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Sprint is looking into a new budget wireless plan that will limit access to the mobile web for users to only connect to Facebook or Twitter. That might work out perfectly for some users if they only use the internet to connect to social networks while on the go.
For another $10 per month, users could get access to Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest in addition to Facebook. Adding another $5 per month would allow the user to stream a music app of their choice. Sprint will offer these new plans as part of its Virgin Mobile pre-paid service.
The plan will be called Virgin Mobile Custom and is aimed at giving users on a budget more choices. Initially the plan will only allow the user to choose between those four apps. The plan will be available at Walmart and has 20 minutes of talk and 20 texts per month.
Apple has announced that it plans to shed about 200 workers from Beats Electronics after it takes over. Apple gobbled up Beats in a deal worth about $3 billion this year. A person familiar with the restructuring plans says that Beats workers in human resources, finance, and other roles with overlap between Beats and Apple will be let go.
The source claiming to know Apple's plans didn't want to be identified since the plans aren't public at this time. Beats was the largest purchase in Apple history and gains Apple a line of high-end headphones and a streaming music service.
No official comment has been made by Apple or Beats at this time on the layoffs. The Beats headphones often sell for hundreds of dollars per set making them high-end and a good fit with Apple's high-end product mix.
We only just reported that most of Crytek's leadership at its Texas, US-based studios had left, but now we have just found out that Deep Silver have acquired the rights to Homefront: The Revolution from the struggling studio. Deep Silver will continue development of the game at its new Nottingham-based studio.
A new studio called Deep Silver Dambuster Studios will now get to work on Homefront: The Revolution, which is still expected to launch in 2015 for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC. Hasit Zala, who was the Director on the game with Crytek, left Crytek a few weeks ago, but has reemerged as the lead for the game at the new studio.
Crytek only purchased the rights to Homefront from THQ during its bankruptcy in early 2013, but are now going through their own financial issues. Crytek's press release on the matter explains: "Firstly, Crytek has been in extensive discussions with leading producer and distributor of digital entertainment products, Koch Media, regarding the acquisition of rights for the "Homefront" IP. On completion of the proposed acquisition, the Homefront team from Crytek's Nottingham studio would transfer their talents to Koch Media in compliance with English law and continue their hard work on upcoming shooter, "Homefront: The Revolution". Both parties hope to finalise and implement a deal soon".
We've been reporting for a few weeks now that Crytek were in trouble, but the company assured the public that all was good just a few days ago. Now we're hearing that Crytek has just downsized its Texas-based US studio, moving the development of the free-to-play co-op shooter Hunt: Horros of the Guided Age to their main offices based in Germany.
When Crytek announced it was downsizing its Texas studio, it didn't say that its senior staff, including studio head David Adams, had quit over a week ago. Why did they quit? Well, they weren't getting paid, "according to people familiar with goings-on at the company" reports Kotaku. Most of the studio, which is made up of around 30-35 people, are now gone, which is why Crytek was forced to move the development of Hunt to its Frankfurt-based office.
Crytek only opened the Texas, US-based studio in January 2013, so it didn't last that long.
The ex head of the FIA, which governs Formula 1, Max Mosley, is taking legal action against Google over images of him with prostitutes that are indexed online.
Max Mosley, the son of the former leader of the British Union of Fascists, issued High Court proceedings against Google, claiming that the company is in breach of the UK's Data Protection Act, according to the BBC. The pictures were first published in Britain's News of the World tabloid, which has since ceased to exist. Mosley successfully sued the paper in 2008.
At the time, the newspaper published the pictures on its front page. Mosley won damages after the paper accused Mosley of organizing a sex party with a Nazi theme. The High Court ruled that this story was not in the public interest. Google has said it is working with Mosley.
Netflix has been fighting to improve video streaming quality for a number of its users. The way it is fixing many of these streaming issues is by paying the ISPs for peering deals that improve video quality. The latest company to put its hands in Netflix's pockets is AT&T.
AT&T and Netflix have announced a new peering deal that will help reduce buffering when users on the AT&T network are watching Netflix. The peering deal kicked off on Tuesday of this week according to two people who claim to be familiar with the deal.
No word on the financial terms of the agreement has been offered. "We reached an interconnect agreement with Netflix in May and since then have been working together to provision additional interconnect capacity to improve the viewing experience for our mutual subscribers,'' an AT&T spokeswoman said in the statement."We're now beginning to turn up the connections, a process that should be complete in the coming days."
Nintendo reported its quarterly earnings recently and racked up another loss for the company during its most recent quarter. Nintendo announced a loss of $97.2 million in the quarter that spanned April to June. The loss in the most recent quarter is much higher than the loss of $48.2 million that it reported in the same quarter of 2013.
Nintendo is blaming the continued losses on disappointing sales of the Wii U and 3DS game consoles. Nintendo is still predicting that it will return to profit for the full year, but with half the year racking up losses that will be very hard to do. Nintendo's sales for the quarter fell to $731 million compared to the $799 million in the same quarter of the previous year.
Nintendo reported sales of 820,000 3DS game consoles in the quarter that ended in June and 8.57 million games sold. The Wii U saw 520,000 units sold and 4.39 million games. Mario Kart 8 accounted for 2.82 million of the game sales after a May release.
BlackBerry was one of the most popular smartphone providers in the world years ago, but it has slumped and is seeing many of its customers leave for other devices today. BlackBerry is trying to turn itself around and get some of the popularity it once enjoyed back and one of the ways it is doing that is by trying to turn itself into a provider for people who are security conscious.
To help build up its security chops BlackBerry has reportedly purchased a German security firm called Secusmart. Secusmart specializes in providing voice and data encryption and was partnered with BlackBerry in the past.
Smartphones from BlackBerry with the Secusuite software from Secusmart are in use in Germany already with government agencies. Terms of the deal are unknown at this time. "The acquisition of Secusmart underscores our focus on addressing growing security costs and threats ranging from individual privacy to national security," said BlackBerry chief John Chen.
GM has announced that it plans to add wireless smartphone charging to Cadillac vehicles in 2015. Not all vehicles will get the wireless charging option, but it will be available on 2015 Cadillac ATS sedan and coupe and on the 2015 CTS and 2015 Escalade.
Vehicles that have the wireless charging option will have a Powermat wireless charging pad inside the console of the vehicle. Drivers and passengers will be able to lay their compatible smartphone down on the mat to charge wirelessly.
GM says that the majority of wirelessly charging devices on the market would work with its Powermat option. While the phone is on the charging mat, drivers will still be able to answer and make phone calls using the vehicle's Bluetooth hands-free tech.
Rhapsody is a streaming music service that has been around for a long time now offering a wide range of music. This week the company has announced that it plans to expand into more locations including France and Latin America. The expansion into the new areas comes with deals in place with French operator SRF and Telefonica in Latin America.
Rhapsody has also noted that it has reached 2 million paying subscribers for its premium and unRadio internet radio service launched along with T-Mobile in the US. Rhapsody launched in 2001 and is currently facing stiff competition in the marketplace.
Segment leader Spotify now boasts 10 million paying subscribers putting it at about 5 times the size of Rhapsody. Rhapsody's subscriber numbers are on the increase with the firm announcing in April that it had 1.7 million paying customers.