Posts Tagged ‘phone’

As Q2 Earnings Approaches, the Street Stays Bullish on Facebook’s Mobile Prospects

July 24, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Facebook’s S-1 filing in early 2012 came with a rude awakening we’re all quite familiar with by now; the world is going mobile, and Facebook’s ad business needed to adapt fast in order to keep up with it. Now, as Facebook prepares to report its second-quarter earnings this afternoon, something has shifted: Wall Street is actually optimistic at Facebook’s mobile monetization prospects. The Street’s consensus calls for earnings per share of 14 cents on revenues of $1.62 billion, an estimate up from the EPS of 12 cents on revenue of $1.18 billion reported during Q2 of last year. “While quarterly results at FB will likely remain volatile, we remain bullish on the direction and growth trajectory of the company,” Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia wrote in a research note this week. The biggest boon for some? The trending surge in Facebook’s mobile revenue figures seen in recent quarters. Mobile revenue accounted for nearly 30 percent of Facebook’s ad business in the first quarter of this year, which was already a jump up from 23 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. That’s expected by some analysts to grow, albeit slightly, to a daily run rate of nearly $5 million on mobile ads alone. Facebook has made it clear that at least one of its more recent ad products — mobile app installation ads — has been quite successful in driving growth, and J.P. Morgan’s Doug Anmuth expects that to continue. “We remain bullish as we believe ad dollars are increasingly shifting to online, mobile, and social and we expect Facebook to capture a growing portion of ad budgets going forward,” Anmuth wrote in a research note. The big unknowns are the usuals that we’ll be looking for. Will the company break out any metrics beyond its usual stats on daily and monthly active users? That may be something to watch for, given Facebook’s increasing competition for mindshare from other mobile-based sites like Snapchat, WhatsApp and International competitors like Line and KakaoTalk. Perhaps Facebook will detail some engagement-based stats that could rebut the chatter that the social giant is losing its cool with younger audiences . Another wild card: The oft-speculated eventual appearance of auto-play video ads in the News Feed.

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U.S. Government Gets Approval to Keep Tracking Phone Records

July 19, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Well, at least this time they are telling everyone their phone records are being collected. The U.S. government said Friday that the secret foreign intelligence court has renewed its authorization to collect data over a wide range of phone calls. In June, the government confirmed that it had been collecting such records and declassified some information about the types of records that it had been collecting. Authorization for such collection was set to expire on July 19, but has now been reauthorized, according to a press release issued on Friday by the office of the Director of National Intelligence. “Consistent with his prior declassification decision and in light of the significant and continuing public interest in the telephony metadata collection program, the DNI has decided to declassify and disclose publicly that the Government filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking renewal of the authority to collect telephony metadata in bulk, and that the Court renewed that authority,” the agency said. “The Administration is undertaking a careful and thorough review of whether and to what extent additional information or documents pertaining to this program may be declassified, consistent with the protection of national security.” The decision comes at a particularly sensitive time for the court, just a month after former CIA employee and whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed details on a number of classified government data collection programs, much of which involved a number of major consumer technology companies.

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Time for More Superphone Talk from Larry Page – And Google Earnings, Too

July 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Will Google beat its Q2 earnings projections today? If it does, will its share price, which already hit record levels this week, cross the $1,000 mark? [Shrug]. If I knew any of that, do you think I’d be sitting here typing this stuff?* Here’s a reasonable bet, though: Larry Page will talk about about the new Moto X super phone his Motorola unit getting ready to unveil . And he will talk up its battery life, and its ability to withstand drops from great heights. Because that’s what the Google CEO has done during his last two earnings calls. Here’s Page, talking about Motorola, via his scripted remarks from the Q4 call in January: “I am excited about the business. In today’s multi screen world, the opportunities are endless.

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HTC Hoping to Make Another Big Impression With One Mini

July 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

For HTC, a company that has struggled to keep up in the competitive smartphone market, the launch of its One handset was a biggie. But for its next product launch, the company is going small — literally. Today, the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer introduced the HTC One Mini, a scaled down and more affordable version of its flagship device. Launching in August or September, the One Mini keeps to the same design aesthetics as the HTC One — aluminum chassis and dual speakers — but features a smaller 4.3-inch 720p HD touchscreen and a 1.4GHz dual-core processor. (The One has a 4.7-inch 1080p HD touchscreen and a 1.7GHz quad-core processor.) It also lacks the infrared feature that allows you to use the smartphone as a remote control, and has a smaller battery than the original HTC One. These modifications aside, the One Mini keeps many of the same features as its bigger brother, including HTC’s Ultrapixel camera technology and software and BlinkFeed, an interface that lets you view all your social network updates and news right on your home page

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AT&T’s “Next” Plan Offers A New Smartphone Every 12 Months, With Some Strings

July 16, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Rather than “rethinking possible,” AT&T is rethinking its plans, as it becomes the latest wireless carrier to offer customers the option to upgrade their phones more frequently. Starting July 26, AT&T will offer new “Next” plans for smartphones and tablets, on a post-paid basis. The plan allows customers to trade in their devices (feature phones excluded) every 12 months, provided the customer pays a monthly installment fee based on a 20-month cycle. So, you would take the full retail price of a smartphone or tablet, divide it by 20 and add that cost to your monthly traditional or family-share AT&T plan. Twelve months later, you trade in that device for a new one, and a new cycle begins. Unlike with T-Mobile’s plans, Next owners still owe the cost of the remaining months’ fees. On the flip side, AT&T’s plans don’t require an extra fee, while T-Mobile’s Jump option costs $10 a month. But trying to make sense of these plans in abstract is hard, so here’s an example of AT&T’s Next plan using Apple’s iPhone 5. The unsubsidized price of the phone would be $650. If you divide that by 20 months, you get $32.50. You’d pay that amount on top of your regular wireless calling and data plan. Provided that the device is still in “good working order” when you turn it in — no cracked screens or waterlogged components — you can begin a new cycle with a new device. If you turn it in damaged, your trade-in value will take a hit. AT&T’s Next plan comes right on the heels of T-Mobile’s announcement last week, a program called Jump in which customers could upgrade to new phones every six months for a $10 monthly fee on top of their existing “un-plan” plan. (It should be noted that AT&T sent out a teaser for this event prior to the T-Mobile event last week — so it’s hard to say which company actually set the plan in motion first. But, yes, AT&T’s announcement chronologically follows T-Mobile’s.) My colleague here at AllThingsD , Ina Fried, did an excellent story on how the economics of T-Mobile’s program works . AT&T insists it’s offering an even sweeter deal for consumers than T-Mobile is, based on the fact that it does not require an activation fee or a down payment on devices, and that the Next plan applies to tablets, not just smartphones. T-Mobile would surely point out that it has taken the cost of a device out of its rate plans, while AT&T’s existing plans are designed to swallow the cost of a new phone every two years. For AT&T, the benefit lies mostly in the company’s ability to keep customers in a cycle with the carrier, according to Chief Marketing Officer David Christopher. “[The plan] keeps customers in the latest technology, keeps them buying new phones, using our network as it advances — basically, it has a churn benefit,” he said in an interview with AllThingsD .

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Digital Detox

July 10, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Why won’t life slow down and be still? Why can’t I figure it all out? And also my phone is making noises while I’m trying to think. [ -- Alexis C. Madrigal, at a digital detox ]

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Plane Crash in San Francisco in Real Time, Via Samsung Exec David Eun on Board

July 6, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Earlier today, an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 coming from Seoul crash-landed at San Francisco’s international airport. Immediately, tweets and also photographs from the scene started popping up on Twitter and other social networks, many showing billowing smoke from the fuselage. Perhaps most dramatic have been the posts by Samsung exec David Eun, who was actually on the flight and who quickly posted about the accident on Path. His post also appeared on Twitter. He noted that he was not hurt in the crash, although reports seems to indicate that others were. I just crash landed at SFO. Tail ripped off. Most everyone seems fine. I'm ok. Surreal… (at @flySFO ) [pic] — https://t.co/E6Ur1XEfa4 — David Eun (@Eunner) July 6, 2013 Eun, who is the South Korean electronics giant’s exec in Silicon Valley, is a well known tech player, having worked at AOL and Google over the years. He also seems to have nerves of steel, continuing to post updates about the situation. “Fire and rescue people all over the place.

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After Spat Over Apps and Privacy, Bitdefender and Airpush (Mostly) Hug It Out

June 28, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock.com You have a lot of personal information on your phone, and widespread mobile Internet access has given rise to a security industry that tries to warn against privacy-invading software via installable apps. So, it was with great interest that I opened a recent email from one of those mobile security companies, Bitdefender, with the subject line “New Android app tells which apps spy on you.” After some back and forth, I acquired a list of Google Play games that one of Bitdefender’s apps, Clueful, claimed were “high risk.” What did “high risk” mean? To Clueful, apps put users at risk when they leak information like email addresses or phone numbers, and insert advertisements into the push notification bar or Android home screen. And all five of the games it red-flagged had one thing in common: The ad network Airpush. As you might expect, Airpush had a thing or two to say about that. Several Airpush and Bitdefender execs talked earlier this week, and (sorry, drama fans) appear to be on happy, even cooperative, terms after the fact. Airpush’s marketing VP, Cameron Peebles, said their discussions were “so productive that we are going to continue to work together” on public awareness campaigns about ads and privacy. So, what happened? According to sources at both companies, an older version of Airpush’s SDK did not include the option to opt out of a feature that would pass users’ email addresses and phone numbers to an advertiser’s landing page when they tapped on an ad. Clueful saw this behavior and reported it as “leaking” that info, but Airpush insisted the info was never stored on its servers. It only left the device when users chose to submit a registration form to the advertisers. In any case, that feature was only used by “less than half a percent” of advertisers, Airpush CEO Asher Delug said. Although some apps with the old SDK — the ones Clueful caught — are still in the wild, the email/phone-sending feature has also been “deprovisioned on the advertiser side,” Delug added. On Bitdefender’s side, the fact that Airpush’s newer SDKs provide the choice of opting in or opting out of any data collection seems to have satisfied its security team. With dozens of other ad networks out there, Chief Security Researcher Catalin Cosoi said, Bitdefender will be focusing more on how much choice consumers are given about data collection. Cosoi said the fact that all five of the high-risk apps were on the Airpush network was a coincidence. That said, Clueful will continue to label some Airpush-using apps as “high risk” if they use that old SDK or if they tap into some of the still-currently-offered Airpush advertising features. Ads that appear in push notifications or the home screen are still a problem, as far as Bitdefender is concerned. Delug said those sorts of ads are still okay because it’s possible for users to permanently opt out of them, and they are popular among Airpush’s clients.

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Apps for Kids Are Data Magnets; FTC Rules to Kick In

June 28, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

While 7-year-old Eros ViDemantay played with a kid’s app on his father’s phone, tracing an elephant, behind the scenes a startup company backed by Google Inc. was collecting information from the device — including its email address and a list of other apps installed on his phone. “My jaw dropped,” says Lee ViDemantay, Eros’s father and a fifth-grade teacher at the Los Angeles Unified School District. “Why do they need to know all that?” The app, called How to Draw — Easy Lessons, also sent two of the phone’s main ID numbers. Read the rest of this post on the original site »

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The Apple iBooks Origin Story

June 14, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

How’s this for irony: Steve Jobs was initially opposed to entering the e-book market over which Apple is now sparring with the U.S. Department of Justice in a Manhattan federal court. Testifying in the DOJ’s e-book price-fixing case Thursday, Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services, said that when he first approached Jobs with the idea of a bookstore in the fall of 2009, the Apple co-founder dismissed it. “He wasn’t interested,” Cue said. “Steve never felt that the Mac or the iPhone were ideal reading devices. In the case of the phone, the screen was smaller, and in the case of the Mac, you had this keyboard and device, and it didn’t feel like a book.” But as Apple began ramping up for the launch of the iPad, Cue broached the idea again, and Jobs had a change of heart

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