and Google will end up with roughly a 7.85 percent stake in Arris once the deals are complete.
"We are very pleased that Comcast has agreed to make this significant investment in Arris," said Bob Stanzione, CEO of Arris. "We believe this investment by one of our largest customers is a strong indication of customer support for the Motorola Home acquisition and its potential to accelerate innovation to the benefit of the industry and consumers."
The all-electric vehicles made by Tesla are awesome pieces of technology. Not only should they help advance battery technology, they look great and, apparently, drive great. Tesla is planning to open 25 more stores during 2013, which is almost double that of the 13 stores it opened in 2012.
Half of those locations will be in the United States and the other half will be in foreign countries, including Tesla's first location in China. The new location in China is set to open this Spring.
Tesla has also redoubled its commitment to rolling out Supercharger charging stations across the United States. Currently only eight are in operation, most of which are on the west coast. Tesla plans to cover both coasts and then connect them in the middle so that someone can travel from Boston to LA without using any gas.
Data from Salorix suggests that Samsung was the top brand on Twitter during the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show, which isn't too surprising. Salorix looked at over one million tweets related to CES to come to these conclusions. While Samsung led the pack, Sony, Panasonic, Lenovo, and LG weren't far behind.
As far as top products go, 4K "Ultra HD" TV's and mobile devices were given the most attention, which is also unsurprising for someone who attended the show. This year's CES was pretty much entirely dominated by mobile devices and 4K televisions. Samsung was on top of the Twitter heap every day, save for Day 1, when Sony was on top.
Day 2, which saw Samsung's keynote, was dominated by Samsung, with over 30 percent of CES-related tweets being about the company. It's prototypes, including a flexible cellphone and curved TV, were especially popular among the Twitter crowd.
The people in charge of the United States government are apparently not above illegally downloading movies and music, if data by ScanEye is to be believed. ScanEye tracks IP addresses downloading files from BitTorrent and matches those IP addresses to a physical location by utilizing MaxMind.
The data shows that "dozens" of films and TV shows have been downloaded by computers in the House of Representatives. Remember, this was the group of legislators responsible for creating SOPA and PIPA. Among the downloaded TV shows and movies were Glee, Dexter, Lawless, The Cabin in the Woods, and Life of Pi, which doesn't even release until March 5.
You can check out the full ScanEye report at Scribd.
Before South Park came along and twisted our minds and caused us to laugh out loud to things we never thought we would, who would've thought that the two co-creators behind the animated comedy would be getting to this point?
Trey Parker and Matt Stone have announced that they are opening their own movie studio called Important Studio. The first movie to be released looks to be a big screen version of "The Book of Mormon". This is a huge change in how Hollywood traditionally works, but we're seeing more and more creators dealing directly with their fan bases over the Internet, compared to the traditional way of doing things.
The press release announcing the studio had the two South Park creators settling on this quip:
Having worked with several different studios over the years, we came to realize that our favorite people in the world are ourselves.
Reuters is reporting that Canadian telco Rogers is preparing to buy Mountain Cablevision Limited and license wireless spectrum from cable company Shaw Communications. The deal would be worth $710 million.
This could pave the way for Rogers to buy spectrum licenses from Shaw in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northern Ontario and Saskatchewan. TVtropolis, which is a cable channel jointly owned between Shaw and Rogers would see the remaining Shaw-owned stake purchased by Rogers for around 59 million Canadian dollars.
At the moment, there's no word when all of this will be penciled in, but it shouldn't be too far away.
Dell have been going through a painful couple of years, with their consumer division not doing well in this 'post-PC' environment. The latest fuel to this fire is from a report by Bloomberg which states that the company are in buyout talks with at least two private equity firms.
The report cites "two people with knowledge of the matter" that Dell have already talked to numerous banks in order to finance the shift in direction, also noting that the talks are just preliminary right now and could completely fall apart at any minute if financing isn't secured, or an exit strategy isn't agreed upon.
We should hear more on this in the coming weeks, but it looks like things are about to get interesting for Dell.
Apple's stock dipped below $500 a share this morning after media outlets reported that Apple ($APPL) was decreasing iPhone 5 component purchases due to lowering demand. That is over a $20 drop from Friday's closing price.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that demand for the iPhone 5 has been lower than expected and cited "people familiar with the situation" as saying that Apple has cut its order for iPhone 5 screens in half for the March quarter. The Japanese daily publication Nikkei said that Apple has halved its initial order of 65,000 LCD screens from suppliers.
As if on cue, this news rattled investors, sending the stock into a downtrend. The stock started recovering shortly after falling below $500 and at the time of this writing, was hovering around $505 a share.
In this world of iOS and Android dominance, the voice of Windows Phone isn't heard too much. Well, now we have something to go on. Forbes' latest report is talking about Qualcomm's CES keynote, in which Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer ran onto the stage and spilled some numbers.
During his speech in the Qualcomm CES keynote, he said that the latest Windows Phone was selling "five times more devices than the same period last year". There are no exact numbers here, but if we go back to Q4 2011, we're looking at around 2.5 million units. Ewan Spence, who wrote the article for Forbes, he made:
A couple of assumptions, I make the range of Windows Phone handsets sold in Q4 2012 as being between 9,500,000 and 13,250,000 smartphones. My gut feeling is that the sales are at the lower end of this range, but I'd expect Q1 2013 to build on Q4 2012, mostly because the Windows Phone 8 devices were only available for half the quarter. So there's lots of room to improve those numbers over the next three months.
There's a wind project in Texas that is capable of generating an astounding 161 megawatts of energy, enough to power 60,000 average homes across the US. Search and mobile giant Google have now invested $200 million in the project.
Google have injected the investment into the Spinning Spur Wind Project in Oldham Country, Texas, which is run by EDF Renewable Energy. This new $200 million investment is the 11th investment the search giant has made in renewable energy since just 2010. With all of Google's investments, their total output across their invested facilities is now a crazy 2 gigawatts of energy.
The Spinning Star facility begun construction in February 2012, and was opened for commercial operation in December last year. The Spinning Star facility features 70 Siemens 2.3 megawatt turbines, and the energy it generates will be pumped into a utility company named SPS, which provides for the Texas and New Mexico areas. Kojo Ako-Asare, Senior Manager of Google Corporate Finance has said:
We're proud to be part of a project that provides the Lone Star state with a new source of low-cost, renewable energy and supports the state's thriving wind industry. This investment reflects Google's ongoing commitment to clean energy and our belief that corporations can be an important new source of capital for this sector.
It's not like you or I did not see this coming in this smart device heavy world, but PC sales are now dropping according to new data from analysis firm IDC. IDC's latest data from Q4 2012 "marked the first time in more than five years that the PC market has seen a year-on-year decline during the holiday season".
The analysis firm said that although Windows 8 has launched, worldwide PC shipments reached 90 million units which is 6.4% lower than what they reached last year. Jay Chou, Senior Research Analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker said in a statement:
Although the third quarter was focused on the clearing of Windows 7 inventory, preliminary research indicates the clearance did not significantly boost the uptake of Windows 8 systems in Q4. Lost in the shuffle to promote a touch-centric PC, vendors have not forcefully stressed other features that promote a more secure, reliable, and efficient user experience. As Windows 8 matures, and other corresponding variables such as Ultrabook pricing continue to drop, hopefully the PC market can see a reset in both messaging and demand in 2013.