One can see the similarities between HP's metal unibody-based Envy Spectre XT ultrathin, to Apple's MacBook Air. Firstly, HP's Spectre XT is the new flagship model of HP's just-announced Envy ultrathin lineup, which was born from VoodooPC's Envy laptops, which launched in June of 2008.
The VoodooPC Envy was one of the first non-Apple ultrathins to arrive on the market mere months after the launch of the MacBook Air from Apple. While the Voodoo Envy didn't look that much like the MacBook Air, HP's line-up of ultrathin's have slowly been sliding into the MacBook Air's skin since release.
The latest release was enough for HP's vice president of industrial design, Stacy Wolff, to go on the defensive. He told Engadget:
[The Spectre XT's looks are] not due to Apple but due to the way technologies developed. It is not because those guys did it first. It's just that's where the form factor is leading it.
He specifically points to his design's rubber imbued bottom, slightly different keyboard, and a brushed metal body as key differentiators. We all know Apple is trigger-happy when it comes to suing companies, but Wolff has stated that the design was approved by his lawyers, so we shouldn't see any problems.
Want a GEFORCE GTX 680? Well, line up behind the eleventy million other people who want one, but things are set to change. The relationship between NVIDIA and its principal foundry partner, TSMC, has been rocky for quite sometime now. Team Green were also not happy with TSMC's 28nm manufacturing capacity, but then give them praise in other areas.
NVIDIA have threatened to
break up with TSMC find another foundry partner for bulk manufacturing, with reports pointing to Samsung preparing qualification samples for it, TSMC had a change of heart and have promised NVIDIA a priority over their other clients such as Qualcomm and AMD for the manufacturing of their 28nm chips.
NVIDIA were not quiet on being unhappy with TSMC's output, and its new policy of charging for wafers rather than working chips yielded, NVIDIA refuted rumors of it seeking other foundry partners such as Global Foundaries and Samsung. Now NVIDIA are on high-priority, TSMC will make sure to see a speedy launch of new NVIDIA GEFORCE SKUs toward the end of Q2, 2012. TSMC in the past have given other companies priority, such as when Qualcomm threatened to switch allocations to other foundries.
I will work off the assumption that all of my readers are on the up and up and don't pirate music and videos. Yes, I have high standards for my readers, but it's for the best. Since none of us pirate music or movies, it always annoys me to see the anti-piracy fear campaign before the start of a movie. Apparently it wasn't enough, though, because two new propaganda slides are being added.
The one above is the traditional fear-based warning. It offers the standard "you could be fined or go to jail if you download this movie illegally" routine. Of course, a $250,000 fine and 5 years in jail is a bit excessive and scary, but at the same time, I don't pirate, so I don't want to see the warning! This one has been brought to you courtesy of the FBI and the HSI.
It reads "The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by federal law enforcement agencies and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000."
This propaganda showing is a less standard, yet still traditional, showing. It claims that pirating hurts the economy and that it is not a victimless crime. It encourages viewers to set aside their movie and go to http://www.iprcenter.gov to learn more. "Piracy is not a victimless crime. For more information on how digital theft harms the economy, please visit http://www.iprcenter.gov."
StumbleUpon co-founder and CEO, Garrett Camp, has stepped down from his position and will become chairman of the company. Camp, who after 10 years of leading StumbleUpon, wants change. He explained that it's "time for a change" in a post on StumbleUpon's blog:
After 10 years leading StumbleUpon, it's time for a change. From Geoff and I working part-time in Canada in 2002 to over 120 talented employees today, I've guided StumbleUpon through an unconventional journey. We moved to San Francisco in 2006 (photo above), were acquired by eBay just a year later, spun ourselves out of eBay in 2009, and have since grown the company from 5 million to more than 25 million registered users. The last 3 years have been incredible - completely rebuilding the company and expanding from a simple Firefox add-on to one of the largest discovery platforms on the Web.
StumbleUpon is now seeking a new CEO, immediately. The rest of its executive staff will continue as is. The next thing to see is who StumbleUpon, well, stumble upon for their next CEO, as well as what Camp has up his sleeve as to his next move.
After the successful conclusion of a pilot program which studied the effect of tablet computers in government, all 650 members of the British parliament (MP) will soon receive Apple's tablet masterpiece, the iPad.
The roll out of iPads to MPs will cost anywhere between $420,300 and $693,500. Nearly 70 MPs have already bought an iPad and have listed them as an expense, putting the cost onto the tax payer. But there are benefits, they say: such as saving money on printing, and other business/workflow-related reasons.
Each MP and his or her staff are entitled to three desktop computers, and two laptops in the service of the government. A trade-in of one of the allotted devices is expected from 300 of the 650 members not assigned to a select committee. The returned equipment helps for the cost of the iPad purchases by updating obsolete equipment in use by non-elected staffers, which then reduces the need for purchases of new equipment, which would cost a little over $80,000.
EA believes consoles still have potential, promises $80 million in investment for next-gen console game development
In EA's earning call, it was made clear that the company intends to compete in the next-gen console market and is planning to invest $80 million in next-gen game consoles. This $80 million is only over the fiscal year 2013, so likely most of this money will go towards WiiU games as the WiiU is rumored to release around Christmas this year.
"We intend to invest $80 million in gen-4 console development in fiscal 2013," said EA CEO John Riccitiello in his prepared remarks. "We are strong believers that console will return to strong growth, representing great opportunity, one that is in lockstep with our digital plan."
This commitment comes at a time when EA saw, and is predicting, a decline in packaged good sales. At the same time, however, they are expecting to see an increase of 40% in digital revenue for the year. Of course, $80 million wouldn't even cover the development costs of one top AAA title, so it's unclear exactly how many titles will be coming from this investment.
In what I can only call a hilarious turn of events, two of Romania's most renowned fortune-tellers have been accused of using Google, rather than the spirits, to con clients into doing some outlandish things and forking over cash for the services. One client was encouraged to throw her money into a lake to rid herself of her troubles.
With the internet around, it's so much easier for people to collect information on other people. As such, it was just a matter of time before a fortune-teller put it to use. The fortune-tellers are accused of using their Wi-Fi connections to Google clients and their loved ones. I guess that sort of counts, since after all, Wi-Fi is kind of magical.
But, their misdeeds didn't stop there. According to the allegations, the fortune-tellers trawled their clients' social networks and even used electronic surveillance equipment on those who would pay large sums of money. In a bit of irony, these fortune-tellers couldn't foresee their future in that the prosecutor they tried to bribe was also under electronic surveillance.
When the New York Times ran an article about GE's use of tax loop holes to not pay taxes, GE's brand reputation was significantly hurt and took two months to return to precrisis levels. However, just a month later the New York Times ran a similar story about Apple and Apple did not see the same result as GE.
Apple, as opposed to GE, saw an increase in brand reputation after the New York Times story ran. On YouGov's rating system, Apple went up from a brand reputation of 52 to 58 and is now running at 51. The reputation scores range from -100 to 100 and is calculated off of responses to the question of whether or not they would be "proud or embarrassed to work for this brand."
Apple's reputation is "virtually Teflon," in that nothing sticks to it. "The reaction [to the story about GE] was more pronounced and longer: the company's reputation took a steep drop and two months to recover to precrisis levels," YouGov said in a post. It's incredible that the two companies are treated differently, even though they do the same thing.
Fortune Magazine have released their annual Fortune 500 list, which list America's largest corporations. Last year, Apple placed at a respectable 35th position, but have zoomed right up to 17th for this years list. Apple rank second in technology to rival Hewlett-Packard.
Last year due to the undeniable success of the iPhone and iPad, Apple became the world's most value company, boosting its earnings by 85-percent to $25.9 billion. Fortune have predicted growrth for the technology sector at 3-percent, marking Apple's earnings as a "giant" contribution in the industry.
Apple looks to continue this runaway success, with another iPhone on the way, and I'm sure another iPad is being worked on as well as refreshed MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and iMacs. I'm sure there's things in-between those products, too. As well as their rumored Apple TV, too.
The creator behind the immensely popular 'Angry Birds', Rovio Entertainment, are looking to go public in 2013. The company is looking at an initial public offering (IPO) in 2013, in either New York or Hong Kong. What would you think Rovio is worth? Well, analysts pin them being valued at a very respectable $9 billion.
With the popularity seeming to never end with Angry Birds, the IPO should go very well. Angry Birds has smashed over 800 million downloads, and sports 200 million active users monthly, this is by the end of 2011. Angry Birds Space launched to huge numbers, hitting 50 million downloads in 35 days which made it the fastest growing mobile game, ever.
Profit-wise, Rovio made $99 in sales last year, and profits before tax was $48 million. Not bad considering 2010's revenue of around $10 million. Mikael Hed, Rovio CEO has said:
2012 looks fantastic. We have had some very strong download numbers over four months.
Lenovo are planning big investments in China over the next 18 or so months, where they'll be investing $800 million in a new mobile products plant in Wuhan, one of the largest cities in China. The Lenovo Industrial Base will cover research & development, production and sales of smartphones and tablets, with a target opening date of October 2013.
The new plant will service both local and global markets, and is expected to generate around $1.5 billion in revenue by 2014, and the company are hoping to hit $8 billion within five years. Job creation numbers are great, with around 10,000 jobs created over the coming years thanks to the new Wuhan facility.
Lenovo are wanting to grab more mobile market share, and this move will surely help them do so. Lenovo have said in their press release that they are already a top-three smartphone maker in China. Lenovo's K800 smartphone was one of the first devices to feature Intel's Medfield-based processor, which should be the start of something new for Lenovo. On top of this, they're preparing the IdeaTab S2109 with an unspecified processor, a 9.7-inch display, and 1GB of RAM.
While Google are busy battling a censorship case with the Indian government, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Competition Commission of India is launching an antitrust investigation of Google, where they'll examine the company's alleged "discriminatory and retaliatory practices relating to AdWords".
Where did this all stem from? A complaint filed from Consim Info Pvt. Ltd., who is an Indian web conglomerate which apparently requested that the Competition Commission step in to ensure fair competition in online advertising.
What the investigation is set out to do isn't 100-percent clear, but the commission will start off by taking a look at AdWords and go from there. Google are in for a treat this year, it seems.
Minnesota Senator Al Franken believes that Comcast is breaking its net neutrality agreement that it had to sign to gain approval to merge with NBC Universal. The fear that Franken has resides in the fact that Comcast will not count any direct-to-Xbox streaming against customers' 250GB monthly data cap.
Obviously, Netflix and other internet video providers are upset by this and see it as unfair. They believe it gives Comcast's service an unfair advantage to their own services and that it violates the Net neutrality rules that they had to sign to. These rules prohibit broadband providers from favoring their own content on the open internet over that of their competitors.
Ah, yes, that legal battle between Oracle and Google is still going on. In fact, it's only in its first stages. The copyright phase of the trial ended Friday with the jury stating they couldn't reach a unanimous decision on one of the four questions it needed to. Judge Alsup told the jurors to think about it over the weekend.
Unfortunately, this did not help as the jury as it told the court that an "impasse has been reached." The jury then turned in its partial verdict on the three questions that they were able to agree upon. The jury has found that Google did in fact infringe on Oracle's copyrights by copying the structure, sequence, and organization of the code.
They were unable to decide if this use would be covered by fair use. The jury found that Google had not unfairly taken from the documentation associated with the 37 APIs. The jury found Google guilty of infringing by actually copying some specific code from the Java programming language. They were only found guilty on one of the three they were charged with.
Google has moved for a mistrial given the results of this trial. The trial has now shifted to the patent portion of the proceedings, even with the unresolved portions from the copyright phase. Both Oracle and Google are preparing briefs on the matter of whether the SSO was copyrightable. The jury has been instructed to continue as if they were.
"Like, OMG, I need help NOW!!1!" In a move that the FCC chairman praised, Verizon has selected a vendor to help it implement its first-in-the-nation "text-to-911" service. The "text-to-911" service would allow people to contact emergency services (911) via text message. This opens the doors to providing better access to those with speaking or hearing disabilities.
"Verizon is at the forefront of 911 public-safety innovations, and today's announcement is another step in making SMS-to-911 service available to those who cannot make a voice call to 911," said Marjorie Hsu, Verizon Wireless vice president of technology. "Our company is continuing its long-standing commitment to address the needs of public safety and our customers by offering another way to get help in an emergency by using wireless technology."
Verizon is looking to deploy the new feature in select markets early next year. The option will be available to anyone who has a text-messaging-capable phone. FCC spokesperson Tammy Sun said Genachowski "commended the company for offering consumers another way to reach 911 that is consistent with how millions of consumers already use mobile devices in their daily lives."
It what can only be described as the legal system actually working, a judge has used common sense and ruled that an IP address is not enough to incriminate a pirate. Judge Gary Brown, a federally-appointed magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of New York, delivered the ruling in a fresh round of lawsuits launched by Voltage Pictures.
The case in question is one in which Voltage Pictures has sued 2,500 BitTorrent users who have been accused of illegally downloading The Hurt Locker. The movie didn't exactly perform as expected when it hit theaters and the studio is blaming that on piracy and an early leak of the film. Judge Brown spells out his feelings in a 26-page ruling located here.
Thus, it is no more likely that the subscriber to an IP address carried out a particular computer function -- here the purported illegal downloading of a single pornographic film -- than to say an individual who pays the telephone bill made a specific telephone call," [...] "Most, if not all, of the IP addresses will actually reflect a wireless router or other networking device, meaning that while the ISPs will provide the name of its subscriber, the alleged infringer could be the subscriber, a member of his or her family, an employee, invitee, neighbor or interloper.
Google has never really released any sort of data about the financials of Android. People have been forced to take educated guesses about whether or not Android is making money for Google. Well thanks to the ongoing battle between Oracle and Google, we finally have some hard numbers to go off of, and it's a somewhat bleak picture.
Currently, the lawsuit is in jury deliberations and those deliberations are currently locked. The judge and jury are trying to work out what sort of damages may be due to Oracle, hence the hard financial data that has become available. Judge William Alsup, yesterday, read excerpts from some court documents which showed that Android had a net loss every quarter in 2010.
This resulted in a "big loss for the whole year." He also made note that Android only had a revenue figure of $97.7 million for the first quarter in 2010. These figures are important because they go into figuring out how much money Oracle could be due in damages. If Google hasn't made money, they are on the hook, conceivably, for less money. At the same time, one would have to question why they would continue with a platform that isn't making money.
With Facebook expected to go public on May 17 or 18, we have finally heard what the expected stock price range will be. Ranging between $28 and $35, the IPO could potentially bring in $13.6 billion in profit, with $1 billion going straight to Zuckerberg. Along with this profit, the IPO will value Facebook at the most valuable US technology company at the time of an IPO.
The IPO will value the company somewhere between $77 billion and $96 billion which well outpaces the current record holder Google who managed $23 billion. Zuckerberg is expected to personally sell 30.2 million shares which could net him the above $1 billion. But don't worry, he'll retain 57.3% voting power, so changes like Timeline will continue to happen.
In the lead up to the IPO, Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Chief Financial Officer David Eberseman will spend just over a week out and about convincing potential investors of the value of investing in Facebook. Zuckerberg will make selected appearances, but also appears in a video presentation talking about his history with the company. I hope it's a good video as $1 billion is riding on it.
Microsoft and Dolby have just inked a new deal which will see Dolby Digital Plus' audio technology introduced to Windows 8 tablets and PCs. This will allow Windows 8-based devices to play Dolby-encoded content without an issue.
Microsoft have previously used Dolby encoding since Windows Vista in 2007, but in 2008, Dolby raised the possibility that we might not see Windows 8 with Dolby technology. It's incredibly exciting as Dolby Digital Plus 5.1-channel decoding and two-channel encoding will now be incorporated into all PCs and tablets that are licensed to run Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows 8 RT.
This new partnership also allows for both x86- and ARM-based Windows 8 machines to access Dolby's high-quality audio standard.
We all know Samsung and Apple pretty much dominate the smartphone industry, but just how much have they been dominating it in the last year or so? Quite well, it seems. Apple and Samsung secure 99-percent of the profits, according to Asymco's Horace Dediu and his recently released data.
Out of this 99-percent, Apple take 73-percent, with Samsung taking 26-percent in Q1 2012. Comparing the previous quarter, Q4 2011, Apple were enjoying a nice 75-percent, with Samsung having 16-percent. This means that Samsung has pretty much absorbed the rest of the market share from the other mobile phone vendors such as HTC, Research in Motion, LG, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia.
What's more surprising is the 1-percent that is left. HTC managed to scoop that up, leaving the other vendors RIM, LG, SE, Motorola and Nokia failing to make a profit on their handset businesses. Surprising to say the least, and quite shocking. I wonder what 2012 has in store for the eight vendors.
PC gaming hardware market is going well, predicted to generate $23.6 billion in sales by the end of this year
According to the latest reports and numbers from Jon Peddie Research, predictions are being made for PC gaming hardware sales, where the research group are predicting total sales of $23.6 billion and by the end of 2015, this should grow to $32 billion.
They cite strong demand which will fuel growth over the coming years, especially in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries where systems, accessories and upgrades are expected to get close to $4.7 billion this year, and $7.7 billion by 2015.
JPR also expects to see the average selling price for some components to drop in 2013, as competition heats up. This is always good news for end users, with unit shipments expected to rise, which will smash any dip that would otherwise show up as a result of the lowered prices. These numbers should have confidence in them, as this year we're expecting some truly kick-ass titles such as Diablo III, Max Payne 3, and more.
By next year, we should have Crysis 3, Far Cry 3, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, and Borderlands 2. We shouldn't forget Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, either.