Yahoo to give each employee a smartphone of their choice, get to choose from Apple, Samsung, Nokia or HTC
Microsoft aren't the only ones giving out devices to boost morale, and push their new hardware, but Yahoo are looking to give out some free tech, too. Business Insider has received some e-mails, where CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, has offered each Yahoo employee a new smartphone.
They can choose from a new Apple, Samsung, HTC or Nokia smartphone and it's all part of a plan the company calls "Yahoo! Smart Phones, Smart Fun", and is aimed at providing employees with the same class of device that Yahoo users are using.
Yahoo employees don't get to choose from low-end gear, either, they get to choose from Apple's new iPhone 5, Samsung's Galaxy S III, HTC One X, HTC EVO 4G LTE or Nokia's Lumia 920. Yahoo are going one better here, though, offering to pay for the employees' data and phone plans, too. Nice move, Yahoo.
Microsoft are holding a launch event for their upcoming Windows 8 operating system, which will be held in New York on October 25. The event will likely lead up to a midnight launch of the OS on October 26.
Microsoft's iPad competitor, Surface, should be part of the event, and we're guessing a slew of slates, desktops, Ultrabooks and other devices will be on show, too. Microsoft's Windows 8 launch is important, not just to the company, but the consumers.
It's the first time the Redmond-based company have supported a machine architecture other than x86 and IA-64, as Windows 8 RT supports ARM-based processors. It's an exciting time, and we should have countless reviews of Windows 8-based devices for you guys and gals to flick through in the coming months!
Google have just acquired Nik Software, the developers behind professional photography applications like Capture NX, and its Efex Pro series. But there is a jewel beneath the rough here, in the form of the developers' Snapseed app.
Snapseed is a much simpler app, for both desktop and iOS-based users. Snapseed is an efficient, easy-to-use photo-editing application for iOS, featuring tilt-shift and centre focus modes that let you play around with your beloved picture of your food, or whatever else you'd like to snap photos of. At the moment, it costs $4.99, but the Google acquisition might drop this to free to compete with the Facebook-owned Instagram.
Considering Google have just hit 400 million users on their social network, Google+, it is about time the Mountain View-based company bring out their own Instagram-like photo sharing service. Both Nik Software, and Google's Senior Engineering VP, Vic Gundotra have both been quiet regarding the exact plans post-acquisition. I'm sure they're still celebrating, snapping photos of their food and applying filters, laughing maniacally.
Apple's shares traded over $700 per share today, joining just a few other companies in the scotch-and-cigar $700 club, like Google. The Cupertino-based company enjoyed the elevated share prices due to the huge demand for the iPhone 5.
Considering Apple sold 2 million iPhone 5's in just 24 hours - it's no surprise their share prices surged. Apple also opened at another all-time high this morning, with their market cap expanding to $656 billion.
Do you think we're going to see Apple's share prices go much higher this year? Do you think we'll see $750? More? We've still got some news to come from the company, we should expect the announcement of the iPad mini, refreshed iMacs, and more.
Struggling chip maker AMD has lost yet another one of its top executives. Thomas Seifert, former CFO for AMD, has joined the ranks of the departed. Not too much is known about why he is leaving, other than the uninformative "to pursue other opportunities" reason that is always included in a company's press release when an executive leaves.
"We thank Thomas for his many contributions to AMD and for serving as interim CEO in 2011," said Rory Read, AMD president and CEO. "Thomas' personal commitment to the highest standards of accountability and financial integrity has helped define how AMD does business today. Devinder is an experienced financial executive whose financial expertise and semiconductor experience developed during his 28 year tenure at AMD is an asset to the company."
Seifert will remain the CFO until September 28 at which time Devinder Kumar, senior vice president and corporate controller, will take over as interim CFO. He will remain there while the search for a new, permanent CFO is under way.
AMD has lost a lot of executives in recent months. It will be interesting to see if the new blood they've brought on board will help or hinder the company. We will keep you up-to-date on any more information that comes out regarding Mr Seifert's departure from AMD.
Everyone has seen those social reviews posted online. A friend recommends a product or writes a review on Amazon that makes its way onto Facebook. You trust it because it's one of your friends, right? Well, it looks like you'll start having to be a little more careful about which you trust. A new study shows that 10-15% of social media reviews will be paid for by companies by the year 2014.
Companies are already paying customers or giving them discounts to write a positive review of a product or service, but this practice is starting to grow more into the mainstream. Research firm Gartner provides a bit of insight into the practice with their new study which makes this powerful prediction.
"With over half of the Internet's population on social networks, organizations are scrambling for new ways to build bigger follower bases, generate more hits on videos, garner more positive reviews than their competitors, and solicit 'likes' on their Facebook pages," Jenny Sussin, senior research analyst at Gartner, said today in a statement. "Many marketers have turned to paying for positive reviews with cash, coupons, and promotions including additional hits on YouTube videos in order to pique site visitors' interests in the hope of increasing sales, customer loyalty, and customer advocacy through social-media 'word of mouth' campaigns."
Here's more iPhone 5 related news for your viewing pleasure. Apple has announced today that pre-orders for the new iPhone topped 2 million in a mere 24 hours. This is more than double the one million garnered by the iPhone 4S. Currently, demand is exceeding supply, so if you haven't ordered yet, you will likely be waiting until October to get one.
That is, unless you sit out front an Apple store or wireless carrier's store before Friday at 8am. The queue is likely to be long, and the temperatures cold, but it will get you an iPhone 5 on launch day.
"iPhone 5 pre-orders have shattered the previous record held by iPhone 4S and the customer response to iPhone 5 has been phenomenal," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "iPhone 5 is the best iPhone yet, the most beautiful product we've ever made, and we hope customers love it as much as we do."
There's just a ton of news coming out about the iPhone 5. If you haven't heard, it's getting snatched up from everywhere quicker and quicker and in higher numbers than ever before. According to AT&T's PR, "Customers ordered more iPhones from AT&T than any previous model both on its first day of preorders and over the weekend."
Of course, AT&T then takes the rest of the press release to brag about how much better the iPhone would be on AT&T verses the other carriers. Apple has also been blown away by the pre-order sales. Incredibly, the iPhone 5 launch stock was gone within an hour of being put online on Apple.com, a new record.
If you want to pick up an iPhone 5 on launch day, you'll need to make your way to an Apple store or one of the various carrier stores and stand outside the the queue that is sure to form. I'll be sitting inside playing on my new iPhone 5 when it's delivered.
If you haven't heard the news, the iPhone 5 is pre-selling like crazy. The initial pre-order stock was exhausted from Apple's store in just one hour, leaving those who didn't stay up out in the cold. Customers are now being quoted up to two weeks for the device to ship, instead of arriving on the 21st of September.
Apple has issued a statement regarding the incredible demand seen: "Pre-orders for iPhone 5 have been incredible. We've been completely blown away by the customer response." Of course, this wasn't too unexpected. Analysts estimates put the number of iPhones sold in the first week somewhere near the 10 million mark.
It's now expected that 5-10 million will be sold in the first weekend. If you still want to get an iPhone 5 on launch day, Sprint is still quoting September 21 as the date. Otherwise, you can queue up outside an Apple store at 8am, or outside an AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint store. At least they had the courtesy to launch it before winter!
In a bit of a scary legal ruling, Twitter was ordered to turn over an Occupy protester's tweets even though their Terms of Service state that tweets remain the property of the users. Theoretically, this would mean that the defendant is required to turn them over and be issued the subpoena for them, but a judge ruled that Twitter had to.
Twitter fought back, citing their Terms of Service for why they shouldn't be required to turn the tweets over, but the judge ruled against them. Twitter was given until today to hand over the tweets, or Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino was going to require Twitter provide financial statements for the last two quarters so that he may assess a fine.
Twitter has apparently caved and given the requested tweets to the court. They will, however, stay sealed until an appeal can be heard. Twitter was joined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and ACLU in fighting the request for the tweets. This ruling could have wide-reaching implications if the appeal is ruled in favor of the government.
As is sits right now, HP is mainly a consumer laptop, desktop, and printer company, but CEO Meg Whitman believes that they need to expand into the smartphone market. They recently formed a Mobility business unit, which is set to have a focus on tablets, but it now appears they will be working on at least one smartphone as well.
Speaking to Fox Business News, Meg Whitman gave an explanation about why they need to enter the smartphone market. "We have to ultimately offer a smartphone because in many countries of the world that would be your first computing device," she explained. "We are a computing company, we have to take advantage of that form factor."
No specific timetable has been given for when a device would be ready for release, but it appears they may be targeting abroad more than they are the United States. HP already acquired smartphone maker Palm and their WebOS operating system, so it does have a jumping off point. Only time will tell if they make a good device.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has weighed in on the Apple vs. Samsung patent lawsuit, and has said that he hates the result, and doesn't agree with it, and he thinks that it will ultimately be overturned.
Wozniak told Bloomberg in Shanghai:
I hate it. I don't think the decision of California will hold. And I don't agree with it - very small things I don't really call that innovative. I wish everybody would just agree to exchange all the patents and everybody can build the best forms they want to use everybody's technologies.
Wozniak also commented on the iPhone 5, noting that he hadn't purchased one yet and he's waiting until he plays with it before giving his opinion and comparing it to the competitions offerings. He does hope that the new iPhone 5 takes better pictures than Android-based counterparts:
A better quality on the pictures will mean a lot, because when I show people pictures on my iPhone 4 and my Galaxy S III, they always say the Galaxy S III, or even the Motorola Razr, pictures look better.
We all know just how popular the iPhone 5 is going to be, even if some people can't tell the difference between an iPhone 4S and the new, longer, iPhone 5, but this won't stop it shipping in insane numbers.
Research firm, IHS iSuppli have put out some predictions on the iPhone 5 shipment numbers, where they expect the sixth-generation iPhone to help Apple push smartphone shipments this year up to 149 million units. IHS iSuppli also note that more users would be influenced to upgrade because of the larger display and 4G LTE connectivity.
Daniel Gleeson, a mobile analyst for IHS iSuppli says:
Unlike last year's release of the iPhone 4S, this year's iPhone 5 announcement comes as a significant departure from previous models. The addition of a new, larger screen is a fundamental change in product design. Furthermore, the iPhone 5 is the first member of Apple's smartphone line to feature 4G long-term evolution (LTE) connectivity, accelerating data speeds dramatically compared to previous models. These major improvements will drive strong sales for the iPhone 5.
The online auction house giant eBay has updated their logo. Following in the footsteps of Microsoft, the new logo features a cleaner, more modern design, which eBay says is to reflect who they are today. It's taken them 17 years, but they finally took out a ruler and managed to get all four letters in a straight line.
Seventeen years ago, eBay created a new way for people to buy and sell. Since that time, we've enabled millions of people to launch their own businesses, and helped change the way the world shops for things they need and love. We're pleased to introduce our refreshed logo. It reflects who we are today - a global online marketplace that offers a cleaner, more contemporary and consistent experience.
The new logo will begin to show up across eBay's sites and marketing campaigns in mid-October. As the years have progressed, eBay has tried to diversify into a multi-platform e-commerce giant, which they have seemingly done to great success. As it stands currently, the majority of items sold are listed as new and with a fixed BuyItNow price.
The new logo keeps the color palette as the original, as this is a widely recognizable scheme and order. eBay's president makes the following comment: "The eBay logo is known the world over, so changing it was not a decision made lightly." It's true, the old logo was instantly recognizable, a good sign. It will be interesting how long it takes people to adjust.
AT&T have just come out as the good guys today, where they've issued a press release announcing that you can keep your grandfathered unlimited data plan, even if you move over to the new iPhone, or upgrade using its subsidized pricing.
AT&T's Ralph de la Vega talked about the iPhone and its upgrade process:
We offer customers the flexibility to keep the iPhone data plans they already have or choose any of our individual or new Mobile Share plans. We're proud that more customers choose AT&T for iPhone than any other U.S. carrier and look forward to making iPhone 5 the newest addition to our lineup.
That's pretty great of AT&T to do this, considering the new iPhone sports LTE connectivity for super-fast Internet access. Now, remember that unlimited with AT&T's unlimited plan only goes up to a point, which is 5GB. Once you reach 5GB you'll be throttled until your next billing cycle.
Apple's new iPhone 5 is only a few hours old, with no consumers actually laying their hands on one just yet, the legal battles have begun. Samsung did threaten Apple that they would "immediately sue" the company if they used 4G LTE connectivity, and according to an industry source the Korean Times are reporting:
Samsung Electronics has decided to take immediate legal action against the Cupertino-based Apple. Countries in Europe and even the United States ― Apple's home-turf ― are our primary targets.
It looks like Google were a little surprised by the patent win by Samsung, but not at the case itself, but with the smaller details. Bloomberg had Google's Vice President of Corporate Development, David Lawee, in front of the camera for an interview.
Lawee says in the interview itself that "we didn't know rounded corners were patentable", and covers that the company wasn't "aggressive" enough in patenting their intellectual property. The one thing I took away from this video is I think Apple have pushed every other large company to re-think where they stand with patents and IP.
Does this mean we're looking at a future of much more back room deals with companies, letting each other use the other company's patents? Or are we looking at companies who will be really held back if they don't have any decent IP or patents of their own? Did Apple just kick every other company in the balls with their Samsung attacks? I think so. Check out the interview over at Bloomberg.
Crowd funding is the new in-thing, with crowd funding site Kickstarter really pushing the envelope. Independent developers and gamers have banded together through Kickstarter, where the gaming category has gone from the eighth most-funded type of project in Kickstarter's history, to the second most popular.
Sitting in the second most popular spot, it has raised more than $50 million so far this year. Looking back over the years, it has increased in a meteoric fashion: 2011 saw $3.6 million, 2010 was much less with just over $500,000 and in 2009, it didn't even tip over $50,000. So in three years, we've gone from not even $50,000 to over $50,000,000. Quite the jump.
Kickstarter have said that 23% of all money pledged has been toward the gaming category this year. The film category has raised $42 million in donations, with Design, Music and Technology making $40 million, $25 million and $16 million in pledges, respectively. These categories make up the top five on the crowd funding site.
Eastman Kodak have already let go of 2,700 employees, and now they've announced that another 1,000 jobs will be cut to save the company $330 million in salary and benefits that would have been paid out. These jobs will be cut before the end of the year.
Antonio Perez, Kodak chairman and CEO has said that their current workforce and cost structure was designed for a much larger, and more diversified set of businesses. This makes sense, as the company has been selling parts of their business, like ditching weight from a sinking ship. They've sold off their image sensor, print film and online photo gallery in the past few months alone.
Kodak has been around for more than 133 years, and only filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in January of this year. Ever since, they've been trying to restructure, but we don't know how much longer the company will last in its current capacity.
Microsoft's latest patent for next-gen Xbox would project images from your game, around you in your living room
It looks like the next-generation Xbox is about to get a kick up the arse in terms of immersion within gaming, is a new patent submitted to the United States Trademark and Patent Office from Microsoft is anything to go by. The new technology would completely transform the room your next-gen Xbox is in, into a gaming environment. The patent reads:
An immersive display environment is provided to a human user by projecting a peripheral image onto environmental surfaces around the user. The peripheral images serve as an extension to a primary image displayed on a primary display.
This could work in a few ways, with either a projection of an image from the Kinect sensor, or wearable computing. I'd be leaning more toward wearable computing - as this would allow the Xbox and Kinect system to just send the information to the headset, where it would display a 2D graphic in front of the player. This would translate into you looking at your wall, and seeing a crushed wall for example, with an enemy behind it shooting at you. You would then turn physically, facing the wall, to shoot your enemy.
This would definitely be the kind of push I expect in next-gen consoles, especially if we're to see a 5-year or more lifecycle out of them.
Google has partnered with Boingo to make 4,000 of its hotspots available nationwide for free for people accessing them with Android, OSX, or Windows. Interestingly enough, users of iOS and Windows Phone appear to be excluded from this offering, showing Google is really pushing Android with this latest stunt.
The hotspots are available across the United States in "high-traffic locations," coffee shops, hotels, and other areas. Google and Boingo are even offering this service at some of the major airports, including NY's JFK, O'Hare, and Seattle-Tacoma, along with the Boingo-enabled subway stations around Manhattan.
Dawn Callahan, vice president of consumer marketing for Boingo Wireless:
Google Play is the first to take part in our newly expanded Wi-Fi sponsorship network, which reaches millions of consumers each month with place-based brand engagements. Sponsorships like this give users the free Wi-Fi they crave, advertisers the consumer interaction they need, and venues the revenue to offset the costs associated with providing a high-bandwidth Wi-Fi experience.
Google has sponsored this Wi-Fi through Boingo's Cloud Nine Media program, which allows advertisers to sponsor free Wi-Fi, something most people like. The act of sponsoring should bring good will to the company as well as reach new consumers with their brand. The free Wi-Fi ends with the month of September.