A new report from analytics firm Strategy Analytics has been published that looks at the number of Wi-Fi devices that are in use around the world today. According to the report, there are about 4 billion Wi-Fi devices in use globally.
The research firm expects that number to grow to over 7 billion devices by 2017. A more interesting statistic is that Wi-Fi capability is now embedded in 68% of all consumer electronics devices sold in the US. If you look at the number of products with Wi-Fi sold around the world, 57% of all CE devices have Wi-Fi.
The biggest product category for Wi-Fi devices is mobile phones and tablets. Strategy analytics says that 59% of all Wi-Fi enabled devices fall into the mobile phone and tablet category. The second most common category for Wi-Fi devices is in the mobile computer (notebook) category.
Just over a month ago Candy Crush Saga developer King secured the rights to the word 'Candy', which sent the world into a spin. King has now abandoned these efforts, according to documents posted by the US Trademark Office.
A document signed on February 24 states "the applicant hereby expressly abandons the application for trademark registration made". King filed the trademark all the way back in February of 2013, which was approved on January 15, 2014. The trademark would've allowed King to use the word 'Candy' in apparel, video games, computer hardware and much more.
A spokesperson for King has said: "King has withdrawn its trademark application for Candy in the U.S., which we applied for in February 2013 before we acquired the early rights to Candy Crusher. Each market that King operates in is different with regard to IP. We feel that having the rights to Candy Crusher is the best option for protecting Candy Crush in the U.S. market. This does not affect our E.U. trademark for Candy and we continue to take all appropriate steps to protect our IP".
New reports have surfaced that indicated that Google is actively trying to stop states from enacting anti-Glass driving laws, and has its own lobbyist leading the charge in Delaware, Illinois, and Missouri. Google's stance on the matter is that the technology is still in its infancy and not in widespread use, and therefor does not garner special legislation restricting its use.
"I'm not against Google or Google Glass. It may have a place in society," said Delaware state representative Joseph Miro, primary sponsor of a bill banning texting while driving and Google Glass behind the wheel. "My issue is that while you are driving, you should have nothing that is going to impede the concentration of the driver."
While Google is certainly correct in that statement for the moment, Google Glass is becoming more poplar and more people are being invited to purchase the product every day. Before the end of the year, Google Glass will be in hundreds of thousands of users hands, and we will begin to hear stories of how the wearable technology distracted drivers and caused accidents, but how many of those claims will actually be true? How many of them will be falsely over-hyped by the mainstream media who has no clue how the devices even work? It's only a matter of time before anti-glass campaigns kick off similar to those against cellphone use in vehicles, and unfortunately the majority of the public will bite hook, line and sinker.
Since his first day on the job, BlackBerry's new CEO, John Chen, has been focused on rebuilding the company from the ashes left over from his predecessors tenure with the company. That does not mean that he would not sell off key components of the company if the right offer was made. During an interview with CNBC, Chen told reporters that he would sell off BlackBerry Messenger, the company's widely popular messaging service, if the price was right.
"If somebody comes to me with $19 billion I would definitely sell it," Chen said. "I mean, I would recommend to the board to take it." He was of course referring to the total selling price that Facebook acquired WhatsApp for earlier this week. Unfortunately it seems that the greatly inflated acquisition of WhatsApp has set a false precedence or "bar" if you will at what companies value their messaging services at.
Unfortunately what I feel is happening is that another .com bubble is inflating, and eventually the market will not be able to sustain all of these $1 billion, $3 billion, and $19 billion valuations, causing the bubble to burst the same way it did in the late 90s. It feels like every tech company, start-up, and company fork is being valued at $1 billion plus these days, and that trend does not seem to be slowing at all. Eventually something will have to give, and the aftermath will not be pretty if history is any indication.
T-Mobile might be the smallest of the four major carriers in the US, but it is putting pressure on other carriers to match its offers. AT&T has announced a move that is likely in response to pressure from T-Mobile that anyone with friends or family outside the US will appreciate.
Starting on February 28, anyone on an AT&T Mobile Share plan will be able to send unlimited text messages from the US to just about any other country at no cost. The change also makes voice calls placed to other countries like Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean with a monthly plans selling for $5 per month.
The minutes on that plan are a penny each. AT&T previously charged people $10 per month for international texting and a higher per minute rate for calls to other countries.
Samsung and PayPal have announced that they have teamed up to allow users of the Samsung Galaxy S5 announced this week to make more use of that fingerprint scanner the smartphone offers. PayPal will allow the S5 user to use the fingerprint scanner to login and shop at any merchant that takes PayPal.
That includes online and in-stores that accept PayPal. The use of the fingerprint scanner means that the user won't need to memorize a password or login info for multiple websites. PayPal says that is provides a secure wallet in the sky and no personal details are stored on the device.
The S5 has FIDO Ready software that can communicate securely between the fingerprint sensor on the device and the PayPal service in the cloud. The only information shared between the device and PayPal is a unique encrypted key that verifies the user's identity. The fingerprint authentication service will launch on the Galaxy S5 in April and will be offered in 26 markets.
When Facebook pushed its offer of $16 billion onto the table to acquire WhatsApp, the company's founders would've had their hearts drop - in utter surprise because its last funding round had them pegged at a value of around $1.5 billion.
In WhatsApp final round of funding, which took place in July last year, it secured $52 million from a valuation of around $1.5 billion. WhatsApp grew exponentially between July 2013 and just a few days ago when it was acquired by Facebook for $16 billion in stocks and cash. The sole investor in WhatsApp, Sequoia, owned around 20% of the company, which is now worth a cool $3 billion.
At $3 billion, Sequoia has seen an amazing 50x return in its investment in WhatsApp... something that nobody could complain about, that's for sure.
Stephen Elop, the ex-Nokia CEO, has taken control of Microsoft's Devices and Studios division, which includes a bunch of Microsoft's most important lines of products. This includes Xbox, Surface and the company's game and entertainment studios.
Don Mattick left the post last year for Zynga, where Julie Larson-Green took over. Larson-Green is moving on to another role, leading the "My Life & Work" time in Microsoft's Application and Services Group, where she will serve as its Chief Experience Officer. Larson Green wrote in an internal memo: "I want to thank each and every one of you for welcoming me and supporting me as the leader of Devices & Studios over the past 7 months. I'm very proud of what we have accomplished during such a short timeframe. We launched Xbox One, Surface 2 & Pro 2, blockbuster games like Forza and Ryse, a brand new Xbox Music and Video service, PPI, and some amazing unannounced innovations just to name a few...".
There were rumors that the ex-Nokia CEO would take over as the CEO of Microsoft, but does this position suit him more? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Set-top box maker Roku is reportedly interested in exploring a possible initial public offering (IPO), despite successfully generating $60 million its latest round of funding last May. The company has spoken with several unnamed banks, according to a Bloomberg report, though nothing has been confirmed.
It has been a good time for companies to go public - or seek to sell - as companies have been largely overvalued. If rumors are true, expect to hear Roku pick a lead banker and announce a tentative IPO launch date sometime later this year.
In addition to the appeal of additional funding, with Apple and Amazon both rumored to enter the set-top box market, Roku is going to have an even harder time competing.
While Facebook's $16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp was most certainly the biggest tech news of the week, another popular messaging service is making big waves in the tech community as well, although most Americans have likely never heard of it. Korean messaging service Kakao, has announced that it is negotiating with Morgan Stanley as well as Samsung Securities in hopes of filing its first Initial Public Offering.
With more than 133 million users, the app is about 1/5 the size of WhatsApp in its user base, but with more than seven years under its belt, it is a vet when it comes to instant messaging and mobile gaming. Kakao is seeing to raise about $2 billion which is about 1/8th of what Facebook paid for WhatsApp, so in terms of scale, the asking price is technically a deal, but with the app being locked to the Korean market, it is still a bit of a gable. Some industry insiders are suggesting that Kakao could be seeing the capital in an effort to expand its world wide presence, but nothing official has been announced yet.
Typically, when you think about a plug-in hybrid car performance isn't something that comes to mind. The majority of hybrids on the market today are aimed at being green and sipping fuel with no thought of performance at all. Think Toyota Prius or Ford Fusion Hybrid. Volkswagen has unveiled a new plug-in hybrid that offers fuel efficiency and impressive performance.
The Golf GTE isn't going to compete with a sports car, but it is certainly more exciting than a Prius. The GTE is a plug-in hybrid with a battery pack that can recharge from a wall outlet in only 3.5 hours. The car has a 1.4L 148 hp turbo direct-injected engine.
The car also has an electric motor producing 101hp. Combined the car has 201 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. That equates to a top speed of 135 mph and a 0-62 mph time of 7.6 seconds. The car can also drive for 31 miles on electricity only and reach a top electric speed of 81 mph.
A company called ART+COM Innovationpool GmbH (ACI) has announced this week that it has filed a patent infringement suit against Google. The suit has to do with Google allegedly infringing on a patent that ACI holds. The patent in question is # RE44,550. The title of that patent is "Method and Device for Pictorial Representation of Space-related Data."
ACI takes issue with how much Google Earth looks like its Terravision service. Terravision is the commercial implementation of the patent at the heart of the case. ACI says that Terravision was developed a decade before Google Earth.
Looking at the image here, it is clear that the Terravision service and Google Earth are very similar in how they look. ACI also says that it has issue with some of the executives at Google, particularly Michael Jones, CTO of Google Earth, and Brian McClendon, VP of engineering for Google Maps.
China Mobile added a huge number of new high-speed data subscribers in January, with over 14 million new customers joining the world's largest wireless carrier. This is mostly thanks to the iPhone, which China Mobile started selling on January 17.
The 14 million new high-speed data subscribers represents a 7.4% growth for the first month of 2014, with the competition - China Unicorn, seeing an additional 3.2% customers for the month. China Mobile was unable to offer the iPhone until late-2013, but it was locked to 3G on the network's TD-SCDMA technology. Now that it has unleashed its TD-LTE 4G network, things are looking up for the world's largest wireless carrier.
The LED light bulb is slowly starting to replace the normal incandescent all around the world thanks to its longer life and green design. Philips is one of many companies that already offer LED light bulbs that can be controlled via a smartphone app. Philips first announced its iOS controlled LED lights in 2012.
The company has been tweaking those lights and has announced a new lighting system for retail stores that will not only light the way for shoppers; it will also help them find what they are looking for. The lighting system is intelligent and works with an app running on the user's smartphone.
The smartphone app knows where the user is in the store at all times thanks to connectivity from the lights in the ceiling. The app can help the user find exactly what they are looking for in the store isles without having to hunt someone who works there. That is a big benefit to the shopper and the lighting system helps the store too by offering the shopper timely discounts and coupons as they shop.
A couple days ago, we mentioned that rumors were circulating that Tesla and Apple had met up. The rumors were thought to indicate Apple wanted to buy the electric car marker. Another possibility was that Apple and Tesla were meeting about a battery factory. Both firms want to drive down the cost of lithium batteries.
Apple isn't the sort of company that will ever comment on rumors, other than to say that it won't comment on rumors. Tesla CEO Elon Musk on the other hand has never been afraid to tell people what he thinks or what is going on. Musk recently confirmed that Tesla had in fact talked with Apple.
Musk wouldn't say what exactly the meeting was about. He noted that he though Apple buying a car company was a good idea, but also said that the chances of Tesla selling were "very unlikely." Musk also noted that he would be willing to talk about selling if that meant his goal of making an affordable mass market EV would be closer to reality.
According to leading market tracker, Jon Peddie Research (JPR), GPU shipments increased in Q4 2013. During this three-month period, AMD lost market share against its rivals in Intel and NVIDIA.
JPR reports that the PC market increased 1.8% quarter-to-quarter in Q4 2013, but declined 8.5% year-over-year. 66% of PCs shipped for the year used integrated graphics, with just 34% of PCs featuring discrete GPUs. Shipments of GPUs rose 1.5% from the previous quarter, but down 2.4% from the same time of 2012.
If we look at the numbers, AMD's overall units shipped dropped 10.4%, with Intel's total shipments increased 5.1% from the third quarter, with NVIDIA's grab increasing by 3.4% compared to Q3 2013. With year-over-year numbers, AMD's market share slipped 5.4%, Intel increased by 5.4%, and NVIDIA also saw an increase, of 0.9%.
Roku has been in the set top box market in the US for a long time now and offers some of the more interesting set top boxes out there. Roku has a number of hardware devices that are all designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite streaming content on the big screen.
Back in December the Roku set top box received an official YouTube app. Roku has now announced via a blog post that it has another new streaming service available for users in the US. The new streaming service is Showtime Anytime. Showtime Anytime allows subscribers to the pay channel to view movies and original shows online or on mobile devices.
The app landing on current generation Roku devices will make it easy to get the popular Showtime content in the living room. Showtime Anytime offers access to past and current shows allowing you to catch up.
Samsung has just inked a new deal with US retail giant Best Buy, where it will see 1,400 new mini shops launched inside of Best Buy's across the United States. The EU doesn't miss out, with Samsung converting over 60 Carphone Warehouse locations through Europe, too.
In Canada, Samsung will open multiple mini kiosks inside Best Buy and Future Shop locations. The South Korean giant will also reportedly push its presence overseas, too, where it plans to open 75 or more retail locations across Europe, which should triple its current presence across the country. With the Galaxy S5 close to consumers' hands, it's perfect timing to be expanding retail reach for Samsung.
Tech giant Google plans to open a new San Francisco office in the Mission District, with the 35,000-square-foot building aimed towards engineers tired of making the tiresome commute to and from the company's headquarters in Mountain View.
The location will be ideal to host 200 engineers, plus support recently acquired startups Google wants to find temporary homes for, including SlickLogin, Nest Labs, and Boston Dynamics. Google's main campus is in Mountain View, along with several office buildings in Silicon Valley, and is expanding its presence in San Francisco - where the company already has a building in the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood, with plans to open another location in South Park.
Google and other Silicon Valley companies have been highly criticized over charter buses that pick up employees in San Francisco - and other Bay Area locations - then shuttle employees over to the South Bay. In addition, adding offices throughout the Bay Area can better entice top-level tech talent to join Google instead of other companies based in Silicon Valley, with Mountain View, Palo Alto, Cupertino, and other South Bay regions taking 60-90+ minutes to commute to each day.
There are two basic ways that you can get your hands on bitcoins. You can buy them with real-world money and hope that the value goes up in the future and you can make a profit. The other way is to get your hands on some PC hardware that will allow you to mine your own bitcoins. The mining process is resource intensive and isn't fast, but you can make money if you are successful.
Back in December, we talked a bit about the BIOSTAR mainboards that the company was positioning for bitcoin mining. Another new bit of bitcoin mining hardware has now turned up from a company called CoinTerra.
CoinTerra has unveiled its "affordable" bitcoin mining card called the GSX I. I say "affordable" because the GSX I sells for $1599, which is hardly affordable in my book. Compared to other mining options that can cost many times that $1599, it is affordable though.
Bitcoin is booming right now with the virtual currency worth a significant amount of real-world money. The success of bitcoin is a bit cloudy though with some countries deeming the virtual currency illegal, such as Russia. There have also been some issues with popular bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox stopping withdrawals in some instances.
Mt. Gox has promised that withdrawals are coming back soon. While bitcoin is having some issues, the world keeps moving forwards. The US is set to get its first bitcoin ATMs soon. A company called Robocoin announced this week that it would be putting bitcoin ATMs in place in Austin, Texas, and Seattle, Washington.
The company says that the bitcoin ATMs will require the user to scan an official ID like a passport or driver's license before a transaction can be made. The ATMs will allow users to swap bitcoin for cash, deposit cash, and purchase bitcoins.