Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak had a quick chat with FayerWayer earlier this week, and the site asked him about a wide range of topics, including the new look of iOS 7 and the recent revelations about the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program. Wozniak’s most interesting comments, though, were about how cloud computing is slowly eroding the concept of owning content that we pay for, which in turn leaves us with less freedom than we used to have. More →
Google Fiber is certainly one of Google’s more audacious experiments and it’s now becoming clearer what the company’s long-term strategy is with its high-speed fiber Internet and television service. Barron’s points us to a new research note from Evercore Partners analyst Ken Sena, who just got back from seeing Google Fiber in action in Kansas City and who says that Google’s long-term goal with the service is to make television more of a web-based experience. More →
Microsoft apparently thinks that its Siri-mocking strategy is a winner because it’s come out with yet another ad that cleverly uses Apple’s voice-enabled personal assistant to bash the iPad. The ad takes the iPad to task for not having a zoomable home screen, for lacking an SD card slot and for not being able to multitask as efficiently as Windows RT. As 9to5Mac points out, that last claim is somewhat misleading because Apple has added more robust multitasking capabilities in iOS 7, although those won’t be widely available to iPad users until the fall. All the same, the new ad isn’t as misleading as Microsoft’s earlier effort that bashed the iPad for lacking access to Microsoft Office even though Microsoft itself was primarily responsible for not offering an iOS-compatible version of its popular productivity software. The full video is posted below. More →
As BlackBerry and Microsoft scramble to catch up with iOS and Android’s hold on app developers’ attention, it’s become clear that Microsoft has a distinct advantage that BlackBerry simply cannot match: Lots and lots of cash. Both Bloomberg Businessweek and Business Insider report that Microsoft is paying developers up to $100,000 to bring their applications over to Windows Phone 8. While this might seem like a lot of money just to convince developers to create apps for Windows Phone, Business Insider’s Julie Bort notes that it’s a relative drop in the bucket for Microsoft, which is also paying Nokia “$1 billion a year to make Windows phones.”
Eat your heart out, Google Fiber. Engadget reports that Sony-backed Japanese ISP So-net has launched Nuro, a new fiber service with 2Gbps maximum speeds that put even Google Fiber to shame. What makes Nuro particularly enticing is its jaw-dropping low price: Engadget says that “when hitched to a two-year contract, web surfers will be set back 4,980 yen ($51) per month and pony up a required 52,500 yen (roughly $540) installation fee, which is currently being waived for customers who apply online.” Japanese prefectures Chiba, Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Tokyo, Kanagawa and Saitama will be the first to get the service, which will presumably continue spreading throughout the rest of the country.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platform hasn’t exactly been a ringing success so far, partly because third-party vendors typically see it as an afterthought compared to Android. Digitimes‘ supply chain sources now say that smartphone makers’ enthusiasm for Windows Phone 8 has waned in recent months due to both low adoption among consumers and high licensing fees that give them little reason to invest significant resources in the platform when they can use Android for free. What’s more, vendors are reportedly wary of Windows Phone because it doesn’t allow for the same level of customization that Android does, which makes it harder for companies to differentiate their own Windows Phone devices from those offered by Nokia.
Although sales of Samsung’s Galaxy S4 got off to a blisteringly fast start, many reports have suggested that sales of the device have started to noticeably slow in recent weeks. And now Digitimes‘ supply chain sources claim that Samsung has started cutting back component orders for the Galaxy S4 due to “a slowdown in demand” for the device. This doesn’t mean the Galaxy S4 is selling poorly, of course, since Samsung is still ordering enough parts to sell up to 45 million units of its flagship phone over the next two quarters. But as more of the action moves away from high-end devices such as the Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5 and toward more low-cost devices in emerging markets, Samsung has had to adjust its expectations.
Apple may want to ditch Samsung, but it’s had a tough time so far finding another component supplier that’s capable of delivering the consistent quality and scale that it needs for its hugely popular mobile devices. Because of this, Korea’s ETNews reports, Apple will likely turn to Samsung to supply LCD displays for its upcoming Retina-equipped iPad mini that’s slated to launch by the end of the year. This is particularly interesting because we heard rumors last year that Apple’s feud with Samsung was one of the major reasons why it faced shortages for its first-generation iPad mini, which manufacturers reportedly had trouble mass producing at first because its thinner side bezels made it trickier to manufacture than traditional iPads.
Much as he dismissed the significance of the iPhone when it first released, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also dismissed Google’s free-to-use Android platform when it launched because Google wasn’t charging any money for OEMs to use it. In the five years since launching Android, however, it’s clear that making money from the direct sales of Android devices was never part of Google’s plan. To understand why this is, take a look at eMarketer’s new report on mobile advertising showing that Google took home $4.61 billion in mobile advertising revenues in 2012, or more than half of all mobile advertising revenues in the world. More →
Sales of Nintendo’s Wii U console have been calamitously bad so far but the company’s CEO isn’t about to start blaming the rise of mobile games. Instead, AllThingsD reports that Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata thinks that the Wii U has sold poorly because Nintendo isn’t providing gamers with enough top-notch titles to draw them to the system. More →
As we’ve often noted, the brilliance of Samsung ads is how they take their smartphones’ most mundane features and gimmicks and make them look like life-changing technological achievements. The company’s latest ad for the Galaxy S4 is no exception, as it demonstrates all the ways that the device can help an inexperienced father master the art of diaper changing. More →
WhatsApp has become one of the world’s staples in mobile messaging and it’s not done growing yet. WhatsApp announced on its Twitter account this week that it processed a record 27 billion messages in a single day, with roughly 10 billion messages sent and 17 billion messages received. WhatsApp said just two months ago that its record for messages in a day was around 20 million and that it had around 200 million users, which makes it even larger than Twitter. WhatsApp and rival messaging apps LINE and KakaoTalk have been particularly popular on Android recently and the market for messaging apps only seems to be growing as more consumers in emerging markets are poised to buy smartphones for the first time.
Sorry, Google, but you may not hold a monopoly on researching far-out technologies that may not even help your core business in the future. Forbes contributor Haydn Shaughnessy notes that Samsung has started investing substantial sums of money into science and technology research for an ecosystem that may never see the light of day. In particular, he says that Samsung has said it will invest $1.34 billion over the next decade in the Samsung Future Technology Foundation, which The Korea Times reports will focus on “three areas such as basic sciences — physics, chemistry, life science, and mathematics, materials science, and ICT fusion-type projects.” More →