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Customers of Comcast's Xfinity Voice will be getting some new features which could help customers save money. The new feature is called "Voice 2go" and will allow users to make calls over WiFi using their home phone number. The new service will also allow users to text from the number while on WiFi.
"We continue to enhance our Xfinity Voice service by adding new features consumers have come to expect from smartphones and mobile technology," said Cathy Avgiris, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Data and Communications Services. "These new tools enable customers to stay connected to their home phone service and take it with them virtually wherever they go."
Using the newly redesigned Xfinity Connect Mobile app, customers can make and receive calls and texts messages for free while using WiFi. The service will also work over a mobile phone's 3G or 4G data connection and not use any minutes. These text messages can also be sent internationally to over 40 countries, including Canada, Brazil, China and, soon, Mexico.
Xfinity subscribers can also receive up to four Personal Phone Numbers, which can be assigned to family members. The phone numbers work within the Xfinity app and can replace costly cell phone subscriptions for children. Instead, they would be able to use an iPod Touch or similar device to keep in contact.
Motorola has had a good run as its own company. They literally invented the mobile phone. But, as of late, they haven't been doing so well and Google has been courting them for some time. The deal has finally closed over seas in China, which is the last place that was holding back approval of the acquisition. Google has acquired MMI for $40.00 per share in cash which totals near $12.5 billion.
The CEO of Motorola Mobility has stepped down and Google has replaced them with one of their own. Dennis Woodside, formerly President of the Americas region for Google, will step up and become Motorola's next CEO. Google will continue to run Motorola as a separate company as well as keeping Android an open operating system.
Online video creator, Machinima has had a great funding round, where they received $35 million in funding. This was led by Google, which also included existing investors found in Redpoint Ventures, and MK Capital. If you remember, Google's YouTube were after some original programming, and have been investing heavily to do so.
At the moment, Machinima's network is the largest single page view generator for YouTube, where it enjoyed more than 1.6 billion video views in the month of April. So we can see why Google ponied up for the online video creator.
YouTube is also an invaluable partner of Machinima, as YouTube is the company's primary distribution and monetization platform. Machinima plans to spend the money on investing in content and global sales, as well as international expansion and distribution. This latest move from Google shows just how important online video will be in the future, while it's not a huge investment, Machinima by itself brings in some serious viewers.
The war between Samsung and Apple has been epic, but isn't it about time they settled it? Samsung Electronics' mobile division chief, JK Shin said over the weekend that they are still seeking to resolve differences in its international patent war with Apple.
Shin told reporters at the Seoul airport shortly before his departure for the US:
There is still a big gap in the patent war with Apple but we still have several negotiation options including cross-licensing.
When asked about the prospects for the company's memory chip business, Shin said that the 4G chip shortage was expected to drag on until Q4 of this year.
Foxconn are close to getting their cheque book out and writing a fat one for Apple to the tune of $210 million for a new production line that would be used by Apple, exclusively. The new investment would pave the way for the project to start in October in Hua'an City, part of the Jiangsu province in China, reports the China Daily.
The new plant will be of a decent size, measuring 40,000 square meters, and should hire 35,800 new employees. This is great for the local economy. The annual output of the new plant is set to be between $949 million and $1.1 billion, with the import and export value sitting at around $55.8 million.
35,800 new employees might sound good, but the Foxconn Zhengzhou Technology Park that is dedicated to making iPhones employs 120,000 people, while the Shenzhen-based plant employs an insane 200,000 people.
Facebook shares went live last week, at $38 per share, but they took a sharp dive today right down to $34.03, and 11-percent drop from the $38 starting price for the record-setting IPO. Friday's issues were blamed on technical difficulties, as traders had failed or delayed transfers.
Monday on the other hand, had analysts confirmed that Facebook and its banking partners, mostly Morgan Stanley, had overvalued the stock. 48 hours before the IPO went live, companies had decided to increase the number of shares sold by close to 25-percent, up to 484 million. A number of large investors are said to have received more shares than they expected.
Was the Facebook IPO launch a quick money grab? Overvalued stock, tonnes of press, too many shares and a very quick drop of 11-percent are all signs to me. It'll be interesting to see how the social network goes over the coming days, weeks, and months.
Yahoo have been having a hard time lately, with increased competition from Google and others, and have just announced today that they have reached a deal to sell part of their stake in China's biggest internet company, Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd.
The deal will have Alibaba buying back half of Yahoo's 40-percent stake in the group for a nice $7.1 billion. Alibaba will wave $6.3 billion in cash in front of Yahoo, as well as $800 million in Alibaba preferred stock. Alibaba are also required to buy back a quarter of the remaining shares at the price of a future IPO, or alternatively, allow Yahoo to sell them in the expected public offering in the near future.
This deal now pits Alibaba Group's worth at around $35 billion. Alibaba CEO Jack Ma said in a statement to Bloomberg:
The transaction will establish a balanced ownership structure that enables Alibaba to take our business to the next level as a public company in the future.
Alibaba is doing extremely well, with rumors that Alibaba's CEO owns a 7.4-percent share in the group, and is readying an initial public offering. Industry insiders are predicting that the Chinese online shopping industry will grow by 42-percent this year alone.
Spotify says "G'day" to Australia. In other words, Spotify is now available for use in Australia. This should make a good number of Australians happy, including our very own Anthony Garreffa. Spotify is launching three versions including Spotify Free, Spotify Unlimited, and Spotify Premium.
"Spotify is a game changer," says Kate Vale, Spotify's Managing Director Australia and New Zealand. "This is a revolutionary new music service that's free, simple, and provides lightning-fast access to one of the world's biggest music libraries. We hope Australian music fans will love Spotify as much as they do across Europe and the US."
Spotify Free is, as the name suggests free, and is ad supported. Spotify Unlimited costs $6.99 a month and gives users ad free access to Spotify a user's PC. Spotify Premium is $11.99 a month and provides the same features as the two prior and also allows users to listen to Spotify on the go on a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device.
Discovery's CEO is not one bit happy with Dish Network's new ad skipping technology in the Hopper DVR. Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav has let Dish Network know that skipping ads could damage the industry as content creators lose one of their revenue streams. As a result, subscription fees would likely skyrocket.
"Charlie Ergen and Dish are a distributor of content," he said. "They need us to reach homes with our content. And if there is not going to be advertising fees, then there needs to be a lot higher subscriber fees." With increasingly expensive shows and production costs, quality content needs to money offered by advertisers to keep subscription costs low.
As of right now, the Hopper DVR's technology only works on broadcast TV, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be used on premium channels such as Discovery. Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt agrees that the technology could easily destroy TV. "The dual stream of advertising and subscription revenue has been great for content creators," he said. "We have more TV than we could have ever imagined. I don't think we want to destroy one of those revenue streams."
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong opinion differs: "The video and cable industry needs to think of advertising differently," he said. "The reality is that consumers today are super-engaged. So how what would you put around that program or in program that doesn't look like traditional advertising? How do you make more engaging advertising?"
Microsoft's Windows Phone stepped through the doors of China just two months ago, and in that time the Redmond-based company has already secured 7-percent of the smartphone market share.
Apple's iPhone has just 6-percent of the market share in China, which means in two months time, Microsoft are doing quite well for themselves overseas. Microsoft's Chief Operating Officer for the Greater China Region (wouldn't that look good on your resume?), Michel van der Bel, sees the market ghrowing further, saying "we've only just begun".
He notes that the combination of smartphones and Windows PC tablets will boost Microsoft's traction among both Chinese individuals, and businesses. Microsoft do face continued competition from Android, who has an astonishing 69-percent market share in China. Microsoft currently employs 2,500 or so people in its R&D department in China, but Bel says that Microsoft needs to, and will have to invest much more into the country.