On April 4th, 1975, two young programmers named Bill Gates and Paul Allen formed a partnership called “Micro-soft.” Gates was 22 years old at the time and Allen was just 19. The two young men had been friends since attending high school together in Seattle and after Allen took a job with MITS in Albuquerque, New Mexico in January 1975, Gates dropped out of his sophomore year at Harvard and moved to Albuquerque to form what would later become Microsoft. The pair moved from New Mexico to Bellevue, Washington in January 1979, and Microsoft would go on to incorporate on June 25th, 1981. The first Microsoft-powered IBM PC was unveiled later that year running Microsoft’s 16-bit MS-DOS 1.0 operating system, and the rest as they say, is history. Gates and Allen’s Microsoft went on to drive the personal computing boom that has taken place over the past three decades, and the firm’s upcoming Windows 8 OS looks to continue what the company’s founders started through the post-PC era and beyond. Happy birthday, Microsoft.
Android users who are looking to sell their old devices should be wary of the possible consequences. McAfee identity theft researcher Robert Siciliano warned that personal data from Android devices is not completely removed after a user activates the built-in wipe option, The Los Angeles Times reported on Friday. “What’s really scary is even if you follow protocol, the data is still there,” Siciliano said. If you have a BlackBerry or Apple device, Siciliano said your data can be fully deleted by following the manufacturer’s directions. As for smartphones running the Android operating system and computers running Windows XP, Siciliano recommends that people don’t bother with selling them at all. “Put it in the back of a closet, or put it in a vise and drill holes in the hard drive, or if you live in Texas take it out into a field and shoot it,” he said. “You don’t want to sell your identity for 50 bucks.” To test the security of various platforms, Siciliano purchased 30 smartphones and computers from Craigslist. The researcher was able to access personal data from 15 of the 30 devices through his own hacking efforts and the help of a forensic expert. The data obtained included bank account information, Social Security numbers, child support documents and credit card account log-ins. More →
The International Data Corporation on Wednesday announced that shipments of smart connected devices —including PCs, tablets and smartphones — reached 916 million units and surpassed $489 billion in revenue in 2011. “Whether it’s consumers looking for a phone that can tap into several robust ‘app’ ecosystems, businesses looking at deploying tablet devices into their environments, or educational institutions working to update their school’s computer labs, smart, connected, compute-capable devices are playing an increasingly important role in nearly every individual’s life,” said Bob O’Donnell, vice president of Clients and Displays at IDC. The firm estimates that worldwide shipments of smart connected devices will top 1.1 billion in 2012 and double to 1.84 billion by 2016. IDC’s numbers represent a compound annual growth rate of 15.4% over the next five years. The firm also predicts that the number of Android-powered devices running on ARM CPUs will grow from 29.4% in 2011 to a market-leading 31.1% share in 2016. Apple’s iOS-based devices, on the other hand, are estimated to grow from 14.6% share in 2011 to 17.3% in 2016. IDC’s press release can be found after the break. More →
Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday confirmed earlier reports of a major reorganization within the company. The firm plans to merge its Personal Systems Group, responsible for PCs, with its Imaging and Printing Group. Current boss of the company’s printer division Vyomesh Joshi will retire after 31 years at the company, and current PSG executive vice president Todd Bradley will run the combined operations. “This combination will bring together two businesses where HP has established global leadership,” HP CEO Meg Whitman said. “By providing the best in customer-focused innovation and operational efficiency, we believe we will create a winning scenario for customers, partners and shareholders.” HP’s full press release follows below. More →
Hewlett-Packard will reportedly soon undergo a reorganization that will see its Personal Systems Group merged with its Imaging and Printing Group. AllThingsD cites multiple unnamed sources in reporting the news, and additional details are light for the time being. Vyomesh Joshi, currently the executive vice president in charge of HP’s imaging and printing business, will leave the company as part of the reorganization. Executive vice president Todd Bradley will reportedly run the merged businesses. More →
Early rumors suggested that devices running Microsoft’s next-generation Windows 8 operating system might launch as soon as this summer, but a new report places the platform’s public release in the fourth quarter. Citing multiple unnamed sources, Bloomberg on Tuesday reported that Microsoft will complete work on Windows 8 this summer, and the first wave of PCs and tablets powered by the new OS will launch in October. Intel x86 and ARM-based devices will both become available at the same time, and Microsoft will reportedly announce its launch plans to industry partners during an event in April. BGR recently reviewed Microsoft’s Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which was unveiled during a press conference at Mobile World Congress last month, and we called it a first glimpse at the future of computing. More →
Apple on Wednesday unveiled its new iPad, a sleek slate with a stunning 2,048 x 1,536-pixel Retina Display, a speedy Apple A5X processor and embedded 4G LTE. The Cupertino, California-based company repeatedly tossed around its “post-PC” buzzword — Apple’s post-PC devices accounted for 76% of its revenue in the fourth quarter last year — and there is no question that the new iPad will be a hit. Does it spell the end for PCs, however? Not according to market research firm Gartner. Read on for more. More →
Apple is said to currently be considering the launch of a new MacBook Air notebook PC with a 14-inch display. Citing unnamed sources within Apple’s supply chain, DigiTimes on Wednesday reported that Apple is considering a 14-inch ultra-slim laptop computer to better address consumers in China, where 14-inch models have between 35% and 40% of the portable computer market. The site had previously reported that Apple is working on a 15-inch MacBook Air model, a claim that a number of other reports have mirrored. DigiTimes first reported that Apple will launch the 15-inch Air in the second quarter this year, but then issued a new report two weeks later stating that the 15-inch model was slated to launch in the first quarter of 2012 alongside new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models. It is unclear if DigiTimes is now suggesting that Apple will launch a 14-inch model in China and a 15-inch model for the rest of the world, or if the company is considering replacing the previously-rumored 15-inch model with a slightly smaller laptop. More →
Consumer technology hardware sales in the United States fell 0.5% percent in 2011, ending the year just shy of $144 billion according to market research firm The NPD Group. Roughly 60% of all sales were from PCs, TVs, tablets, eReaders, mobile phones and video game hardware, NPD said. Computers generated the most revenue with nearly $28 billion or roughly 20% of sales, with tablets and eReaders doubling sales to $15 billion in 2011. For the second year in a row, Apple led all consumer electronics brands and was the only one to increase sales during the holiday quarter, posting a 36% year-over-year increase. The Cupertino-based company accounted for 19% percent of all sales, almost double second-ranked Hewlett-Packard. Best Buy was the top retailer for the second year in a row, followed by Walmart and Apple respectively, with Staples and Amazon tied for fourth place. Online, direct mail and TV shopping channel sales increased 7% and accounted for 24% of all sales, up from 22% in 2010. Read on for NPD’s press release. More →
Taiwan-based Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute expects roughly 360 million combined personal computers and media tablets to ship in 2011, Taiwan Economic News reports. MIC sees PC shipments growing 6.6% over 2010 to land at more than 320 million units this year, and it thinks shipments of media tablets like Apple’s iPad 2ill w exceed 48 million units in 2011, up 198% from 2010. MIC senior industry analyst Chris Wei notes that the improving global economy and replacement PC purchases in the enterprise market would be largely responsible for this year’s growth. Needham & Company analyst Charlie Wolf recently estimated that Apple would ship 30 million iPad tablets in 2011, but the company will likely far exceed that figure if tablet shipments are indeed to surpass 48 million units as MIC predicts. More →
BGR’s Throwback Thursday segment is typically reserved for extinct tech, but this week we make an exception. On June 16th, 1911 — one hundred years ago today — Charles Ranlett Flint merged three companies to form the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company. Headquartered in New York City, CTR manufactured and sold scales, card-punch machines, meat slicers and a variety of other products that have long since been replaced by several generations of improved offerings. CTR changed its name to International Business Machines Corporation, or IBM, on February 14th, 1924, to better align its name with its wide range of products. IBM would hit its stride building tabulating devices, and it was at the forefront of developing the PCs we now take for granted. Now, 100 years later with a market capitalization of just under $200 billion, IBM remains a leader in the technology space, producing software and hardware that will shape the future of computing. Happy 100th, IBM, and here’s to 100 more.
BGR’s Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets, games, and software of yesterday and yesteryear.
During the Computex tradeshow in Tapei, NVIDIA’s CEO Huang Jen-hsun said that sales of tablet PCs will surpass notebook sales in five years, Taiwan Economic News reported on Tuesday. It’s certainly no secret that NVIDIA hopes to profit off of that market shift — the firm already has its dual-core Tegra 2 chip in a number of tablets and phones from Motorola, LG, Samsung, Acer, and ASUS — and NVIDIA’s chief said that 14 of the top 20 global wireless carriers currently sell devices powered by its Tegra mobile processor. NVIDIA has already started showing off the power of its next-generation Kal-El quad-core mobile processor, too, but Hung says the company won’t stop there. It’s charging forward and will roll out a total of three new GPU models featuring a 28nm process technology between 2012 and 2014. The next chips are codenamed Wayne, Logan, and Shark. More →
During a press event in Japan recently, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that Windows 8 would would launch sometime next year. His firm says otherwise. “It appears there was a misstatement,” a Microsoft spokesperson recently said in a statement. “We are eagerly awaiting the next generation of Windows 7 hardware that will be available in the coming fiscal year. To date, we have yet to formally announce any timing or naming for the next version of Windows.” Despite Microsoft’s statement, we could still hear more about Windows 8 much sooner — even if it doesn’t actually launch in the coming fiscal year. “As we progress through the year, you ought to expect to hear a lot about Windows 8,” Ballmer said in his speech. “Windows 8 slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors.’ According to ZDNet, we could see an early build of the operating system as soon as the D9 conference, which begins on June 31st. More →