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One of the challenges to get the next billion people online is that most of those people live in a country where incomes are significantly lower than they are in the US. The relative ease that many of us can come up with a few hundred dollars for a smartphone in the US is well out of the reach of many people in poorer developing nations.
For that reason, many smartphone makers are concentrating on very cheap devices for developing nations. ARM says that in the next few months an Android-powered smartphone running a 1x Cortex-A5 processor will sell for only $20. That sells for about $33-$28 today.
Google has been offering a service in San Francisco Bay area for about a year now that some folks have probably never heard of. The service is called Google Shopping Express and it is a same day delivery service for shoppers. Shopping Express is now rolling out to two more areas of the country.
Google has announced Shopping Express is available in Manhattan and West LA. As part of the initial rollout of the service in those two new areas, Google is offering six months of free unlimited delivery. With the service, the user can order items from participating stores, and Google will deliver the items.
Our friends in the Great White North have a new feature from Google Play Music that they can now enjoy. Google has rolled out its Play Music All-Access streaming service in Canada this week. The launch of the All-Access service was timed to coincide with the Canadian Music Week summit and conference that focuses on the state of the music industry in Canada.
Google had previously launched the streaming service in the US, Europe, and Mexico, but left Canadians in the cold. The introductory price of the All-Access streaming service in Canada is $7.99 per month for all you can listen to music. The service will cost $9.99 a month after the introductory period.
Sony plans to sell its VAIO PC unit to Japan Industrial Partners, in a deal that should be finished soon, with an official re-launch on July 1. Of the 1,100 employees working for Sony, just 240 of them will end up working at JIP, according to Japanese media reports - and Sony said the remaining employees will be moved to other departments.
The new business unit will be located in Azumino City in the Nagano Prefecture - where a Sony production facility is located - though it'll be interesting to see if VAIO can regain popularity among consumers.
Much like other PC manufacturers, Sony has struggled to keep up with the growing demand for smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. To make matters worse, Sony has struggled both in Japan and worldwide, excluding the company's popular PlayStation game console family.
This morning the Associated Press is reporting that Target's CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, has turned in his resignation from the company and has stepped down from his role as CEO as well as its seat on the board of directors. In the interim, Chief Financial Officer, John Mulligan, will take the helm until a replacement CEO can be found.
No official announcement was made on why Steinhafel resigned, but many news sources and industry experts are speculating that it stemmed from immense pressure from shareholders, investors, and the board over last years massive security breach. This resignation falls hot on the heals of the company's Chief Technology Officers resignation last month, and several months of surmounting losses to financial institutions equating to more than $200 million. Steinhafel has been employed by Target for more than 35-years.
It looks like Microsoft could air its live-action Halo series on Showtime before it hits the Xbox according to a new report from Variety. The Xbox giant is reportedly in "deep negotiations" with Showtime to air its Halo series.
The companies are "close to a deal" with showrunners, including Steven Spielberg, to an agreement that would have episodes air on Showtime before the Xbox. The new live-action Halo series of part of the new content Microsoft is making with its Xbox Entertainment Studios, something that Nancy Tellem says is focused on making "premium television experiences".
Neversoft, the studio behind the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games, is rumored to be closing up shop and moving its staff over to Infinity Ward. The Neversoft name will reportedly be retired, with a full merger with the Call of Duty developer.
The news is coming from an internal memo from Activision Publishing CEO, Eric Hirshburg, which fell into the hands of Giant Bomb. The single, bigger studio will keep the Infinity Ward name, as it has the closest ties with one of Activision's biggest franchises: Call of Duty. Neversoft co-founder and studio boss Joel Jewett and Studio Director Scott Pease will reportedly step down from game development after the merger, but will stay on in an assisting capacity during the merger.
It feels like so long ago now, but Apple claimed that Samsung had violated multiple of its patents, claiming that the South Korean giant owed it $2 billion in damages. The lawsuit is now over, with the jury finding:
- Samsung is guilty of violating patent 5,946,647 (the autocorrect text entry patent) with all devices named in this suit.
- Samsung was found not guilty of violating the 6.847.959 patent (Apple's Spotlight search).
- Samsung was found not guilty of violating the 7,761,414 patent (data synchronization patent).
- Samsung was found guilty of violating the 8,046,721 patent (slide-to-unlock) on some devices named, but not all.
The jury ruled that Samsung is to pay Apple $119.6 million in damages, with Apple found to be violating one of two of Samsung's counterclaims, fining the iPhone giant a whopping $158,400.
AT&T reportedly has shown interest in acquiring satellite provider DirecTV, in a deal that would garner at least a $40 billion price tag. DirecTV is the top satellite provider in the United States, with almost 20 million customers - and would be a major addition to AT&T's TV unit, with less than 6 million subscribers.
After Comcast announced its pending acquisition of Time Warner Cable, other companies were unsure how to respond to the news - and an AT&T buyout of DirecTV would put the company on almost equal footing as Comcast. Companies are scrambling to try and lead the industry in how content, especially Web-based videos, will be distributed into the living room.
"I would say we should recognize the industry is changing and further consolidation will be necessary going forward," said Jeff Kagan, technology industry analyst, in a press statement. "Of course that means we must be careful and only approve appropriate deals and not all deals. This AT&T DirecTV deal seems to make sense so far. Now we wait to see if anything actually develops here."
Google has been in hot water with many of its users over the last few months for scanning their emails. Google changed its terms and conditions recently to spell out clearly that it scans emails as part of its advertising process.
The data gleaned about the user from email scanning is used to target ads at the user. When it comes to the educational environment, Google hasn't put ads in its products for a long time. However, it has been scanning the data of those student email accounts. Presumably, that scanning of information could be used to target ads at the students outside of school.