Intel this year plans to sell a set-top box and Internet-based streaming media service that will bundle TV channels for subscribers, but its plans will likely face hurdles from the 800-pound gorillas of the streaming media market.
In February, Erik Huggers, general manager of Intel Media, said at the All Things Digital media conference that the company is working on an "Internet television platform." The service will include on-demand programming, live television broadcasts and "catch-up TV," or program rebroadcasts.
Huggers compared Intel's as-yet-unnamed service to the BBC's iPlayer, which makes programs available up to seven days after the original broadcast on any mobile device. Read more...
IBM has cut more than 1,600 employees and more layoffs are possible, according to an employee organization.
The news come from Alliance@IBM, which has been a reliable source of news about job actions at the company. IBM typically doesn't disclose its job reduction actions.
When contacted Wednesday night, an IBM spokesman said the company would not comment on the report. What the company has typically said in the past when job cuts were disclosed is that the action represents a "rebalancing" of its workforce. Read more...
Where in the world would you need a smartphone app to be able to buy toilet paper? Why in the world would you need such high tech in order to be able to manage something so fundamental as bog roll? And it is so: it is in Venezuela that an app has been launched to aid in finding that paper of sweet relief.
As the Telegraph puts it:
Toilet roll has been in short supply in the South American country in recent months, with economists blaming price controls imposed by the government. Read more...
Microsoft has plans to set up Windows Stores inside 500 Best Buys around the United States and 100 in Canada. The stores will be heavily Microsoft-branded sections within Best Buy. Customers will be able to fondle all manner of Redmond-borne products under the watchful eyes of Microsoft-trained sales associates.
Earlier this year rival Samsung teamed up with Best Buy to open 1,400 Samsung Experience Shops, which feature the company's smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other products. Apple too has long had a partnership with Best Buy for dedicated shops within many of the electronics retailer's stores. However, the Windows Stores will be larger and more prominent.
"The Windows Store offers a large-scale, hands-on customer experience that will show customers how Windows and Microsoft devices and services can make it easier for them to work and play," said Tami Reller, chief marketing officer and chief financial officer of the Windows Division at Microsoft.
There are risks, of course. Among them, PC makers may not take kindly to the fact these miniature Windows Stores will include a section dedicated to promoting the Microsoft Surface. Microsoft's relationships with some of its hardware partners have chilled over the past couple of year, stemming from the company's decision to build its own Windows 8 tablet and the blame it's placed on PC makers for disappointing Windows 8 sales.
The greatest threat is the potential for a plague of fanboy turf wars at Best Buys that offer a Windows Store, a Samsung Experience Shop, and a dedicated Apple section. If TV commercials have taught us anything, it's that users will even disrupt a wedding over other peoples' choice of mobile platform. Best Buy may have to pad its security budget to keep the peace. Some rivals may forgo fisticuffs in the printer section for spontaneous, brand-centric epic rap battles.
The Raspberry Pi was conceived of as a device so cheap that anyone could buy one, but also just raw enough that putting the computer to work would require users to learn a little about topics like installing operating systems and confronting BIOS settings.
It turns out that “put some people off” to the extent they shelved their Pis, according to the Pi Guys, as they've summoned a new tool called New Out Of Box Software (NOOBS) into existence so that getting a Pi up and running is much easier.
NOOBS comes as a .Zip file that, once unpacked to a SD card, will allow users to boot their Pi and chose from a list of operating systems they wish to run on the computer. Read more...
Consumerization of IT and self-service trends will lead to a restructuring of the today's IT shop, leaving behind a hybrid model consisting of tech consultants and integrators.
"The business itself will be the IT department. [Technologists] will simply be the enabler," said Brandon Porco, chief technologist & solutions architect at Northrop Grumman.
Porco was part of a four-person panel of technologists who answered audience questions during a town hall-style meeting at the CITE Conference and Expo here this week.
Among concerns raised is whether IT is losing control as consumer technology becomes part and parcel of everyone's work in the enterprise, and the data center is left behind. Read more...
While Google Glass is currently being viewed as a consumer technology, IT shops and mobile workers are likely already champing at the bit to be able to use a hands-free technology to do their jobs.
"The same way that tablets followed smartphones into the enterprise on the backs of employees bearing the cost, Google Glass will also flow the same way," said Chris Hazelton, research director for Mobile & Wireless at 451 Research. "This will also drive acceptance. So, you may see tools that will directly manage Google Glass."
Because Google Glass runs on the Android OS, mobile device management (MDM) vendors who already can manage Android smartphones and tablets see an opportunity to place a device client and apps store on the glasses that will allow IT departments to push tools to employees when they come to Google Glass. Read more...
We may not be exploring a new version of Android this week, but don't think for a minute that we left Google's I/O developers' conference empty-handed.
While Google didn't give us the headline-making full platform release we were expecting, it gave us something that's arguably more valuable in the long run: a revamped approach to the way the company handles the Android software experience.
In a nutshell, Google's picking up the pace on its move to unbundle core elements of the operating system -- pulling the pieces out of the OS and offering them as standalone applications any user can install. Read more...
Employees at the Chinese factories of Apple supplier Foxconn continue to work beyond the country's legal limit of 49 hours a month, according to a report from the Fair Labor Association (FLA). But the Taiwanese manufacturer is making overall steady progress in improving the working conditions at a select group of factories in China, it said.
The report released Thursday is the latest audit from the FLA, which has been tasked by Apple to monitor the working conditions at three Foxconn factories in the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Chengdu that produce iPad and iPhone products. Since the initial audits were carried out in February of last year, the factories have instituted new changes, including enforcing breaks for workers and stopping student interns from logging overtime hours. Read more...
High-tech's leading advocate in the immigration bill fight, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), has bought himself some time, perhaps until Tuesday, to try get the immigration bill changed to the liking of the tech industry.
Negotiations are underway to come up with a compromise where Hatch gets a block of amendments and, in return, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), gets Hatch's support for the entire immigration bill, according to sources.
Schumer is one of the leaders of the so-called "gang of eight," the bipartisan group that developed the comprehensive immigration bill.
If Hatch had enough support for his amendments on Senate Judiciary Committee, he could have asked for a vote. But he didn't have the votes. Read more...
A cottage industry is growing up around virtual padlocks that consumers can place on cloud services so that the vendors themselves can't get to the information -- even if the government requests access.
And in recent years there have been a lot of those government requests for access from storage-as-a-service providers.
For example, Google regularly receives requests from governments and courts around the world to hand over user data. Last year, it received 21,389 government requests for information affecting 33,634 user accounts. Sixty-six percent of the time, Google said it provided at least some data in response. Read more...
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins' prediction this week that tablets would decline in popularity flies in the face of widespread industry forecasting for an explosion of tablet shipments through 2017. But his comments also provoked debate on what will happen over the next five to 10 years to smartphones, tablets and laptops -- even wearable computers -- and what devices users might favor.
Some analysts said Heins could be setting the scene for eliminating the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, which launched in 2011 but hasn't gained market traction. Others said Heins is likely envisioning a world where the smartphone acts as a hub to other displays in rooms or on what users wear to provide processing power and wireless access to data in the cloud. Read more...
Microsoft late Friday confirmed that a "zero-day," or unpatched, vulnerability exists in Internet Explorer 8 (IE8), the company's most popular browser.
According to multiple security firms, the vulnerability has been used in active exploits, including "watering hole"-style attacks against the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Energy, targeting workers at the latter agency involved in nuclear weapons research.
On Friday, Microsoft published a security advisory that acknowledged the bug. In the advisory, the company also said that other versions of Internet Explorer, including the newer IE9 and IE10, are not affected, and that the firm is working on an update to patch the problem. Read more...
A Japanese local government has come up with a rather unusual solution to the problem of Windows XP migration – keep the venerable OS but disconnect the remaining PCs running it from the internet.
In around a year’s time, April 8 2014 to be precise, Microsoft will end free support for the operating system which is still installed on around a third of machines in the Land of the Rising Sun.
This will mean an end to free security patches and fixes for knackered code – exposing organisations to a host of potential info-security risks. Read more...