Monthly Archives: January 2009

Chris Nuttall

Google NotebookGoogle has been doing some house-cleaning in terms of phasing out services it sees as having limited potential.

Unfortunately, judging by the angry response, it has undermined some of the trust it has built up with users in the process. Read more

Richard Waters

On the surface, it sounds a bit of a stretch. With cloud computing in its infancy and most big companies still wary of handing over control of their data, matters of national security sound far too important to be outsourced to someone else’s data centre.

Still, that hasn’t stopped Amazon, which has been helping to set the early pace in this new market, from trying. Our sharp-eyed correspondent Jonathan Birchall spotted this job advert (for someone to develop a government market for cloud computing services) on the retailer’s web site. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Carol Bartz (pic from Yahoo Anecdotal blog)Carol Bartz has just finished her first conference call as Yahoo’s new chief executive. The 60-year-old former Autodesk CEO made a debut that was Sarah Palin-like in its feistiness with comments to analysts such as wanting Yahoo to “kick butt” and a strident appeal for everyone to “give this company some friggin’ breathing room.”

It sounds like Yahoo employees should belt up for an interesting ride with the no-nonsense software veteran. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Intel kioskOne trend you can expect to see in 2009 is much more intelligence displayed by traditionally dumb devices, everything from digital picture frames to cash registers.

Intel on Monday showed off a proof-of-concept model for a point-of-sale terminal at the National Retail Federation Convention in New York. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Bill WatkinsTech journalists will be mourning the departure today of Bill Watkins as chief executive of Seagate Technology, the world’s biggest maker of hard-disk drives.

He was the most candid and colourful CEO in Silicon Valley, never afraid to tell it the way he saw it and provide a great quote. Read more

Chris Nuttall

HP Smart Display@CES, Las Vegas - One significant trend to frame and hang on the wall from the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show, which ends today, is the increasing sophistication of digital picture frames (DPFs).

Wireless connectivity and high-performance multimedia processors are beginning to give them functionality far beyond the usual digital slideshows of family snaps. Read more

Chris Nuttall

MediaFLO@CES, Las Vegas -The Digital TV Transition in the US on February 19  will not only produce sharper pictures in the living room but will also boost TV on mobile phones.

Qualcomm, which offers its MediaFLO TV service over cell phones, said this week that the turning off of the analogue TV signals would free up spectrum and allow an expansion of its network. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Lila Ibrahim and the new Classmate PC@CES, Las Vegas - Non-profit attempts to bring affordable computing to the developing world suffered a setback this week, while there were a couple of steps forward at the Consumer Electronics Show for commercial efforts.

Nicholas Negroponte, founder of One Laptop Per Child, announced a 50 per cent cut in his team and pay cuts for the remaining 32 people. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Carol BartzYahoo has moved a little closer to naming its new chief executive, with at least two of the three candidates on the shortlist being women, according to reports.

People close to the situation had been guiding us to expect an announcement around the end of January on who will succeed Jerry Yang, but they now say it may come just ahead of Yahoo’s fourth-quarter results, scheduled for January 27. Read more

David Gelles

sf-1100s-cpv-28.jpgIn what promises to be a dismal year for cleantech investment, there are two early bright spots.

Today SolFocus, a Silicon Valley company developing concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) technology, announced that it has raised $47m in series C financing. And earlier this week ZeaChem, a Colorado startup aiming to produce cellulosic ethanol, announced it raised $34m in series B financing. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Firebird@CES, Las Vegas - What are the opposite of small, cheap, modestly powered netbooks for the masses?

How about big, expensive, high-end PCs for gamers?

If netbook sales are going to grow 80 per cent in 2009, according to Consumer Electronics Association forecasts, as consumers become more budget-conscious in a recession, does this mean sales of $4,000 to 6,000 PCs will plummet? Read more

Richard Waters

Palm Pre@CES, Las Vegas – That was Wall Street’s verdict on Thursday when the struggling company showed off its long-awaited new operating system and the new Pre smartphone (the stock bounced by 35 per cent, though it’s still 50 per cent off its 12-month high).

If you really had to bet your company on a single gadget, this is not a bad one to pick. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Webbie HD@CES, Las VegasFlip camcorders from San Francisco’s Pure Digital were Christmas best-sellers in the US, but electronics giant Sony has hit back in January with its own take on the low-priced point-and-shoot video cameras.

It unveiled a new line of camcorders called “Webbie HD” at its press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show on Wednesday evening, with the MHS-PM1 (pictured) paying homage to the Flip’s design and features. Read more

Richard Waters

Cisco music system@CES, Las Vegas – What matters most about media is how easy it is to manage and move around.

That is the animating principle behind both Cisco and Microsoft’s view of the digital home. To judge from what each company has had to show off at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, it will define competition between the two for years to come. Read more

Paul Taylor

MSI x320@CES, Las Vegas: Apple, which claims its MacBook Air is the thinnest portable PC on the market, faces new competition from an unexpected source – Taiwan-based Micro Star International.

MSI, best known for its PC motherboards and ‘Wind’ netbook PCs, used the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to launch the ultra-thin X-Slim X320 notebook – a low-cost machine that looks remarkably similar to the MacBook Air but runs Microsoft Windows. Read more

Richard Waters

The jumpiness is understandable: job cuts are certainly coming (and have started in some places, such as EMC’s announcement today that it will slim its workforce by around 6 per cent.) But it’s simply too early to tell how deep they will eventually be, and the most pessimistic predictions at the moment remain largely speculative.

Take the suggestion on tech blog Fudzilla last week that Microsoft was about to slash 15,000 jobs (this “news” got a surprising amount of coverage, no doubt owing to the general lack of other things to report at the time.) Read more

Richard Waters

Not much was expected from a Macworld without Steve Jobs, but it was instructive nonetheless to ponder today how an Apple no longer fronted by the tech world’s arch showman might look.

Stand-in Phil Schiller did a passable job – though nearly an hour of software demos (new versions of iLife and iWork) made this feel more like the sort of event Microsoft would throw (and probably will later this week, when Steve Ballmer kicks off the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas). Read more

Chris Nuttall

Ge Wang plays his OcarinaApart from a controversial keynote on Tuesday, this year’s Macworld show in San Francisco is likely to be a celebration of all things app-related.

The App Store for iPhone and iPod touch games and applications was a major success story for Apple in 2008, with more than 10,000 added since its mid-year launch and more than 300m downloads recorded. Read more

Chris Nuttall

TwitterTwitter, the micro-blogging service, is finding scammers can find a way of stealing identities even when they have only 140 characters or less to work with.

On Saturday, the service put out a warning that users may receive direct messages from services with links to what is purported to be Twitter, which could encourage them to give away their login information. Read more