LG is flexing its muscle in smartphone technology with a new handset that boasts a curved touchscreen, along with a special "self healing" technology that the company claims can prevent scratches on the phone's casing.
The South Korean electronics vendor unveiled the new phone on Monday, calling it the LG G Flex. Digital renderings of the handset were leaked earlier this month. But in its Monday announcement the company offered further details on the phone, showing that it contains a few new technologies, along with its curved display.
The G Flex is the second phone to feature a curved display, the first coming from Samsung Electronics with its Galaxy Round handset. The top and bottom of the G Flex's 6-inch screen are curved towards the user, while on the Samsung phone it is the sides that are curved towards the viewer.
This makes LG's handset closer to the curve of a traditional fixed-line phone handset, a design choice LG said is optimized for the contours of a face. Users can more comfortably hold the phone to their mouth and ear, improving its voice and sound quality, according to LG. Read more...
The cyber criminals behind ZeroAccess, one of the largest botnets in existence, have lost access to more than a quarter of the infected machines they controlled because of an operation executed by security researchers from Symantec.
According to Symantec, the ZeroAccess botnet consists of more than 1.9 million infected computers and is used primarily to perform click fraud and Bitcoin mining in order to generate revenues estimated at tens of millions of dollars per year.
ZeroAccess has a peer-to-peer architecture where every infected computer can relay files, instructions and information to other computers -- peers -- in the botnet. This mechanism is used by its operators for command and control (C&C), making ZeroAccess more resilient to takedown attempts than botnets that depend on dedicated C&C servers. Read more...
When Apple announced the iPhone 5s would be powered by a new 64-bit processor, the A7, many responded with a shrug. Conventional wisdom had it that 64-bitness in a mobile processor had no particular advantage.
But then the first real-world performance benchmarks came in, and soon most everyone changed their tune -- including the manufacturers of chipsets for competing devices. Samsung, which manufactures the A7 for Apple, recently said it would have 64-bit dices.
64-bit processors are generally compared against their 32-bit counterparts in terms of the amount of memory the processor can address at once. The original hedging of bets about the value of 64-bitness in mobile revolved around this: What mobile device would need to access more than 3GB of memory? Read more...
Finnish smartphone startup Jolla has announced that its Linux-based Sailfish OS mobile platform will be both software and hardware compatible with Android.
Sailfish OS will be able to run unmodified Android apps alongside native Sailfish ones, the company said in a press release on Monday. In addition, Sailfish will be installable on existing hardware, provided it is Android compatible.
So far, Sailfish OS has only been demoed running on Jolla's own homegrown handsets – the first batch of which is sold out, despite not being scheduled to ship until the end of the year. But the company said on Monday that the OS would be installable on a range of popular Android smartphones and tablets, too.
"Vendors interested to utilize Sailfish OS are now able to develop phones and tablets based on many different chipset and hardware configurations," Jolla's release said. "This new level of compatibility will enable device vendors who use Sailfish OS to fully utilize the existing Android hardware ecosystem." Read more...
The jarring combination of Microsoft's radical reinvention of Windows with old-style hardware caused the average satisfaction score of PC makers to slip in the last year, a pollster said today.
Meanwhile, Apple again took top honors by tying its own 2011 record in computing device customer satisfaction as measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), a consumer survey that's tracked opinions on technology for 18 years.
Apple's score of 87 -- out of a possible 100 -- was up one point from 2012 and seven points higher than its closest competitor.
The ACSI survey polled more than 2,700 Americans in April and May, asking them to rate their experiences with recently purchased devices -- desktop and notebook personal computers, as well as tablets -- sold by Apple, Acer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba. The rest of the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) were lumped into a secondary "All Others" category in ACSI's results.
With a score of 80, HP was Apple's nearest rival; other OEMs collected scores between 76 and 79. Read more...
The 64-bit smartphone clash has been joined between rivals Apple and Samsung. But will everyday smartphone buyers even care, much less notice?
Not in the short term, but then technology is often ahead of buyer awareness or popularity.
Samsung this week confirmed it will have ARM-based 64-bit processors in its next top-line Galaxy-branded smartphones. That move came almost immediately after Apple on Tuesday announced the iPhone 5s, saying it will ship Sept. 20 with a 64-bit A7 processor. The iPhone 5c and the older iPhone 5 use a 32-bit A6 chip.
Down the road, a 64-bit processor would be able to handle code for more demanding high-end games or health-related apps using bio-sensors that spit out tons of data. It could help in data-intensive video editing or for playing ultra high-definition 4K video, which has potential for businesses as well as consumers. Read more...
With Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s mobile business for $7.1bn, the Redmond software giant has finally become a phone and device maker.
The deal gives Microsoft Nokia’s global handset engineering, manufacturing, sales and distribution business; the family of Windows-Phone-powered Lumia smartphones; a war chest of 8,500 Lumia and Asha phone patents while licensing 30,000 utility patents; and a standing army of 32,000 Nokia employees. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.
Interestingly, it's not Microsoft’s biggest purchase: it’s second to the $8.2bn purchase of loss-making internet chat biz Skype in 2011.
The Nokia acquisition also potentially gives Microsoft its next chief executive officer: Nokia boss Stephen Elop who was once a senior suit in Redmond.
Announcing the deal on Monday night, outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer called it a “bold step into the future”. Nokia has talent in hardware design and engineering, supply chain and manufacturing management, sales, marketing and distribution, Ballmer told his employees. Read more...
Qualcomm on Wednesday announced its own smartwatch that will have a low-power Mirasol display and be compatible with Android mobile devices.
The smartwatch, called Toq (pronounced "talk"), will ship in the fourth quarter this year. Qualcomm's announcement comes on the same day Samsung announced its Galaxy Gear smartwatch, which has a 1.6-inch screen and offers 25 hours of battery life.
Toq will have a color capacitive touchscreen display, and offer "days" of battery life, Qualcomm said. The smartwatch will be able to work with a smartphone to show incoming messages and calls, play back music and show weather information. Read more...
EMC's VNX hybrid storage line is now built for flash first, with revamped software that can take full advantage of multicore processors, producing what the company calls a major boost in performance.
As the cost of flash media falls and more enterprises turn to it for faster access to at least some of their data, hybrid arrays of both SSDs (solid-state disks) and HDDs (hard disk drives) are becoming an enterprise storage mainstay. Getting the full benefit of flash in those platforms requires more than just installing SSDs in place of spinning disks, so EMC and others are upping their game to increase speed across the board.
EMC is unveiling the new generation of its more than two-year-old VNX line at an event in Milan on Wednesday and presenting it as a major advance for the midrange storage platform. Whereas the current VNX is designed for HDDs and can accommodate SSDs, the new platform was built from the assumption that all customers would put in at least some flash, said Eric Herzog, senior vice president of product management and marketing. As before, the system can also be configured entirely with flash. "It's designed to make flash as fast as possible," Herzog said. Read more...
The next version of Android will be called KitKat after the Nestle chocolate bar, and not Key Lime Pie, as was predicted for months, Google said Tuesday.
The news was an unexpected twist to many Android fans, who had expected the next big release would be numbered Android 5.0 and would be called Key Lime Pie, in keeping with Google's pattern of picking an Android update named after a sweet treat, starting with the next letter in the alphabet.
Google's Android Web site says the next version will be Android 4.4, called KitKat, with no mention of when it will be released or what it will include. Google had not officially ever called the next version Key Lime Pie, although it had used KLP in some written materials. Read more...
Microsoft wants to build a better mobile phone through its acquisition of Nokia's mobile phone business. One way it hopes to do that? By improving its maps applications to better compete against Google's.
"An effective alternative to Google" and "more than one digital map of the world" are needed, Microsoft said in a presentation on the strategic rationale for the deal, which was posted to the company's website.
Microsoft will acquire several new mapping and location services as part of its acquisition of Nokia's Devices & Services business, announced Monday.
Chief among them are Nokia's Here Drive, Here Maps and Here Transit. All three were designed to help people travel more efficiently and reduce carbon emissions in the process. Read more...
Apple faces a threat from an unexpected quarter: Chinese developers crafting Android apps, an analytics firm said today.
Chinese developers build nearly two-thirds of the mobile apps used by Chinese consumers -- an even higher percentage than U.S. developers contribute to U.S. consumers' app usage patterns -- illustrating not only the difficulty outsiders face in breaking into the massive market, but reinforcing one analyst's claim that Apple will face a crisis next year if it continues to shed smartphone share.
According to Flurry, a U.S.-based mobile analytics firm, U.S. developers are losing their grip on the mobile app ecosystem, and have accounted for just 36% of all smartphone and tablet apps published so far this year. That's down from 45% over the last two years. Read more...
Google’s Android product chief is leaving Mountain View for an up-and-coming Chinese smartphone-maker.
Vice president of Android product management Hugo Barra has announced he’s joining Android smartphone maker Xiaomi as vice president of its global team to expand the device-maker’s product portfolio and worldwide reach.
The company, which developed its own Android fork under the direction of co-founder former Google engineering director Bin Lin, also makes other devices that are integrated with its MIUI-based firmware, including an internet telly set-top box called the Millet.
The Chinese firm, whose employees include other senior Googlers, last week raised $10m in venture funding. Read more...
Samsung plans to announce a new Galaxy device -- probably the Note III -- on Sept. 4 in Berlin, according to an invitation sent to reporters on Monday. The invitation includes mention of a live Webcast of the event, and the words: "Be the first to experience the next Galaxy."
There are Galaxy-branded tablets and smartphones, and also phablets.
In early September last year in Berlin, Samsung launched its Galaxy Note II large-screen smartphone. An annual refresh of the Note this fall has been expected, and the Sept. 4 event is timed two days prior to the start of the IFA technology conference in same city. The IFA conference is slated for Sept. 6-11. Read more...
What do you call a computer program that uses big data to write jokes? Basic, judging by the list of groan-worthy gags generated by this new wisecracking software.
Eggheads at the University of Edinburgh have developed code dedicated to spitting out quips along the lines of: "I like my men like I like my monoxide - odourless" and "I like my women like I like my gas - natural".
The system was tested on a group of volunteers who claimed the witty algorithms made them chuckle a few times, although not as much as similar, human-penned jokes chosen from Twitter.
It uses 2,000,000 noun-adjective pairs of words to draw up jokes "with an element of surprise", something the creators claim is key to good comedy. The one-liners were produced by searching for connections between pairings of words using Google n-gram data and Wordnet's part-of-speech tags. Read more...