Late Start May Be Tempering China Mobile’s iPhone Preorders

December 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Apple’s iPhone won’t officially launch on China Mobile until January 17 , but the world’s largest mobile carrier began accepting preorders for them last week. And while early estimates say initial preorder numbers are high, they’re not quite as high as you’d think given the size of China Mobile’s subscriber base. Wedge Partners figures China Mobile accepted about 100,000 preorders for the iPhone 5s and 5c during the first two days of availability. Interestingly, that’s fewer than rival carriers managed when the devices first launched a few months back. In September, China Unicom racked up about 120,000 preorders and China Telecom about 150,000 for the 5s and 5c both. How is it that China Mobile, which currently provides cell service to over 763 million customers, is pulling in fewer iPhone preorders than its smaller rivals?

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HP Is Negotiating to Settle Bribery Charges

December 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Computing giant Hewlett-Packard said today that it is in “advanced discussions” to settle investigations brought by two U.S. regulators concerning allegations of bribery. The company said it is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and by the SEC for allegations that some former and current employees paid millions of dollars to win an IT contract with a Russian government agency. The investigations center on a 35-million-euro deal between a former HP subsidiary in Germany and the Russian General Prosecutors Office, and cover a time period beginning in 2001 and ending in 2006. The deal called for the HP subsidiary to install a new IT network at the Russian agency. The disclosure came in HP’s annual 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. German authorities have indicted four people involved in the deal, including two former and one current HP employee, on charges of bribery, breach of trust and tax evasion. In the U.S., the DOJ has been investigating the deal under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In the filing, HP also said that U.S. regulators, as well as those in Mexico and Poland, are investigating other bribery allegations relating to deals with certain public sector agencies in those countries. HP said in the filing that it is cooperating with all the agencies probing the Russian deal, and is in talks with U.S. authorities to resolve the matter. The investigations first surfaced in 2010 . It has been a tough couple of years for U.S.

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Acer Sees Senior Executive Departures

December 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Acer Inc. said Monday that three senior executives had recently left the company and some of them won’t be replaced as the embattled personal-computer maker tries to keep costs low. The management changes are the latest of Acer’s efforts to pull itself out of a major crisis as sales of tablets and smartphones eclipse those of personal computers. Read the rest of this post on the original site »

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That Giant Bitcoin Crash in the Wake of China Restrictions? It Never Happened.

December 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

When news surfaced two weeks ago of a fresh round of restrictions China was placing on businesses transacting in the bitcoin ecosystem, the value of bitcoin plummeted. The CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index, for example, showed that bitcoin traded as low as $422 around Dec. 18, when the large Chinese exchange BTC China acknowledged that it wasn’t accepting new deposits in the local currency until it could find a new payment processor that would do business with it. But a funny thing has happened since then. Bitcoin hasn’t experienced an all-out crash. Instead, its value has recovered. A lot. As of this writing, CoinDesk’s index, which takes the average of bitcoin trading values from three global exchanges (not including BTC China), pegs the value of bitcoin at about $755. That’s a 79-percent increase in a little less than two weeks. The digital currency is trading a bit lower on BTC China, which still isn’t accepting new deposits, at about $723, but its value has recovered a bunch in the last two weeks. So is bitcoin suddenly so resilient that one government’s restrictions can’t topple the whole ecosystem? Or are there artificial safeguards propping the value up

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How Can You Miss Us if We Won’t Go Away? Paczkowski and Swisher Highlights From AllThingsD.

December 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

A day late, but here’s the last installment of highlight posts from AllThingsD staffers , as we reach twilight on Dec. 31 and this site is no more. As one of my fave depressing funeral poems goes: “Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there; I do not sleep.” Actually, I don’t sleep, since I am a blogger and, as you all must realize by now, a sparkly vampire, too. Thus, like the undead, we’ll be reanimated in another form and with a new name right quick. And, not to worry, the archives of what we have written since mid-2007 will also forever remain as definitive proof that we existed, thanks to the hard workers at the NSA in its ongoing quest to suck every digital scrap it can find! But before The Wall Street Journal redirects this site’s URL to its own tech coverage, here are some stories by John Paczkowski, the very first editorial hire Walt Mossberg and I made here, as well as some choice bits by me over the years (Yahoo, Yahoo and, well , mebbe some Yahoo, too!). JOHN PACZKOWSKI 1. Who Will Buy Palm? If Not HTC, How About HP? Key lines: “With handheld sales that fell by more than half year-over-year in its first quarter, HP is surely looking for a way to revive them and capture a larger portion of the important mobile market. Acquiring Palm could be a good way to do it.” 2. Google and the Evolution of Search I: Human Evaluators Key lines: “Google had finally acknowledged that its search results were no longer solely and automatically determined by the company’s vaunted algorithms. Now they simply “relied heavily” on them.

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Twitter’s Tanking

December 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

After a wild run last week that saw them soar to an all-time high of $74.73, shares of Twitter are crashing brutally back to earth. The company’s stock tumbled more than six percent in early trading Monday, falling to $59.43. The reason? That’s not entirely clear, though perhaps investors are realizing that there’s no fundamental business change with which to rationalize last week’s run.

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What You Need to Know About Online Gift-Card Exchanges

December 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Chances are you received at least one gift card this week. According to the National Retail Federation, gift-card spending this holiday season was expected to reach an all-time high. Eighty percent of consumers said they planned to buy these oh-so-personal pieces of plastic. But, as we all know, gift cards often go unspent — or half-spent, with a nominal balance left on them for all of retail eternity. So if you’d rather turn them in for cash or another brand-name gift card, this column might help you out. What follows are some possible questions about how online gift-card exchanges work.

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Bringing Inexpensive Mobile Access to Researchers in Antarctica

December 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

While cellphone networks have managed to cover large swaths of the six most-populated continents, making a call from Antarctica isn’t so easy. Now, though, researchers in parts of Antarctica have a mobile communication option that goes beyond pricey satellite phones. A new system from Range Networks allows researchers to use ordinary cellphones to connect with one another, and even to the rest of the world, thanks to a satellite connection located at the base station. The system replaces what essentially were walkie-talkies that were used by researchers when away from their desks. And, unlike a satellite-only approach, the Range Networks system keeps the researchers connected to one another, regardless of whether there is a satellite signal. “If there is any loss of connectivity to the outside world, the group can still talk to one another,” said Jacob Winkler, who heads sales and business development for Range Networks. The system, which can handle 400 mobile phones (along with 800 desktop-based IP phones), is also designed to handle data traffic from various sensors. While Antarctica presents some unique challenges, Range Networks is using basically the same approach it has gone with to connect other remote corners of the globe, including Oaxaca, Mexico; Papua, Indonesia; and parts of southern Zambia. Among the hallmarks of the Range Networks approach is its use of off-the-shelf GSM cellphones and the open-source software known as OpenBTS that runs on its base stations. The Antarctic project began roughly a year ago on Macquarie Island, with plans now in place to expand to the Antarctic mainland as well as to those aboard a steel-hulled research vessel.

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LG to Unveil webOS-Powered TV

December 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc. will soon take the veils off a television model that will run on the webOS operating system, highlighting its ambition of creating a prominent operating system for so-called smart TVs. LG bought webOS, a mobile-device operating system, from Hewlett-Packard Co. earlier this year. The operating system was originally developed by Palm Inc. to power smartphones that would compete with the likes of Apple Inc.’s iPhones. H-P acquired Palm in 2010 and used webOS to power a tablet and its smartphone models. But the system failed to gain traction with the developers who write apps for devices and the devices didn’t sell well. Read the rest of this post on the original site »

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Viral Video: Even Jerry Seinfeld Has a Drone. What’s With That?

December 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Here’s the the trailer for the third season of Jerry Seinfield’s utterly indulgent yet completely entertaining Web show on Crackle, called “ Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee .” There are a bunch of great comics and also an inexplicable drone, which seems to be taking pictures of the various cool cars that the comic employs in the show. It works for me:

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