If you turned on your television over the holidays you most likely encountered one of many Google advertisements. The Mountain View company has been pushing brand awareness with commercials highlighting Chrome web browsing, Google Search and social networking on Google+. It would appear the advertising is paying off, as Google+ is reportedly adding new users at a rapid pace. The social networking site has over 62 million users and is adding 625,000 new users each day according to unofficial Google+ statistician Paul Allen. What is astonishing is that nearly a quarter of all Google+ users joined in December alone. If the rate of new sign-ups continues, Allen predicts that Google+ will reach 100 million users on February 25th, 200 million users on August 3rd, and will finish 2012 with 293 million users. However, he also believes that 2012 will be the breakout year for the social networking site, and that it could reach more than 400 million users by the end of the year. Impressive nonetheless, Allen’s numbers only show how many people are signing up for Google + and there is no indication how frequently those users actually make use of their accounts regularly. More →
It’s scary to think that we’ve grown so much with just a small group of talented people. With that said, we’re looking to expand our team and hire a full-time editor on the East Coast, as well as a full-time writer on the East Coast. If you’re an amazing writer, have a ridiculous (read: unhealthy) obsession with tech and mobile gadgets, and you want to be part of our family, we want to hear from you. Please contact us (jobs at bgr dot com) with the following information in the body of your email (no attachments please):
- A brief introduction followed by your resume — please be sure to highlight related experience in your intro
- College degree in a related field preferred but not required
- Experience reporting on tech business, mobile and/or consumer electronics preferred but not required
- Experience with live coverage of press conferences and trade shows preferred but not required
- Three sample posts written in a style similar to what you might find here on BGR — these may be posts published on other websites or new content
Microsoft officially took the wraps off of its new social network for students on Thursday. The service is called So.cl and was developed by Microsoft Research’s FUSE Labs division. It’s currently in “experimental” stages and is available to students attending the University of Washington, New York University and Syracuse University. So.cl allows users to log-in with their Facebook accounts and offers a similar set of features. In addition to adding status updates, photos and links, users can also join “video parties” to watch movies and chat with a group of friends. “So.cl is not meant to replace existing full-featured search and social networking tools,” Microsoft said on its So.cl FAQ page. “It is an experimental research project using a minimal set of features which help combine search with the social network for the purpose of learning.” More →
Last year more than 100 tablets were unveiled during the Consumer Electronics Show and this year it appears the focus could shift to Intel-powered ultrabooks. Demand for ultrabooks — devices defined as powerful thin and light notebooks with long-lasting battery life — is expected to begin to heat up following the holidays and January’s Consumer Electronics Show. More than 50 new ultrabook models will be displayed during CES and the category is expected to be one of the hottest consumer electronic segments on the show floor, Taiwan Economic News said Tuesday, citing insights from a show organizer. Intel, which invested $300 million in the utltrabook platform, also said that there will be more than 60 different ultrabook models available during 2012, and the chip maker’s upcoming Ivy Bridge processors will power many of them. Initial reports suggested that ultrabooks are off to a slow start, with just 50,000 units shipped so far from Acer, ASUS, Lenovo and Toshiba combined. Additionally, weak sales of the first models from Asus and Acer forced both firms to scale back production by as much as 40%, another report suggested. More →
HP unveiled its first Ultrabook on Wednesday, the Folio 13. The laptop packs a 13.3-inch display, 9 hours of battery life, a 128GB SSD, USB 3.0, an Ethernet jack, an HP TrueVision HD webcam, and Windows 7 in a small 3.3-pound unit that measures just 18mm thick. The notebook, no doubt created to compete with Apple’s MacBook Air, will be targeted at business users and can be outfitted with one of Intel’s latest Core processors, although specific chip speeds were not identified by HP. The Folio 13 will make its debut on December 7th for $899.99. HP also announced several new ENVY notebooks, including the HP ENVY 15, the ENVY 17 and the ENVY 17 3D, and two new Pavilion dm4 models, including a special Beats Edition with a black and red design and a signature Beats logo on the lid. The full press release from HP follows after the break. More →
I haven’t turned on my Xbox 360 in almost a year. I did to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, though.
Modern Warfare 3 doesn’t differ greatly from previous editions of the game, though that’s not always a bad thing. The story events pick up right where Modern Warfare 2’s storyboard ended and you’re plopped right in the middle of downtown New York City, which is under siege and swarming with Ruskies. The storyline itself doesn’t have much depth, but for something you can get through in around five to six hours, it doesn’t exactly need to. Besides, the gameplay and graphics surely pull the weight here. More →
We just spent a couple minutes with HTC’s latest and greatest, the HTC Rezound for Verizon Wireless complete with Beats audio, and it’s surely positioned as an iconic media device. It’s reasonably thin, packs 4G LTE, a super high resolution 720p display which looks amazing, and that’s not mentioning the 8-megapixel camera with improved optics and low-light performance. And then, of course, there’s Beats audio processing that will work with the included Beats headphones or ones you might already own. All in all, Verizon’s lineup for the holidays is incredible, and the HTC Rezound will surely be music to a media-centric person’s ears. Check out all of the photos in our gallery!
LG posted its third-quarter earnings on Wednesday, noting a net loss of 413.9 billion won ($366 million), far below the net profit of 7.6 billion won reported during the same quarter last year. Third-quarter revenue totaled 13.4 trillion won ($11.3 billion), down 2% from the same period last year. LG shipped a total of 21.1 million handsets during the quarter, down from the 24.8 million devices it shipped during the third quarter of 2010. On the bright side, shipments of flat panel TVs grew 37% to 6.6 million units, more than the company has ever shipped in a single quarter. LG said it expects to boost sales during the fourth quarter by increasing demand for its Cinema 3D and Smart TV products, as well as by pushing LTE phones aggressively in an effort to “dominate the market in advance.” Read on for the full press release from LG. More →
Amazon reported third-quarter earnings on Tuesday, noting net sales increased 44% from the same quarter last year to $10.88 billion. That figure is on a par with Wall Street’s revenue expectations of $10.93 billion. Amazon reported EPS of $0.14, which missed the Street’s estimates of $0.24 per share. Net income fell 73% quarter-over-quarter, however. Amazon reported net income of $63 million during the third quarter, down from $231 million in the second quarter. The online retailer said September 28th was its biggest day ever for Kindle sales, including during the previous peak holiday season. “In the three weeks since launch, orders for electronic ink Kindles are double the previous launch,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said. “And based on what we’re seeing with Kindle Fire pre-orders, we’re increasing capacity and building millions more than we’d already planned.” Looking forward to the fourth quarter, Amazon expects net sales to fall between $16.45 billion and $18.65 billion, 27-44% growth over the fourth quarter of last year. The company also confirmed better than expected demand for its Kindle Fire tablet, noting that it is building “millions more” tablets than it had initially orders. Shares of Amazon stock fell more than 14% in after-hours trading. Read on for the full press release from Amazon.
Verizon Communications on Friday reported earnings for the third quarter of 2011. Total consolidated operating revenue came in at $27.91 billion, up 5.4% over the third quarter last year and narrowly beating the Street’s $27.88 billion estimate. The carrier reported non-GAAP earnings of $0.56 per share, up from $0.55 in the third quarter of 2010. Verizon’s wireless business recorded revenue of $15 billion in the quarter, up 6.1% from the same quarter last year, and wireless connections now total 107.7 million. AT&T on Thursday reported that its subscriber count surpassed 100 million for the first time in the third quarter. Verizon’s net wireless connection additions in the quarter totalled 1.3 million while AT&T added 2.1 million new subscribers in the same quarter. Verizon’s wireless data revenue was up 20.5% year-over-year to $6.1 billion, representing 40.6% of all service revenues. The company’s full press release follows below.
Nokia on Thursday posted better-than-expected results for the third quarter thanks to mobile device shipments that exceeded analysts’ expectations by a substantial margin. The Finnish phone vendor shipped 89.9 million feature phones, crushing expectations which were as low as 67 million units for the quarter, and revenue from its mobile devices group came in at €5.39 billion compared to the Street’s consensus of €5.06 billion. Total revenue fell 13% from the third quarter last year to €8.98 billion, also beating the Street’s €8.66 billion consensus, and EPS excluding some costs was €0.03 for the quarter. Wall Street was expecting earnings of €0.02 per share. Total mobile device shipments grew 20% sequentially to 106.6 million units, but average selling prices were down 18% quarter-over-quarter and 22% from the third quarter last year. Nokia’s net loss in the quarter was just €68 million while the Street was expecting a loss of €229 million. Nokia’s full earnings release follows below. More →
Microsoft announced its fiscal first-quarter 2012 earnings on Thursday, the best first quarter the company has ever recorded. The Redmond-based software giant reported revenue of $17.37 billion, up 7% from the first quarter of 2011 and on a par with analyst estimates of $17.26 billion. Operating income for the quarter was $7.2 billion, up 1% from the same quarter last year and net income was $5.74 billion, or $0.68 per share, up 6% from the first quarter of 2011. “We saw customer demand across the breadth of our products, resulting in record first-quarter revenue and another quarter of solid EPS growth,” said Microsoft CFO Peter Klein. “Our product portfolio is performing well, and we’ve got an impressive pipeline of products and services that positions us well for future growth.” Microsoft’s Business division reported $5.62 billion in revenue, up 8% from the same period last year and above analyst estimates of $5.4 billion. The company’s Server & Tools team reported $4.25 billion in revenue, up 10% from last year’s first quarter and a hair below analyst expectations of $4.3 billion. Its Windows and Windows Live Division reported a revenue increase of 2% up to $4.87 billion. In addition, Microsoft said it has now sold 450 million Windows 7 licenses since the platform’s launch. Read on for the full press release from Microsoft. More →
AT&T on Thursday reported results for the third quarter of 2011 that were in line with expectations. The carrier gained 2.1 million net subscribers to pass 100 million total subscribers for the first time, though revenue of $31.5 billion was down marginally from the same quarter a year earlier. Third-quarter net income of $3.6 billion or $0.61 per share was down from $12.3 billion or $2.07 per share in the same quarter last year, but up from $0.54 per share year-over-year when excluding one-time gains. Wireless data revenue was up 18%, or $857 million, from the same quarter last year to $5.6 billion. AT&T sold 4.8 million smartphones during the third quarter, which includes iPhone activations totaling 2.7 million units. “Smartphones, connected devices and tablets all posted impressive gains,” AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement. “Our first LTE 4G markets are up and running with terrific speeds. And we continue to work toward a successful completion of our planned T-Mobile USA merger. The next waves in the mobile Internet revolution represent tremendous growth potential, and we are laying the groundwork required for that future.” AT&T’s full press release follows below. More →