Jobs’s passing and fear of stalled innovation prompt Apple to enter Israel, former exec says

By on December 21, 2011 at 10:01 AM.

Jobs’s passing and fear of stalled innovation prompt Apple to enter Israel, former exec says

News emerged earlier this week that Apple had acquired Israel-based fabless chip maker Anobit for as much as $500 million. Beyond the team and flash memory technology Apple will gain from the acquisition, the company reportedly plans to use the Anobit’s facilities as a research and development center. The deal is big for Apple on several levels — Anobit’s class-leading flash memory chips are already used in the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air — but one former Apple executive believes fear was among the factors that motivated Apple to enter Israel, which is heralded by many as the “second Silicon Valley.” Read on for more. More →

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Apple to open Israeli development center with semiconductor focus

By on December 14, 2011 at 4:20 PM.

Apple to open Israeli development center with semiconductor focus

Apple reportedly has plans to open a new office in Israel, its first center outside of its Cupertino, California headquarters. The outpost will be headed by Aharon Aharon, Israeli business news site Globes said Wednesday, noting that Aharon is a well established figure in Israeli technology circles. Aharon currently serves as the chairman of radio frequency imaging firm Camero Tech Ltd. He has also served on the board of Discretix and once worked as a vice president for Zoran Corporation. Israeli’s new Apple head will train in Cupertino for several months before opening the Israel-based facility, the report says. This isn’t the first move Apple has made in Israel recently: the company is reportedly in acquisition talks with Anobit, a fabless flash storage vendor that has provided parts to Apple for its iPad, iPhone and iPod touch product families. Rumors have suggested Apple could spend as much as $400 to $500 million for Anobit. More →

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Google lures college students to Google+ in effort to speed adoption

By on November 8, 2011 at 1:25 PM.

Google lures college students to Google+ in effort to speed adoption

Google’s latest social networking effort follows a long line of failed attempts to break into a space owned by the likes of Facebook, Twitter and (somehow) Myspace, and Google seems to finally have a hit on its hands with Google+. The service amassed more than 10 million users within two weeks of launching as an invitation-only beta, and it now reportedly has more than 40 million users following a public launch. As Facebook approaches 1 billion users, however, Google has quite a bit of ground to make up. The Internet giant apparently isn’t afraid to get dirty in its quest for social network dominance, and a new report revealed that Google recently set up shop at colleges in Israel in an attempt to lure new users to Google+. Read on for more. More →

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Microsoft makes secret investment in social navigation company Waze

By on July 12, 2011 at 5:13 PM.

Microsoft makes secret investment in social navigation company Waze

Microsoft secretly participated in a recent $25 million funding round for Israel-based navigation solutions provider Waze, Israeli tech site TheMarker reported last week. Microsoft makes very few investments each year according to TheMarker’s source, but the tech giant apparently took quite an interest in Waze’s unique brand of navigation apps. “Waze is a social mobile application providing free turn-by-turn navigation based on the live conditions of the road. 100% powered by users, the more you drive, the better it gets,” the company’s website states. The company’s apps provide free voice-guided navigation to users, and also provide real-time data such as traffic conditions and speed trap alerts based on both automatic and manual feedback from each of Waze’s 4.5 million users around the world. While the terms of Microsoft’s investment were not revealed, the move is an interesting one — Microsoft is now in bed with Nokia, owner of navigation giant Navteq, and it will supply the OS for Nokia’s smartphones moving forward. Microsoft has already announced that it will use Navteq to power future navigation solutions in its Windows Phone OS, but it looks like a unique version of Waze for Windows Phone is in the works as well. More →

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Startups vie for AT&T’s attention at new Innovation Center

By on June 16, 2011 at 1:45 PM.

Startups vie for AT&T’s attention at new Innovation Center

AT&T on Wednesday gave the world its first look at the telecommunications giant’s new International Innovation Center in Ra’anana, Israel. For the first time, Israeli press was granted access to AT&T’s newest incubator, which has been operational in a temporary facility since July last year. AT&T established the foundry — its second such facility — alongside Israeli tech company Amdocs, and the company describes the Innovation Center as a “collaborative environment where AT&T and technology providers work with start-ups and developers to get the latest innovations and services into the hands of AT&T customers more quickly than ever before.” Startups and developers with products deemed worthy of the program are granted a direct line to experts in their field and ultimately, perhaps, to millions of AT&T customers. “The AT&T Foundry network is a collaborative environment where AT&T researchers, key industry technology providers and developers from all over the world innovate in new ways,” said AT&T CTO John Donovan in a statement. “Project managers drive project development in 30- and 90-day sprints that allow us to cut the time required to evolve great ideas into products and services by two thirds.” AT&T’s full press release can be found below. More →

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Microsoft teases 3D capabilities coming soon to Xbox 360?

By on June 14, 2011 at 3:13 PM.

Microsoft teases 3D capabilities coming soon to Xbox 360?

Microsoft’s Israeli research and development team may have recently teased an upcoming Xbox 360 feature that is sure to interest a few gamers out there: 3D. Late last month, Microsoft’s R&D team posted a link from its official Twitter account pointing to a Hebrew-language Gadgety.co.il post about an interesting rumor. In a nutshell, the rumor suggests that Microsoft is currently prepping a software update for the Xbox 360 that will enable HD stereoscopic 3D. Included with Microsoft’s tweet was a question that translates to: “what do you think of a 3D console?” Now, companies don’t typically draw attention to baseless rumors, so we’re thinking someone at Microsoft got a little excited and might have slipped up, especially when considering the playful question posed alongside the link. The initial report suggested Microsoft’s 3D feature would be introduced at E3 2011, but that obviously didn’t happen, possibly because the software was not yet ready to be shown off. We have a feeling Xbox fans could be in store for a treat soon, however, and an announcement in the coming months definitely wouldn’t surprise us. A screenshot of Microsoft’s tweet can be seen after the break in. More →

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Google to acquire Modu patents for $4.9 million

By on May 19, 2011 at 11:30 AM.

Google to acquire Modu patents for $4.9 million

Google was recently granted permission to purchase a patent portfolio previously held by Modu, a now defunct Israeli cell phone maker that couldn’t find a market for its minuscule mobile phones. Modu emerged in 2008 touting a peculiar modular cell phone that could be placed in a variety of sleeves to perform different functions. The unique phones, while certainly interesting, lacked mass appeal and were only picked up by a few carriers. Modu would later unveil several new tiny cell phone models as it prepared for an IPO, but the company would instead be forced to shutter its operations when it ran out of cash. Proceeds from Google’s $4.9 million IP purchase will be used to pay back Modu’s creditors and former Modu employees who are still due wages. Google is likely eyeing future Android functionality that might be made possible by its acquisition of Modu’s patent portfolio, though the company has not revealed any plans related to Modu’s former patents. More →

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Modu cancels IPO, braces for layoffs

By on November 18, 2010 at 2:00 PM.

Modu cancels IPO, braces for layoffs

From the brink of an IPO to the brink of mass layoffs, Modu appears to be in deep trouble. The Israel-based company, known for building very tiny, very quirky phones, has turned its back on a recent IPO attempt. According to Israeli financial paper Calcalist, there was simply no interest in the company. Instead, CEO Dov Moran said Modu would be forced to let go of most of its staff. “My heart hurts but [I] had no choice,” Moran told Calcalist. The company currently employs 130 people but only a few dozen will remain on board to sell the company’s current cell phone models. Moran did not state whether or not the company should release its recently-announced Modu W, a small Android-based device that uses Wi-Fi to make cheap VoIP calls rather than sending voice calls over cellular networks. More →

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Asus EeePad EP90, dual-core 1 GHz Tegra processor

By on October 5, 2010 at 9:44 AM.

Asus EeePad EP90, dual-core 1 GHz Tegra processor

There is one trend in the mobile market we would like to see more of: dual-core tablets. Israeli newspaper Ynet is reporting that Asus is due to release a 8.9-inch touchscreen tablet known as the EP90. The EP90 will have a 1024 x 600 pixel resolution (same as the Galaxy Tab), weigh in at 650 grams (30 grams lighter than the Wi-Fi iPad), have a dual-core 1 GHz Tegra processor, and come in a 16 GB and 32 GB model. The translation of the article is a little dicey, but we do see mention of an HDMI-out port, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, 0.3 megapixel front-facing camera, and a 4-6 hour battery life. The article does not mention what operating system the tablet will run — according to PC World, Asus’ 8-inch tablet offerings can run either Android or Windows Embedded — but the publication’s suggestion that the E90 will be able to “run Microsoft’s Office suite” makes Windows Embedded 7 the prime candidate. Release date and price-point were not mentioned in the article, although Ynet suggests that the E90 will be targeting enterprise customers. More →

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MobileRL wants you to download its software so it can spy on you!

By on December 25, 2009 at 11:31 AM.

MobileRL wants you to download its software so it can spy on you!

Picture 6With rising concerns for privacy these days, advertisers are having an increasingly difficult time gathering personal consumer data. MobileRL, an Israeli start-up, is looking to change or “revolutionize” the way information is collected for ad purposes. The Israeli company wants you to download software onto your phone which will allow them to turn it into an eavesdropping device. Your phone’s microphone can be turned on at any time, at MobileRL’s discretion, so it can listen to what’s going on at any given time. This new “data collection tool” is obviously going to need user consent since you have to download it yourself, so that might mitigate most legal issues (unless you live in a place where they can force something like this on you). But we know the real issue here, and if they can turn your phone’s microphone on at any time and run it for how long they want, how will that affect your phone’s battery life?

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