Bill Gates and late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs are among a small group of people who helped shape the technology industry over the past 40 years and in a new interview conducted by 60 Minutes’ Charlie Rose, the former reflects on his final visit with the latter. Gates recently sat down with 60 Minutes to discuss his work at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and although it didn’t air in CBS’ broadcast, the conversation veered off topic for a few moments as the Microsoft co-founder got emotional while recounting his last visit with friend and rival Steve Jobs in May 2011. No spoilers here — the unaired footage from the Gates interview follows below. More →
It’s good to be king, but ensuring your kingdom continues to expand is always a top priority. According to a recent report from ABI Research, the world’s top-10 wireless carriers — which include Verizon Wireless (No.2) and AT&T (No.4) — took in a combined $202 billion in gross profit last year. That 2012 total is up 4.2% compared to the prior year, but high plan prices and growing subscriber bases aren’t drumming up the growth rates they used to. “As the underlying lift from accumulating subscribers has matured, carriers are starting to cast around for additional revenue streams that don’t just boost revenues but also profitability,” said ABI analyst Jake Saunders. “There is still tremendous income to be generated from mobile services; the Top 10 Mobile Carriers alone generated US$202 billion in gross profit, up 4.2 % year-on-year in 2012.” According to the research firm, IP-based value-added services are now a big focus for top carriers as they look elsewhere for growth opportunities.
Amid the sea of iPhone cases, camera mounts and iPad styluses that have flooded various crowd-funding sites in recent years, an interesting new project emerges. It’s name is Earl. Seattle, Wash.-based startup Sqigle is on a mission to build an Android tablet designed to keep users alive while the roam off the beaten path. It will feature a ruggedized exterior, an E Ink display, an integrated solar charger, 20-hour battery life, GPS and highly detailed topographic maps that will help users navigate various terrains while hiking, climbing and wandering. Squigle is seeking an ambitious $250,000 to fund the project, and it hopes to launch by August 2013. If the project meets its funding goal, the Earl will be available starting at $249 including 100k resolution topographic maps or $299 with both 100k and 24k resolution topographic maps. Earl can be preordered on the project’s site, which is linked below.
Nintendo is off to a rough start with its new Wii U video game console and Activision CEO Bobby Kotick thinks Microsoft’s “Xbox Infinity” and Sony’s PlayStation 4 could see similar tepid debuts when they launch ahead of the holidays this year. “We continue to face the uncertainties of the console transition” Kotick said during Activision’s earnings call this week. The executive noted that Nintendo’s Wii U has had a “very slow” start, and he warned that “uncertainties” in the coming year might impact Activision’s performance. More →
Google will reportedly take advantage of Apple’s “delayed” second-generation iPad mini launch, and will reportedly make a new version of its Nexus 7 tablet a highlight of Google I/O next week. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple’s Retina iPad mini launch might be pushed back a bit and Google’s next-generation Nexus 7 will step in to the limelight following an unveiling at Google I/O. In a note picked up by AppleInsider, the analyst says Google’s next Nexus 7 will feature Android 4.3 — which will seemingly be another updated version of Android Jelly Bean — along with a 7-inch 1,920 x 1,200-pixel display, a 5-megapixel rear camera, Qi wireless charging support and a 4,000 mAh battery. The tablet will reportedly still start at $199, and Kuo makes no mention of when it might launch.
Is Facebook doing its homework? We trust that Facebook is analyzing usage stats when deciding which handsets to address with its Home rollout, but it seems odd that Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, which both became supported by Home on Friday, would be high on the list of devices used by hardcore Facebook addicts — the ones Home is likely best suited for. Home is an immersive software suite that takes over an Android phone’s home screen and app launcher, replacing them with a river of Facebook photos and a new launcher that provides quick access to various Facebook features. Could a Facebook takeover possibly be something the average Galaxy S4 or HTC One user is looking for? More →
In the video game industry as in many popular video games themselves, a fierce rivalry has taken center stage. Sony took a commanding early lead and its PlayStation and PlayStation 2 systems are both among best-selling video game consoles of all time at No.4 and No.1, respectively. Then the tide turned and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 edged out the PlayStation 3 in the current generation console wars, having recently posted its 27th consecutive month as the top-selling console in the U.S. But we may soon see this rivalry fade as the missions of Microsoft’s next-generation “Xbox Infinity” and Sony’s PlayStation 4 begin to diverge. More →
It looks like Nokia plans to make the camera the focal point of its upcoming new flagship Lumia 928 once again, but this time around it could be in even worse shape than before. Relatively slow sales of the Lumia 920 compared to other leading smartphones showed us that a fresh OS and a killer camera simply aren’t enough to entice users to switch away from Android and iOS. Nokia appears to be beating the same drum all over again with the upcoming Lumia 928 though, and what little appeal the handset’s camera features might have to consumers at large could be overshadowed almost immediately by Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S4 Zoom. More →
Bitcoin is a good way for people to conduct business off the grid, but the free ride may soon come to an end. Everyone’s favorite virtual currency has been on quite a wild ride over the past few weeks. The mainstream media finally caught wind of Bitcoin and curious parties sent it skyrocketing to $220 before watching it plummet below $70 a few short days later. It has been quite a roller coaster, but all this attention may have caught the IRS’s eye, too — Forbes contributor Robert Wood noted in a recent column that the Treasury’s FinCEN already has rules pertaining to Bitcoin, and soon the IRS might as well. More →
Apple’s negotiations with Warner Music and Sony Music to launch its “iRadio” streaming music service have hit a snag, The Financial Times reported. Earlier reports suggested Apple was close to striking deals with two major labels, and Universal Music has reportedly already agreed to terms that will see its catalog made available on Apple’s upcoming streaming music service, which should be similar to those offered by Pandora and Spotify. Apple’s most recent offer to Sony and Warner was 12.5 cents per 100 streamed tracks, the report claims, but neither label has accepted the terms at this point. According to FT, they want Apple to pay more than the standard rate paid by Pandora and similar services because of its “broader ambitions for iRadio.” It is unclear exactly how Apple plans to structure the upcoming service, which the company seemingly hopes to launch this summer.
Apple’s iPhone 5 became the best-selling smartphone in the world shortly after its launch last fall, and hype surrounding the upcoming iPhone 5S is starting to build. Rivals are preparing new flagship smartphones of their own to combat the new iPhone, however, which is expected to launch late in the third quarter. According to unnamed industry sources speaking with Digitimes, we can expect new flagship Android phones to launch around the same time as the iPhone 5S from several of Apple’s top competitors, including Samsung, LG and HTC. More →
Images of what is claimed to be part of the motherboard from Apple’s next-generation iPhone 5S handset leaked on Thursday. The photos were originally published by Japan-based cell phone parts and accessories vendor Moumantai, and they show redesigned internal components that suggest earlier rumors claiming the iPhone 5S will include an upgraded rear camera may be accurate. Apple’s next iPhone is expected to launch this fall with an upgraded processor and a new camera, which may feature 12-megapixel resolution and improved low-light image capture capabilities. The photos of the purported iPhone 5S part, which features a new shape and redesigned connectors, follow below alongside comparison shots of the iPhone 5 motherboard. More →
It might not be the next iPad, but there is no question that Google Glass is buzzing right now. Google’s connected eyewear has set the tech media aflutter and pundits are now calling wearable computing devices the next big thing. As we all watch the wearable computing story play out, San Francisco-based startup Dekko has secured $3.2 million in new funding to build out “the visual layer for wearable computing devices like Google Glass.” More →