Posts Tagged ‘phone’

Media Device Stores and Shares Well With Others

August 27, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

[ See post to watch video ] Plenty of people are digital pack rats and proud of it. And why not? With seemingly unlimited remote storage options available free of charge or for a small monthly fee, they can store their digital photos, videos, music and other files in the cloud without worrying about running out of room. Personal devices are a different story. Smartphones and tablets with limited amounts of storage can quickly fill up with apps, photos and videos, forcing users to delete content on a regular basis. This week, I tested a gadget that may relieve some of that local storage burden and could serve as a media-sharing godsend on a long car trip: SanDisk’s $100 Connect Wireless Media Device. This 2.5-ounce gadget measures about the size of a pad of Post-it Notes and holds 64 gigabytes of photos, videos, music or other files. And here’s where it could come in handy in the car: The SanDisk can be accessed by up to eight devices simultaneously, with five of them streaming high-definition video from it at the same time. It’s on back order until next week from SanDisk.com and Amazon. A 32-gigabyte version is available for $80 for people who can’t wait.

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Better Late Than Never? Ballmer Product Pipeline Shows a Very Mixed Record for Microsoft.

August 24, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Larger-than-life CEO Steve Ballmer will be remembered for a lot of things during his 13-year tenure at Microsoft, but what about the actual products he oversaw? Overall, it is a very mixed bag, with Microsoft late on every major game-changer of Ballmer’s time in office, while rivals like Apple and Google surged ahead. That includes in MP3 players, multi-touch smartphones, multi-touch tablets, search, smart assistants and wireless beaming of video. Better late than never? Not so much. To get an idea of that, here’s a timeline of notable moments in Microsoft’s product history since 2000 and how they fared: Windows 2000 : Microsoft celebrates its 25th anniversary and releases the Windows 2000 operating system the same year Ballmer is promoted to CEO. Microsoft continues to upgrade and support Windows 2000 until July of 2010, during which time multiple vulnerabilities in the system were exposed. Pocket PC 2000 : Microsoft announced the Pocket PC 2000, the company’s first step in the personal digital assistant market. Two years later, the Pocket PC 2002 is released. Some of these Pocket PCs are sold as “phone editions,” meaning they can make cellular calls. Five years later, Microsoft phases out the Pocket PC and Smartphone brands in favor of the more overarching Windows Mobile brand. Windows XP : Touted as the “biggest release since Windows 95,” Microsoft releases the Windows XP operating system in October 2001 with variations of the system for both home and business users. “It features login screens for home and corporate systems alike — something many Windows 95/98 users have never seen,” CNET wrote at the time

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With Shine, Misfit Says It Has Made a Wearable You’ll Actually Want to Wear

August 6, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

This week, a small, round, metal device will go on sale in the Apple Store. It has little lights on it. You snap it into a wristband or necklace, or on your shoe or belt. When you tap it, some of the lights will glow, relaying information to you. In a previous generation of tech, this token-like gadget, called the Shine, might go unnoticed on store shelves. It might be brushed off as jewelry, which, actually, is what it’s supposed to look like. But in the age of the “quantified self,” we wear our tech and crunch our own, personalized versions of big data. Instead of just using technology for productivity, or for communication, we are gazing ever more deeply at our our own navels, and analyzing the heck out of how active they’ve been today. The Misfit Shine joins at least three other wearable products on Apple Store shelves, including the Jawbone Up, the Nike+ FuelBand and various versions of the Fitbit. Like the Fitbit Flex, the Shine will retail for $100. In many ways, the Shine works much same way the others do: It has a tri-axis accelerometer. It records your activity data throughout the day and syncs wirelessly to an app on the iPhone. The app tells you to place the body of the Shine against your iPhone screen to sync the data. This borders on hokey; in my limited experience with the Shine, a tap on the phone’s screen will perform the same function. But the Shine, in addition to boasting a prominent co-founder (former Apple CEO John Sculley), a successful crowdfunding campaign, and more than $8 million raised from Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund and Vinod Khosla’s Khosla Ventures, has a few features that might catch consumers’ eyes, or necks, or wrists. First, its design: The wristband — watch? — is all metal, made of a matte-aluminum material that’s both elegant and utilitarian. “Our main goal is wearability,” co-founder Sonny Vu said in an interview earlier this year with AllThingsD . “We have to make wearable technology wearable. Right now, it’s a lot of plastic out there

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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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