Monthly Archives: January 2010

The reports from Beijing of signs of popular Chinese sympathy with Google’s threat to pull out of the country, in protest at censorship, are fascinating. I wonder whether those photos of wreaths being laid outside Google headquarters in Beijing, could one day be as famous as the statue of liberty photos, taken in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Read more

David Gelles

In the immediate aftermath of Tuesday’s catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, celebrities and aid organisations began making an unusual appeal to Americans: pick up your mobile phone and text.

Both the Red Cross and Yele Haiti, a charity founded by Haitian-born singer Wyclef Jean, are accepting donations via text that will be put towards relief funds for the devastated island nation. In just over 24 hours, more than $2m has been raised.

Anyone with a mobile phone can text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross, or “YELE” to 501501 to donate $5 to Yele Haiti. Users then get a text asking for confirmation, and with another “YES” text the donation is complete. Read more

Richard Waters

On a day when cyber-attacks are item number one in the tech news, it does not look like the most auspicious moment to launch a long-term alliance around cloud computing.

But for Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, which said they would spend $250m over the next three years to extend their existing partnership deeper into cloud services, the timing makes perfect sense.

Alliances are hardening and battle lines are being drawn around the next computing platform. With Cisco moving steadily onto both companies’ turf, it’s a natural step to deepen one of the tech industry’s longer-standing partnerships. Read more

Paul Taylor

Apple’s success in lifting its share of the PC market  (to about 9.4 per cent in the 2009 third quarter in the US according to IDC and to about 5 per cent in the UK) can be a double-edged sword for Mac users.

A larger Mac user base means a more dynamic Mac ecosystem, but it also makes Macs a more attractive target for malware creators and while the market for Windows-based anti-malware products is large and pretty competitive, there are still relatively few comprehensive security suites available for the Mac.

 Read more

Richard Waters

“Whatever happens, they’re not getting out of China.”

That was the immediate reaction of one prominent Google rival to Tuesday’s announcement that the search company will stop censoring local search results in China, even if that means leaving the country.

Or is that actually what Google announced?

On closer reading, Google’s statement – made in a blog posting – may not be quite as clear-cut as it seems. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Bill Watkins, the former Seagate Technology chief executive, has chosen the lighting industry for his return to the CEO’s role.

Mr Watkins will lead Silicon Valley startup Bridgelux, which is driving down the cost and increasing the luminescence of LEDs with its technology.

“It’s the best thing I’ve come across in decades, this is how we felt about storage back in 1980, this is a $100bn market for general lighting,” he told me. Read more

Maija Palmer

Amobee mediaConsolidation in the mobile advertising market continues at breakneck pace. After Google’s proposed $750m acquisition of AdMob and Apple’s $275m bid for Quattro, Amobee is now buying RingRing Media of the UK for an unspecified – but probably much smaller –  amount.

California-based Amobee said the deal would result in a combined company bigger than Quattro in terms of revenues and number of ads served each month. Analysts at IDC estimate Quattro has around $21m in mobile ad revenues, giving it around 7 per cent of the market. Both would still be dwarfed by the combined Google/Admob, which would have nearly a quarter of the market with revenues of $68m. Read more

Paul Taylor

Hundreds if not thousands of new gadgets made their debut at  the Las Vegas CES last week, including some that will have little or no impact on the CE market. In contrast, the arrival of the latest version of the USB data transfer standard –  dubbed SuperSpeed USB 3.0 – was largely overlooked although it is likely to have a big impact on the consumer electronics industry.

It is five years since the USB 2.0 standard was rolled out, providing a common high speed data transfer protocol for a swath of CE devices ranging from external hard drives to smartphones.  Since then however, read/write speeds have continued to climb and USB 2.0, which has a maximum theoretical throughput of 480Mbps, has become something of a data transfer bottleneck. Read more

Richard Waters

This is embarrassing. Last week I was putting a new Nexus One supplied by Google through its paces at the CES show in Las Vegas (more about that below) when… I dropped it.

Nothing new about that, I drop things all the time – I’ve dropped a MyTouch Android phone so many times the cover’s beaten and scratched.

The Nexus One didn’t come out of it so well, though. Below the glass, hairline cracks appeared. The image started to darken and wrinkle in places. A day later, it was unusable. That’s five days to destroy a $590 device. How am I going to explain that to Google? Read more

Chris Nuttall

The2010 Consumer Electronics Show , which closed in Las Vegas on Sunday, was arguably the best in years in featuring products ready for primetime rather than the vapourware often on display.

Sony impressed with its 3D-readiness, there were plenty of appealing eReaders and smartphones on show, while new netbooks, smartbooks and tablets galore are on their way to the PC market.

Our round-up of the best of CES is after the jump with links to the announcements, our coverage and reviews from other tech sites. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The latest technology in Las Vegas was not confined to the Consumer Electronics Show this week.

I stayed at the Aria Hotel , part of the new CityCenter complex, whose guest suites feature the most hi-tech gadgetry of any hotel room in the US. However, the hotel has been open for less than a month and its systems were suffering from more than their fair share of bugs. Read more

Maija Palmer

copyrightIt is another change of tactics in a war that has been going on for 50 years. This week, consumer electronics companies led by Apple, HP, Sony, Panasonic and Research In Motion, broke off the latest round of talks to reform the Europe’s convoluted system of private copy levies.

The copy levies are surcharges placed on devices such as MP3 players and printers by 22 European countries, to compensate writers, artists, and musicians for small amounts of personal copying of their material. It is not to be confused with illegal filesharing; the copy levies are intended to cover handfuls of copies in the private sphere, which many countries allow. Read more

Chris Nuttall

It’s the year of 3D if you believe Sir Howard Stringer, Sony chief executive, it’s the year of the tablet, according to Jen-Hsun Huang, Nvidia CEO.

Judging by the products unveiled at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, it could also be the year of the eReader, the year of the smartbook, the year of internet TVs and many other new devices.

Our correspondents at CES have been donning their 3D glasses to discuss the week’s announcements in a special edition of FT Techtalk. Chris Nuttall and  Paul Taylor had some of the bad internet connections and logistical holdups that typify CES, but you can read a transcript of their conversation earlier today below. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Sony had a bestseller of a Christmas with its Reader devices  in the US, according to executives here at CES in Las Vegas,  and Qualcomm is expecting to spice up the market with colour displays in 2010.

December sales of the Reader were four times the value of the previous year, eReaders were the biggest growth area for Sony Electronics in the run up to Christmas and had the largest unit volume of all its products, according to Steve Haber, president of its digital reading division. Read more

Richard Waters

It would be really nice to be able to believe in the success of the  Que proReader (and not just because the Financial Times is one of the publishers that has done a deal with Plastic Logic, the company that makes the device).

The history of the Que is one of those compelling technology stories that leaves you rooting for the people behind it, and the wide vision that it represents is infectious. Like all ambitious visions, though, this one relies on perfect execution.

Until the full reviews are in I’ll suspend final judgment, but my fear is that CEO Rich Archuleta’s claim that the Que marks the arrival of the “paperless briefcase” will end up being filed with all those similar promises of “paperless offices” we’ve heard over the years. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Sky News – which famously became one of the first media organisations to appoint a “Twitter correspondent” last year – is now issuing all its web reporters with tools for scanning social media for stories.

Every journalist in the online newsroom has had Tweetdeck – which provides a more sophisticated interface for using Twitter, Facebook and other sites than do their own homepages – installed on their computerRead more

Paul Taylor

Sony quietly announced yesterday that its latest Cyber-shot digital cameras will be the first Sony point-and-shoot models to support SD and SDHC cards. The new cameras all offer hybrid storage-card slots that can handle both SD/SDHC and Sony’s proprietary Memory Stick format. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Sony’s Dash, unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show  on Wednesday, typifies the increasing number of hybrid products being made possible on small screens with internet connectivity.

Its mother is the digital photo frame (DPF) and its father could be a bedside alarm clock, but it has an elder brother in the Chumby , which seems to have had a big influence on the Dash. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Just to upstage all the other 3D TV announcements on Wednesday , Sony gave us a demonstration of dual 3D at its CES press conference.

Sir Howard Stringer, Sony chief executive, introduced his record label’s hottest artist Taylor Swift  and we all donned 3D glasses to watch her perform in real-life 3D against a 3D back projection of the broadcast of her and the band performing the song. Read more

Joseph Menn

Family-owned California internet filter maker CyberSitter filed a $2.2bn lawsuit Tuesday accusing China and major computer companies including Sony, Toshiba and Lenovo of stealing trade secrets and infringing on the group’s copyright by allegedly distributing its code with the Green Dam filter.

The claim that Chinese companies had taken thousands of lines of programming from CyberSitter had surfaced six months ago, when researchers found a major overlap. What will interest security professionals more is the company’s suggestion that the code or other proprietary data may have been hijacked by state-sponsored hackers. Read more