Thursday, August 28, 2014

Apple announces Sept. 9 event for expected 'iPhone 6' & 'iWatch'

Apple on Thursday confirmed that it will hold a media event on Sept. 9, with a teaser sent to members of the media showcasing the date and a teasing tagline that reads: "Wish we could say more."

In a change from years past, Apple's 2014 September event will be held at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, Calif. Apple typically holds its annual iPhone event at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, but this year's venue is closer to the company's corporate headquarters and can also accommodate three times as many people.

The Tuesday event will begin at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern. AppleInsider will be there with full, live coverage.

In addition to the "iPhone 6," Apple is also expected to unveil a brand new wearable device at this year's event. The hardware is rumored to be a wrist-worn accessory that has come to be known as the "iWatch."
Word of the anticipated inclusion of the "iWatch" at the event leaked this week and is somewhat of a surprise, as it was originally expected that the device would be unveiled later this year. The Sept. 9 event date was first reported by Re/code earlier this month.

Unsurprising, however, is the likely unveiling of the "iPhone 6," as the event will come almost exactly one year after the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c were revealed. This year's iPhone upgrade is rumored to come in two screen sizes of 4.7 and 5.5 inches with a faster next-generation "A8" processor.
 If Apple follows its usual release schedule, the new iPhone would find its way into the hands of consumers starting the following Friday, Sept. 19. With a plethora of parts leaks surfacing in recent weeks, particularly for the purported 4.7-inch model, it's believed that Apple is already ramping up production of the "iPhone 6."

Less certain, however, is when the "iWatch" might become available. As of yet, there have been no parts leaked for the expected wearable accessory, and rumored details about the device's design have been inconsistent on everything from shape to screen size.

It's also likely that iOS 8, Apple's next-generation operating system, will launch to the public not long after the Sept. 9 event. If the company follows the same pattern as last year, iOS 8 would become available to the public on Wednesday, Sept. 17.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

California’s Embrace of Anti-Theft Technology in Smartphones Puts a Squeeze on Thieves

It will soon get a lot harder for smartphone thieves to sell stolen iPhones, Samsung Galaxy phones and Windows phones on the black market.
A bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown of California on Monday will require that all smartphones sold in the state after July 2015 include a so-called kill switch, which lets an owner remotely deactivate a phone after it has been stolen.

If the history of security technology is any indication, the kill switch could have a significant impact on phone theft. The introduction of sophisticated mechanisms, like GPS tracking and engine immobilizer systems that make it nearly impossible to start a car without its ignition key, for example, has led to a steady decline in car theft in the United States.

The F.B.I. reported a 3.2 percent decrease in motor vehicle thefts in the first half of 2013 compared with the first half of 2012. In 2009, car theft dropped nearly 17 percent from the year before. And in New York City, auto theft has gone out of fashion. Last year, the city recorded 7,400 reported auto thefts. In 1990, 147,000 autos were stolen.

Other factors may also contribute to a drop in auto theft, but few disagree that anti-theft tools have played a role.

Some figures also suggest that home burglaries dropped after home security systems became more widely adopted. A study by the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice found a link between a decrease in home burglaries in Newark between 2001 and 2005 and an increase in the number of homes installing burglar alarms.

Police say the kill switch should make it more difficult for criminals to resell stolen smartphones, their typical aim. Organized gangs with technical know-how often snatch phones from victims, wipe existing data, and resell the phones online or even in flea markets.

The kill switch is a strong disincentive to that illicit business. Once it is triggered, the only way a phone can be reactivated is with a correct password or personal identification number.

There is already some indication that the switch is effective. Cellphone theft appears to be dropping after the introduction of a kill switch from Apple for its iPhone, the best-selling smartphone in the country. Apple’s iPhone has offered kill switch technology since September, and law enforcement statistics for several major cities show a significant decline in thefts of devices after the introduction of the anti-theft feature.

Comparing data in the six months before and after Apple released its anti-theft feature, police said iPhone thefts in San Francisco dropped 38 percent, and in London, they fell 24 percent.

That is a big shift from previous trends. About 3.1 million devices were stolen in the United States in 2013, nearly double the 1.6 million stolen in 2012, according to Consumer Reports.

Unlike laws already on the books in some other states, the California measure requires the kill switch to activate automatically as soon as a phone is turned on. Retailers who sell phones that do not comply with the law will be subject to fines of as much as $2,500 a sale.

Though the new law applies only to California, it will probably push the handset makers to install the tool on all their new smartphones. Samsung has already added a kill switch to the newest version of its top-selling Galaxy S phone and is expected to add it to others in the coming months.

George Gasc√≥n, San Francisco’s district attorney, has urged cellphone businesses for years to help fight theft with smarter technology to thwart criminals. But only recently did many of the industry’s biggest players, including AT&T, Google and Microsoft, say they supported the idea, amid talk of a bill that would require the feature in smartphones by law.

Google is adding a kill switch to the next version of its Android smartphone operating system — used by many phone makers — and Microsoft said it would do something similar with its Windows Phone software.

Jan Dawson, an independent telecom analyst for Jackdaw Research, said it would have been better if the phone makers had come up with a voluntary solution sooner to the theft problem. But since most of them dragged their heels, it should not be a surprise that lawmakers acted.

“The phone makers, to some extent, only have themselves to blame,” he said. “Phones have long been one of the most-stolen items out there, and a kill switch should make theft much less common."

Critics of the anti-theft law, including CTIA, a trade group that represents the wireless industry, have raised several concerns, among them that the kill switch solution could create more security risks. The association noted that hackers could potentially hijack smartphones and disable them for customers, including the phones used by officials in the Defense Department and in law enforcement.

Those concerns, said Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer of Lookout, a mobile security company, are “extremely valid.” But, he said, the kill switch solution so far, at least the one that Apple offers, is a safe and effective tool to stop casual thieves.

He added that he was optimistic that the phone companies would also strengthen their own anti-theft tools over the next few years.

“We do think that all these technologies coming together can really put a big dent in the phone theft problem,” he said.

Intel Launches Tiny 3G Modem for IoT Devices

The "world's smallest standalone 3G modem" is part of Intel's increasing investment in the market for connected home appliances and wearables.

Intel on Tuesday launched what it's calling the "world's smallest standalone 3G modem" as part of its increasing investment in the Internet of Things (IoT) market for connected home appliances, industrial systems, and wearable technology.

The new XMM 6255 chipset is just 300 mm squared in size and leverages Intel's new Power Transceiver technology, a design which represents the "industry's first design to combine transmit and receive functionality with a fully integrated power amplifier and power management, all on a single chip," according to the company.

Intel is positioning the XMM 6255 for consumer products like wearables, as well as for various sensors and meters that are being built into connected industrial equipment and home appliances as the IoT market expands.

And the chip giant is especially bullish on IOT prospects going forward, citing recent research that projects explosive market growth for connected products in areas ranging from consumer wearables to security devices to in-vehicle systems, to the tune of literally billions of new devices being sold in the next five years.

"Today, we commercially launched the XMM 6255 to provide a wireless solution for the billions of 'smart' and connected devices that are expected in the coming years," Intel said in a blog post.
The company is strongly pushing its new modem as a solution for smaller devices like smartwatches.
"Devices with a small form factor like a smartwatch or a sensor may not have enough space for a normal-sized 3G antenna, which can affect connectivity quality and reliability," Intel said. "The XMM 6255 modem is specially designed for such devices and delivers great 3G connectivity even with small volume antennas not meeting conventional mobile phone quality standards."

The XMM 6255 modem incorporates Intel's new SMARTI UE2p radio frequency (RF) transceiver layered onto a 3G power amplifier that delivers up to 7.2 Mbps download speeds and 5.6 Mbps upload speeds, Intel said. The modem is included in the u-blox SARA-U2 Module Intel is now making available to partners, which includes the X-Gold 624 baseband processor, a memory chip, and an isoplexer for antennas in a package that is narrower than a penny.

Intel has baked some power management features into the SARA-U2 Module, including a PA DCDC converter and direct-to-battery power, the company said. The result is "a smaller modem that helps manufacturers minimize their build of material costs" while also protecting "the radio from overheating, voltage peaks, and damage under tough usage conditions, which is important for safety monitors and other critical IoT devices."
The XMM 6255 provides some nice benefits in less-than-optimal conditions, according to Intel. For example, the modem can provide "reliable communication" in low-signal zones—think a parking garage or the basement of a home.

Monday, August 25, 2014

LG to put 'the first 4K OLED TVs' on sale in September

LG has announced plans to sell televisions that incorporate both 4K ultra-high definition resolutions and OLED panels.

The firm said a curved 65in (165cm) set would go on sale in Europe, South Korea and North America in September.

It calls the move a "first" since other firms sell models that offer either one or the other technology, but not both.

But while LG described it as a "game changer", one expert said the move "did not make economic sense".

Sony and Panasonic showed off their own prototype 4K OLED (organic light-emitting diode) sets at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in 2013, but have opted not to put them into production.

The two companies offer 4K sets based on synthetic LED tech instead.

The difference is that OLED makes use of a carbon-based compound that emits light when struck by an electric current.

This allows TVs to do away with a backlight, meaning that pixels can offer deeper blacks when they are not in use, allowing manufacturers to boast improved contrast ratios - similar to what used to be available via plasma screens before they were discontinued.

Samsung - the world's bestselling TV maker - did release two of its own OLED sets in 2013, but they both had 1080p resolution, offering about four times less definition than 4K. Its website says both are "no longer available".

Samsung does, however, offer a wide range of 4K models using synthetic LED panels.

In January, Samsung's visual display division chief, HS Kim, told USA Today that it was proving difficult to manufacture OLED TVs, which in turn was making them too expensive for the vast majority of consumers. He added that this was unlikely to change for "three to four years".
LG's forthcoming set will cost 12m won ($11,765; £7,095), which is about two to three times the price of existing 4K LED sets of a similar size.

That may limit its appeal, but the firm is focusing on what the launch represents, calling 4K OLED "a new paradigm".

"OLED TVs are expected to overtake LCD [Liquid Crystal Display] in sales within a few years and no company is better prepared for this than LG," added Hyun-hwoi Ha, president of the company's home entertainment division.

'Lack of content'
One industry watcher agreed that LG's should offer best-in-class quality.

"OLED technology delivers the most vibrant and natural on-screen display that can be currently done with available technology," said Chris Green, principal technology analyst at the Davies Murphy Group consultancy.

"Combine that with 4K - which takes us to a new level of definition and sharpness - and you suddenly have a television that is pretty much like looking out of the window."

However, he added that the lack of 4K content coupled with the new set's price would prove a major deterrent.

"There's a lack of a compelling reason for you to go out to buy one tomorrow," Mr Green said.

"And in most of the world the broadband isn't there to deliver a 4K stream to many people's TVs.

"Other firms aren't going to want to commit to tooling up a line to build a TV that they're not going to be able to shift in enough volume to make viable."

While the BBC and Sky Sports have internally tested 4K broadcasts, neither is ready to announce a date the facility will be extended to the public.

Sony does sell a 4K media player - which downloads films from the internet - but it has only been released in the US and requires a Sony TV.

Samsung sells a hard drive loaded with five 4K movies and three documentaries, but this costs $300.

Netflix offers a limited amount of ultra-high definition TV shows- including House of Cards and Breaking Bad - but notes that the service depends on subscribers having access to a 15 megabits per second internet connection.

Otherwise, 4K content is currently limited to downloading clips via YouTube and Vimeo or playing back material shot on high-end smartphones, digital cameras and camcorders.

LG has also announced plans to release a 77in (196cm) 4K OLED model at an unspecified date.

It added that it would show the new sets off at the IFA tech show in Berlin next week.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Microsoft to Reveal Windows 9 on September 30

Microsoft's follow-up to Windows 8 could make its debut as early as next month, according to reports.
The Verge, citing unnamed sources familiar with Microsoft's plans, reported today that the software giant is gearing up to unveil the updated operating system at a special press event tentatively scheduled for Sept. 30. That information corroborates a recent ZDNet report from veteran Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley claiming that Microsoft is planning to preview a new version of Windows by late September or early October.

Previous rumors indicated that the OS - codenamed Threshold but likely to be named Windows 9 - was being developed as part of Redmond's "One Windows" strategy and slated for release in the first half of 2015.

For its part, Microsoft is keeping tight-lipped on the matter. The company has not made any public statements about the next version of Windows. When contacted by PCMag on Thursday, a Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment on the reports, saying "We have nothing to share."

Meanwhile, recent rumors indicate that the successor to Windows 8 will reintroduce the Start menu and further chip away at differences between Redmond's flagship PC platform and the software running the Xbox One and Windows phones. Other rumored changes include: Metro-Style applications on the desktop, virtual desktop functionality, and Cortana integration, according to ZDNet.

For more, check out PCMag's review of Microsoft Windows 8.1 Update.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

HTC One Now Comes in a Windows Phone Version

HTC has just announced a Windows Phone version of its flagship smartphone, the One.
The HTC One for Windows is new in terms of platform only: It’s a spitting image of the beautiful brushed-aluminum HTC One Android phone released earlier this year. The Windows Phone version is only available on Verizon, and the price looks good: It’ll be $100 with a two-year contract.

Like the Android version, it’s being referred to as the M8, a nickname given to the 2014 model of the HTC One to avoid confusion with older models. So while it’s an old face, it’s still one of the nicest pieces of Windows mobile hardware we’ve seen to date—camera notwithstanding, of course (the high-end Nokias have it beat in that regard).

The Windows Phone version of the One has the same crisp 5-inch, 441 pixel-per-inch, 1080p display, the same zippy Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core SoC, the same MicroSD expansion slot, the same better-than-most stereo speakers, and the same 2600mAh battery. All of these are good things. 

Unfortunately, the Windows Phone version of the M8 also has the same camera as the Android M8. It’s nowhere near as good as the superb 41-megapixel shooter in the Nokia Lumia 1020, which still holds the camera crown in the Windows Phone world. While the spec sheets for both versions of the HTC One are nearly identical, I was able to find one difference: The Windows Phone version doesn’t appear to have a barometer sensor, unlike the Android M8. So if that makes a difference to you, be wary.

Otherwise, be excited. Windows Phone now has a proven, refined flagship phone that, unless you’re a discerning mobile photographer, many would say the platform has been lacking.

Top 10 New Car Technology Blunders

We’ve come a long way from the seat-belt-interlock system of 1974. That system required every occupied seat to have the belt fastened before a car would start, and as you can guess this short-lived example of safety technology was an overbearing intrusion consumers didn’t like. As a former 1974 Pontiac Firebird owner I can confirm how annoying this particular “safety enhancement” was every time I had to move the car a short distance on the driveway or in a parking lot. Forty years later the level of automotive technology inhabiting today’s cars is far more sophisticated, with no such annoyances to be found, right? Right?
Sadly, no. Four decades of quantum leaps in automotive technology have not always been accompanied by similar leaps in wisdom regarding the use of said technology. In fact, today’s cars pay testament to Scotty’s famous quote in Star Trek III: “The more they overthink the plumbing the easier it is to stop up the drain.”

Don’t get me wrong, technology has put the overall performance and safety level of modern cars in a place few would have believed in 1974. It’s also introduced plenty of 21st Century versions of the seat-belt-interlock system, with all their associated annoyances. Here are my Top 10 New Car Technology Blunders for 2014.

1. Fake Exhaust Noise: Modern carmakers work hard to create the right exhaust note. Some brands have been doing it for decades, but today every performance car sounds amazing…including the BMWs that use speakers instead of explosions to power their exhaust roar. They do this because modern cabin insulation effectively blocks engine noise and/or because the vehicle in question (in this case the 3-cylinder i8) doesn’t have an engine capable of producing a powerful exhaust note. Routing an engine’s actual exhaust note through different baffles is an alternative many automakers use to solve the problem, which is fine. But creating exhaust noise from scratch and enhancing it with the car’s audio system is technology at its worst.

2. Idiotic Idiot Lights: A friend of mine recently took his 2013 Ford Escape on a road trip. It performed flawlessly on the 2000-mile drive from Denver to Florida, but as he rolled into his destination every warning light on the dashboard — ABS, Traction Control, Airbag — lit up. A message stating “hill climb assist not available” also came up. After thinking the drivetrain might have fallen out he took the car to a local Ford dealer. The problem? A faulty airbag wiring harness. Did that issue really require half-a-dozen warning lights? Our cars are supposed to be smarter than ever, with diagnostic ports that tell mechanics exactly what’s wrong. Why can’t they tell us, too, with a simple (and accurate) message in the display screen?

3. Virtual Buttons for Critical Functions: Today’s ubiquitous touchscreen displays let automakers clean up the dashboard control interface. With so many features that didn’t exist 20 years ago (stability control, sport modes, dual-zone climate control, hands-free phone operation, navigation, etc.) a touchscreen can literally replace dozens of hard buttons that would otherwise clutter the cabin. That’s fine, but when Tesla’s Model S makes basic functions, like the rear hatch release and charge port access, dependent on these digital buttons it sets up a potential nightmare if (when?) the display screen fails. Note to automakers: virtual buttons are cool, but dedicated hard buttons should be used for critical functions.

4. Electric-Powered Doors: Like touchscreen buttons, automakers have begun using electronic relays to replace the mechanical door release in cars like the Chevrolet Corvette. As with most high-tech features, this system usually works fine, popping the door open at the touch of a button. But — what happens when the battery dies and the car loses all electrical power? Thankfully, automakers are required to offer mechanical alternatives for these occasions, though the process can be far more involved and far less intuitive than pushing a button. Imagine you’re in an accident that damages the electrical system while also starting a fire. Recalling the mechanical door release process might not be top of mind at that moment.

5. Misplaced Keyless Start: The idea of not having to twist a key, or even touch a key, when starting or shutting off your car sounds great. Now imagine you’ve driven to the airport with your significant other, who proceeds to get out of the car and onto a plane bound for the other side of the globe. Only after you’re halfway home do you realize the car key is in your partner’s pocket. These systems are supposed to have sensors that warn you when the key isn’t in the cabin. And more than a decade after this technology was introduced the majority of cars I test still make the airport scenario plausible. Automakers need to make these systems fool-proof, which means accurate sensors that immediately identify when the key isn’t present.

6. Idle Stop — and Shimmy: Hybrid vehicles have featured idle-stop technology for years to save fuel and reduce emissions when stationary. Soon every car will follow as automakers work to meet rising EPA standards. While the theory makes perfect sense the reality can be fatiguing. Starting most cars causes a lot of noise and vibration. Doing it 30 times during a relatively short trip will make your commute feel twice as long. I was in a diesel Mercedes-Benz E-Class in England last month, and it felt like a paint mixer every time the engine fired up, which was several times a minute in city driving. Automakers must reduce the noise and vibration associated with starting a car if they expect this technology to be widely embraced.

7. No More Manuals: Today’s automatics are now absolutely, positively, and without a doubt better than a traditional stick shift, which is why you can no longer get a modern Ferrari or Porsche GT3 with three pedals. Of course, a Toyota Camry is a more cost-efficient way to move people around compared to any sports car, so let’s just stop making Ferraris and Porsches altogether, right? Look, I’m a huge fan of modern, dual-clutch transmissions. I have no desire to deal with a third pedal as a Southern California resident. And I still think it’s criminal for an increasing number of modern exotic sports cars to not even offer a manual transmission option. And don’t give me the cost argument. When a car’s price crosses six figures there’s adequate profit margin for manual transmission R&D, even if only a sliver of buyers ever chooses it. For shame guy.

8. Restricted Access to Features: Distracted driving is a serious issue car companies must address. They also need to leverage existing technology in obvious, no-brainer ways to maximize feature access when it’s safe. Yes, as a driver I shouldn’t have full access to navigation and phone features when the car is moving. But my passenger should. Is it really that difficult to use the airbag and seatbelt sensors in every modern vehicle to allow my wife to program a street address while I’m driving? Forcing me to pull over and stop in this circumstance might present its own set of dangers, depending on my location. At the very least it’s hugely frustrating to have a passenger ready and willing to safely use these systems when the car won’t let them.

9. Dumb Display Screens: Back-up cameras are common today, and by 2018 they will be required by law on every vehicle sold in the U.S. This is a good example of technology making cars safer, particularly for young children who are often the victims of low-speed accidents when a car backs up. The problem is the implementation of the camera’s view, which takes over the central display whenever a car is put in reverse — at the exclusion of all other functions. Need to turn the blasting heater fan off? Is someone calling and you want to answer? If your car has a back-up camera and is in reverse you can’t do either, or anything else controlled through the screen. These displays need to get smarter about combining functions when it makes sense.

10. Reduced Car Control: Have you ever turned the steering wheel rapidly to avoid a collision? How about squeezing between two cars in an adjacent lane to keep from hitting a disabled vehicle or clueless pedestrian suddenly blocking your lane? Sometimes we’re forced into less-than-ideal maneuvers to avoid a more destructive and deadly situation, right? Lesser of two evils and all that. Well, that option is slowly evaporating. For the past 10 years I’ve watched stability control systems exert greater influence over driver input in the name of “safety.” The issue? Sometimes the system doesn’t recognize a threat that’s obvious to a human driver. Turning the wheel so quickly that I risk a moderate skid or colliding with a parked car is acceptable when I’m doing it to avoid a kid chasing a ball. But what happens when the computer disagrees and overrides my ability to control the vehicle.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Google reportedly aims to expand to kids as customers

The search giant is considering changes to its services that would legally allow children to sign up, according to a report published Monday.
As giant tech companies look to expand their businesses, they've tried to court new audiences. But one relatively untapped demographic has been children, because of several legal complexities. Google is contemplating ways to bring them onto its online services, according to a report published Monday by The Information (subscription required).

The effort would include a version of YouTube that's safe for kids, and a dashboard would allow parents to see the activities of their children though it's unclear when any changes might roll out.

Google declined to comment on the report.

Bringing children onto online services is rife with legal pitfalls. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, imposes restrictions on Web companies targeting children under 13 years old, including getting parental consent. COPPA's purpose is partly to protect children from companies that store their data, which can be used for ad targeting.

When signing up for the company's services, like Gmail, Google requires users to provide their age, though companies aren't liable for children who lie about their age.

The strategy, though unique in its particular target, essentially boils down to a common one among tech companies: find a way to expand to new users. Google has other initiatives in place aimed at attracting new markets to its business. An ambitious project called Loon focuses on bringing unconnected populations online, by beaming Wi-Fi from high-flying balloons. Facebook has similar aspirations to connect new markets with an initiative called, spearheaded by CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Bringing new users online means potentially getting more people to use these companies' services.

But while targeting kids is a relatively uncommon approach for tech giants, other companies have tried it as well. Yahoo lets children onto its services, but only after gaining parental consent through a 50-cent credit card charge. Facebook has also reportedly looked at ways to open up to younger people. Currently, the service is restricted to users 13 and older. Spokespeople from Yahoo and Facebook did not return requests for comment.

One wrinkle in the efforts is that, while users are required to provide an age when signing up for Google services, there is no age requirement for Android, Google's mobile operating system. That was the decision of former head of Android Andy Rubin, according to the report. One of the reasons, according to the Information's sources, is possibly that Google did not want to have to block younger people from using Google's services on those devices.

Rubin told The Information that the explanations behind his decision were "incorrect."

Monday, August 11, 2014

Android TV will shake up the streaming media player ecosystem

Google’s first couple of tries at entering the streaming media STB business were pretty dreary, but its recently launched Android TV platform is poised to wreck some havoc in a market currently dominated by Apple TV and Roku, new research says.

IHS Technology is forecasting the global installed base of streaming media players to reach 50 million units by the end of this year.

In the United States, the biggest market for the devices in the world, IHS forecasts a 50% increase year-over-year to more than 24 million units by the end of 2014, compared to 16 million in 2013, and up from 10 million in 2012, a 140% increase in two years.

But, it says, that’s just a start. Through 2017, it expects an additional 175% increase from 2013, reaching more than 44 million streaming media players in the U.S.

The researcher said the continued increase in streaming media from services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus and others, continues to add life to the market. And, said Paul Erickson, senior analyst for the connected home at IHS, that spells trouble for Roku and Apple TV, which together control 94% of the market. While Amazon Fire, which launched earlier this year, has provided some new competition to the incumbent devices, “the arrival of Android TV is expected to significantly affect the competitive dynamics of this market over the long run,” Erikson warned.

In addition to those streaming media devices, the U.S market alone also has 169 million Blu-ray Disc players, game consoles and Smart TVs.

The latest Android TV platform -- like Apple TV and Roku – is a step up from earlier versions, offering improved functionality, a broader ecosystem, and a more refined user experience that’s needed to compete with segment leaders.

Android TV offers several benefits it’s lacked in the past; its user experience has been specifically designed for TV, it has a large library of content to offer from Google Play and from other third-party apps, and also allows users to search using advanced voice recognition.

Plus, it has Chromecast functionality built in, enabling media casting and screen mirroring from multiple device platforms.

Some industry pundits report that Apple TV recently has been losing share to Roku, but IHS isn’t as convinced, pointing out that Apple’s strong content ecosystem and loyal iOS customer base gives it a unique position in the ecosystem.

More at risk, it posits, is Roku, which doesn’t have the same tie to a content ecosystem, and Amazon’s Fire TV, which limits content search-and-discovery results to Amazon-sourced content alone.

While IHS makes some good points about the potential threat coming from Android TV, Google’s track record with Hollywood – despite its slow move toward increased congeniality – remains a red flag. And, since Android TV is a software platform that will be used by a variety of CE devices, it lacks the brand recognition of Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and even Roku.

Erickson contends that – much like Android’s mobile OS -- the vastness of its potential addressable market, at multiple price points, will make it a dangerous adversary.

Perhaps, but it will still need to overcome a history of irrelevance in a market that appears to already have chosen its champions.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Google Says Website Encryption Will Now Influence Search Rankings

Google will begin using website encryption, or HTTPS, as a ranking signal – a move which should prompt website developers who have dragged their heels on increased security measures, or who debated whether their website was “important” enough to require encryption, to make a change. Initially, HTTPS will only be a lightweight signal, affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, says Google.
That means that the new signal won’t carry as much weight as other factors, including the quality of the content, the search giant noted, as Google means to give webmasters time to make the switch to HTTPS.

Over time, however, encryption’s effect on search ranking make strengthen, as the company places more importance on website security.
Google also promises to publish a series of best practices around TLS (HTTPS, is also known as HTTP over TLS, or Transport Layer Security) so website developers can better understand what they need to do in order to implement the technology and what mistakes they should avoid. These tips will include things like what certificate type is needed, how to use relative URLs for resources on the same secure domain, best practices around allowing for site indexing, and more.

In addition, website developers can test their current HTTPS-enabled website using the Qualys Lab tool, says Google, and can direct further questions to Google’s Webmaster Help Forums where the company is already in active discussions with the broader community.

The announcement has drawn a lot of feedback from website developers and those in the SEO industry – for instance, Google’s own blog post on the matter, shared in the early morning hours on Thursday, is already nearing 1,000 comments. For the most part, the community seems to support the change, or at least acknowledge that they felt that something like this was in the works and are not surprised.

Google itself has been making moves to better securing its own traffic in recent months, which have included encrypting traffic between its own servers. Gmail now always uses an encrypted HTTPS connection which keeps mail from being snooped on as it moves from a consumer’s machine to Google’s data centers.

While HTTPS and site encryption have been a best practice in the security community for years, the revelation that the NSA has been tapping the cables, so to speak, to mine user information directly has prompted many technology companies to consider increasing their own security measures, too. Yahoo, for example, also announced in November its plans to encrypt its data center traffic.

Now Google is helping to push the rest of the web to do the same.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Top 5 Best Selling Apple Products

“Apple The Brand At Own” is one most popular brands in India as well as in other countries also. People seems so crazy about the upcoming technology or gadgets by Apple. There are many products which are not eye catchy in appearance but are also good in their technology and configuration. Here are Some of The Top 5 Best Selling Apple Products which has provided a great and wealthy market in countries.
Users who are crazy of Apple Products or using them must check out the below mentioned list of Apple Products sold the most in the Indian as well as in the Other markets of the world.
1. Apple II
2. The Mac
3. iPhone
4. iPad
5. iMac

These are the most popular Apple Products which has been sold the most in the previous year and are on sale in the current year. These products have technology and configuration which can not be found in any other smartphone. I am going to provide you now a brief overview about the features and technology used in these Apple Products.

1. Apple II
It was the successor of Apple I and was created just after 12th months of its precedor. It was the fastest selling computer of its time and it was the only reason behind the success of Apple today. The Apple II was the Personal Computer (PC) that had colored graphics and it came with two gaming paddles right out of the box. Apple’s First PC cost consumers $1,298 when it was launched for sale in the market,but that didn’t stop the company from selling well over 300,000 units.

2. The Mac
Mac was the machine which has taken over the market for the Apple II. After the failure of Apple III, Mac was the machined who had taken the responsibility of empowering Apple with wealth and velour. The computer came with a Monitor, Mouse and Keyboard and was known for its different GUI. It was originally name as Apple Macintosh. Its second product was launched with the name of Mac 512K, and the original one was known as Mac 128k. Users was buying it at a cost of $2,459.

3. iPhone
This device has taken Apple to the seventh sky. Apple had released a range of Smartphone with its own OS. The first iPhone was Apple iPhone 4 which was a huge success for the Apple in the market. Every body that time was crazy for Apple iPhone 4 having stylus design and configuration. From that to till yet Apple is planning to launch Apple iPhone 6 very soon in the market all over the world. People are so excited for the iPhone 6 going to be launched very soon.

4. iPad
Apple now has taken a smart step by launching iPad in the markets removing the needs of PC’s in the home or in the Office. Users can do anything they want to do on their iPad. Earlier the iPad doesn’t have too much of Speed and technology but slowly and gradually it come with a powerful technology and speed. This is also among the Top 5 Best Selling Apple Products in the markets all over the world.

5. iMac
Steve’s Jobs the man behind Apple was the only individual to overcome Apple with a huge downfall of PC’s. He was the one who launched iMac series of Computers to the markets which was began with iMac 3G. It was all in one computer with Monitor and CPU in one system making the PC’s very compact. It was released in Bondi Blue and was further released in 13 more colors. this was the Personal Computer to use USB ports. It was cost at $1,299 in May 1998.

So these are the Top 5 Best Selling Apple Products which will remain the reason of success for Apple. These were not only the devices only produced by the Apple but are easily affordable for the uses in their real time. now days Apple has launched so many technologies like iOS 8,Apple iPhone 6, iPad etc. These are also most awaited and will hit the Market soon.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Apple iWatch Launching With 1.7″ and 1.3″ Variants

All you Apple lovers must read out the coming information as many rumors are coming for Apple iwatch. Apple is working on its final launching plans to release its new product Apple iWatch in the span of the coming months. 

The iWatch will be available to its users with two variants 1.7 inches and 1.3 inch screen . The smart watch will be available for both the genders ie. for Men and Women . The iWatch having smaller screen size  will be available for women with vibrant colors and combinations.

The wearable Apple iWatch will  be launched  with a  OLED display . The OLED display, which will have 320 x 320 pixels resolution will provide a great vision to its users . It is heard from source that  iWatch will have a  flexible display to compete with its other big brand smart watches like Motorola, Samsung, LG etc. 

Samsung the brand in technology is also working on flexible display smart watch and it will also launch in the couple of months. The Apple iWatch likely to be released at the end of September or in the beginning of the October 2014. In spite of the Apple, In the technology market Samsung Galaxy Gear, Motorola Moto 360, SonySmart Watches will also be seen till the end of this year. 

Apple Inc. Hired a Nike Key Designer to include a sporty look at its iWatch . The images for Apple iWatch looks a bit very interesting at the moment on the web portal. As per the images Apple iWatch seems so elegant and sporty whether it goes on men or if we talk about women.So Apple iWatch will be so impressive and smart in looks. Users have to wait a bit for the Apple iWatch to be launched in the Indian Markets. Price and other specification are not yet properly disclosed.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

How Technology Tracks the Missing People Using Mobile?

The case of missing Oregon mom Jennifer Huston has shone a spotlight on technology’s crucial role in locating missing people -- as well its limitations.

While cellphone location technologies can quickly find people, the trail effectively ends when a device is out of power.

Communications expert John B. Minor, who is based in Odessa, Texas and who has assisted in suspected murder cases and attempts to locate lost hikers, describes the scenario as a race against time. “If the battery is exhausted, there is no general tracking”. 

Huston, a 38-year-old mother of two, was last seen on a surveillance camera leaving a gas station in the Portland suburb of Newberg on July 24, prompting a massive search.

Capt. Jeff Kosmicki of the Newberg-Dundee Police Department told that the last cellphone tower pinged by Huston’s phone was north of the gas station. Her phone shut off at approximately 6.35pm, although investigators don’t know if the battery died or the phone was turned off.

Before a phone is shut off there are a number of ways for networks and law enforcement to locate someone. James Tagg, chief technology officer of mobile network Truphone, which has its U.S. headquarters in Raleigh Durham, N.C., told that network cell towers, GPS and WiFi all can help.

“In simple terms, cell phones, as the name suggests, connect to a cell,” he explained, in an email.  “A mobile operator always knows which ‘cell site’ you are using and this gives them a rough idea of your location.”

Networks know how far each user is from a cell tower and use data from other nearby towers to ‘triangulate’ a person’s location.

The emergence of high-speed communication technologies such as 3G and 4G has made this technique even more effective. “The newer technologies are more accurate,” Tagg said. “The faster you transmit, the more accurate your timing must be and therefore the better the triangulation.”
GPS technology, widely used in modern phones, is useful, particularly when combined with cell tower triangulation. “Sometimes your cell phone cannot see the satellites and sometimes you (are in an area where you) can only be seen by one [cell] tower or because you are in downtown New York and the signal is bouncing off tall buildings,” wrote Tagg. “Put both techniques together and you are statistically better off.”

Wi-Fi can also help in searches, and Tagg noted that Wi-Fi access points are mapped to precise grid references. However, this information is usually not known to a mobile operator, according to Tagg, but it can be requested by applications on your handset.

Despite the technologies available, the search for Huston has been hampered by red tape. On Thursday, Kosmicki told that investigators are unable to obtain medical records and cel lphone tower information because there is no evidence of a crime.

Minor told that, in searches for missing people, law enforcement will often request a “tower dump” from network providers - essentially logs that track each phone’s serial number. “There is passive information maintained in these logs,” he said, noting that the phone does not need to be making a call to be tracked.

Despite all the location techniques available, though, the issue of battery life remains a massive challenge. Investigators can find a location and even the direction a person is travelling, right up to the point when the battery dies. After that, however, their task becomes much more difficult.

Tagg told that the only technology still functioning in certain phones after the battery dies is Near Field Communication (NFC), which can be used for mobile payments. “Even if you cell phone is dead you could still buy a coffee or gain entry to your office using NFC technology,” he said. “When you do this, the bi-product is you report location as you do so.”

However, Tagg said he is not aware of any service which currently aggregates this information.
Minor believes that the development of longer-lasting batteries will boost future efforts to find missing people. The expert highlights, in particular, recent research at Stanford University that could significantly extend the life of cell phone batteries.

“We need longer battery life,” he told. “If we had longer battery life and you go missing, there’s a much better chance that you will be located.”