When BGR published the famous open letter from an anonymous BlackBerry executive back in 2011, it was easy for some of the company’s defenders to brush it off as the bitter ramblings of one disgruntled employee. But now Bloomberg Businessweek has gotten a lot of former BlackBerry executives and partners to go on the record about their time with the company and it turns out that realization of the company’s impending collapse was widespread by the time BGR’s letter posted more than two years ago. More →
Stephen Elop might get to become Microsoft’s next CEO after all. Bloomberg reports that Ford company director Edsel Ford II said on Thursday that current CEO Alan Mulally is staying on with the company through at least 2014, which would seemingly put him out of the running the become Microsoft’s next chief executive. Ford said that the company’s board of directors haven’t pushed Mulally to address the matter publicly because he’s already assured them that he’ll remain with the company for at least another year. Mulally was considered a leading choice to take over at Microsoft, which has been searching for a new CEO ever since Steve Ballmer announced his plans to resign in 2014. Other candidates for the job include former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, one-time Skype boss Tony Bates and Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise boss Satya Nadella.
Microsoft is done playing nice with the National Security Agency. ITProPortal reports that Microsoft has now labeled the United States government an “advanced persistent threat” to its customers’ security, a designation that the company normally uses only “for foreign state-sponsored cyber terrorists.” Microsoft’s decision to label its own government a persistent threat comes as the company is working to beef up end-to-end encryption for all of its data center Internet traffic following revelations that the NSA has found a way to hack into major tech companies’ data centers. Both Google and Yahoo similarly moved to encrypt their data center traffic after learning of the NSA’s escapades.
It looks as though hackers have managed to swipe user names and passwords from some of the world’s biggest social networking and email platforms… again. Per CNN, security firm Trustwave claims that hackers have stolen more than 2 million Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo user names and passwords through malicious keylogging software that’s been installed in an unknown number of computers. Facebook users have been the biggest victims of the malware so far, as an estimated 318,000 Facebook accounts have been compromised so far along with 70,000 Google-related accounts, 60,000 Yahoo accounts and 22,000 Twitter accounts. Trustwave says that it’s notified all affected companies about the security breach.
The iPad Air may very well be the hottest gift for holiday shoppers this year. Localytics saw a surge in iPad Air use over Black Friday weekend this year as activations for the device increased by 51%, making it by far the most-activated smartphone or tablet in the early days of holiday shopping. Other Apple devices look like hot items for shoppers this year as well since Localytics found that iPad mini and iPhone 5c activations both increased by 26% over the weekend. Other devices that saw big surges in activations included the 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire HD (23% increase) and the Samsung Galaxy S4 (20% increase).
Earlier this year, Samsung unveiled its Knox mobile security suite aimed at giving corporate IT buyers peace of mind when deciding to purchase Samsung’s brand of Android devices for their employees. The Wall Street Journal reports that the program has been a bust so far, however, as Knox has been “beset by delays and programming bugs, frustrating clients including the U.S. Defense Department.” The Journal says that Samsung executives are “privately” acknowledging problems with Knox and are vowing fixes. More →
Let’s be clear: I think that Windows 8 is in many ways a good operating system. But it is also a very polarizing one among longtime Windows users and that’s something Microsoft will ignore at its own peril. First, let’s go through Windows 8′s obvious virtues — it runs much more smoothly than earlier versions of Windows, it starts up more quickly and is generally a more stable platform than Windows 7. However, for a sizable chunk of PC users these plusses are outweighed by the giant minus of the big changes Microsoft made to the traditional Windows user interface. More →
If there’s one thing we feel confident in saying about Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S5 smartphone it’s that it will have killer hardware. FoneArena points us to a new benchmark posted at GFXBench showing a mystery Samsung phone that features a 2K display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor. Given the resolution shown in the benchmark, FoneArena speculates that the mystery device might have “a 5.25-inch display since the pixel density of a 5.25-inch 2560 x 1440 pixels display would be 560 ppi.” While we don’t know for sure which new Samsung phone this is, it’s very likely that the Galaxy S5 will at least match the specs revealed in the benchmark. Earlier leaks have suggested that the Galaxy S5 will feature a 5-inch Super AMOLED display, a 16-megapixel camera, a 4,000 mAh battery, 3GB of RAM and Android 4.4 KitKat.
Ever since Andy Rubin stepped down from his post as Google’s Android boss, questions arose about what would be his next job within the company. And now The New York Times has given us the answer: Rubin is still working with androids, albeit of the “small a” variety. According to the Times, Google has put Rubin in charge of a new “moonshot” initiative “to create a new generation of robots” that will be used for manufacturing and for retail delivery operations. The most realistic scenario, say the Times‘ sources, is that Google will make a fleet of robots for “automating portions of an existing supply chain that stretches from a factory floor to the companies that ship and deliver goods to a consumer’s doorstep.” More →
While Nokia’s Lumia 1020 certainly has the most powerful camera of any flagship smartphone, Samsung is looking more and more determined to close the gap. Korea’s ETNews reports that Samsung is working on a 20-megapixel smartphone camera module that the company will release in the second half of 2014. ETNews says that Samsung is working to aggressively improve its smartphones’ cameras and is planning to release the 20-megapixel module even though it will be releasing its Galaxy S5 flagship phone with a 16-megapixel camera just a few months earlier. Of course, even a 20-megapixel module would only give Samsung smartphone cameras just half of what the Lumia 1020 camera offers with 41 megapixels, although there’s a lot more to camera quality than what shows up on the specs sheet.
It looks like BlackBerry had some very good reasons for sending its enterprise customers a letter this week letting them know that it was still alive. AllThingsD flags a new research note from Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair claiming that BlackBerry’s recent failed attempt to sell itself has created even more uncertainty around the company and helped drive some of its corporate customers into the arms of hated rival Apple and its iPad tablets. More →
Sick and tired of Apple and Samsung ruling over the mobile device market? Well you’re out of luck: It looks like the gadget world’s twin titans are going to clean up in tablet sales this holiday season. Digitimes‘ supply chain sources say that both Apple and Samsung have both increased their tablet shipments for the fourth quarter this year and now expect to ship up to 37 million tablets combined this holiday season. More specifically, Digitimes says Apple has boosted its total Q4 2013 iPad orders from 20 million to between 23 million and 25 million while Samsung has boosted its assorted Q4 2013 Galaxy tablet orders from 10 million to 12 million.
BlackBerry admits that its handsets aren’t for everyone but it’s hoping that its mobile device management services are. Per Reuters, BlackBerry said on Tuesday that “the number of large business and government clients that have installed or are testing BlackBerry’s mobile device management service has risen roughly 20% over the past six months,” a welcome sign for a company whose BlackBerry 10 handset sales have been an abject horror show. In conjunction with this encouraging news, BlackBerry also announced the release of its BES 10.2 platform that includes expanded multi-platform support including “Secure Work Space support for iOS 7 background email sync”; BYOD enrollment for iOS and Android devices that will help users better keep their work and personal data separate; and a self-service IT portal.