Monthly Archives: July 2010

Joseph Menn

Most of the organised hacking rings aiming at bank fraud these days are stealing login credentials and then taking advantage of the relatively recent opportunities provided by online account access, wire transfers and other means for mis-shipping electronic funds.

But a newly discovered Russian group was using networks of compromised personal computers and techniques for hacking into databases to write $9m in counterfeit checks, thought until now to be the purview mainly of old-time loners. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Intel is literally exploding our concepts of computers with a new optical connection that could scatter the innards of a PC far and wide.

The chipmaker expects wide usage of light beams rather than electronic signals to link the parts of PCs by 2015 and says their long range means components could be spread throughout a building rather than contained in a box. Read more

MediaTek is going decidedly upscale. The Taiwanese company, the biggest supplier of mobile phone chips to China, was until a year ago still best known as the enabler of gray market ‘bandit phones’ that flooded Chinese and other emerging markets.Within the past year, however, MediaTek has increasingly sold its chips to top-tier international phone brands such as Samsung and LG, and expanded its repertoire to include an advanced third-generation chip for smartphones. On Tuesday it announced its next step – licensing fourth-generation LTE technology from Japan’s NTT Docomo.

 Read more

Chris Nuttall

Pace has announced a proposed $475m acquisition of Silicon Valley’s 2Wire, in a move that will add telecom companies to the number-one set-top box maker’s existing cable and satellite customers in the US.

Pace going for a triple-play of industries to serve is another sign of the major strategic shifts taking place as different sectors converge on delivering content and services to consumers over the internet. Read more

Richard Waters

Cellphone makers do not want you to think about radiation when you go out to buy a new handset. It might make the retail experience a little less pleasurable.

That looks like the motivation behind a lawsuit filed on Friday in San Francisco to try to prevent disclosure of phone radiation levels on product packaging – something required by that city’s new ordinance.  San Francisco’s move was the first of its kind in the US, so the mobile industry has decided to take a stand.

But what possible legal argument could there be for preventing point-of-sale disclosure of phone radiation levels? Read more

Paul Taylor

It seems you can have it all with laptops these days – thin and light notebooks that are equally light on the wallet and offer long battery life as well.

In this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section, we look at the new, more affordable Portégé range from Toshiba and how it shapes up against offerings from Apple, Dell and Lenovo. Read more

Joseph Menn

Apple had good news and bad news on the iPhone 4 product front today.

The good: As promised, it started letting previous and current buyers choose from a number of free cases, which insulate and protect the antenna that can drop calls when touched with the human hand.

The bad: Apple said unexplained fabrication issues with the white iPhones would delay their release again, until “later this year”. Those devices have “continued to be more challenging to manufacture than we originally expected” Apple said in a two-sentence news release–and presumably more challenging than it expected just a month ago, when it promised the models in July. Read more

Richard Waters

Facebook notches up new user milestones with such regularity it’s easy to forget how fast its business potential is growing.

A year ago, when board member Marc Andreessen came out and predicted the service would reach 1bn users, it sounded like hype. Not so now, with the half-billion figure reached on Wednesday and 1bn widely seen as all but inevitable.

If Facebook’s revenues really are running at the rumoured $1bn a year (and from what we can tell, that number isn’t far off), that means it’s making $2 a year off the average user.

Consider how that compares to other internet companies – and bear in mind that unlike others, Facebook actually has an account relationship with all 500m. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Microsoft has announced a mixed bag of pricing for its Kinect motion controller and a new version of its Xbox 360.

The low $200 price for a 4-gigabyte version of the Xbox 360 S coming in August may give Microsoft an advantage over Sony and Nintendo in new console sales, but existing Xbox owners may baulk at paying an extra $150 for a Kinect sensor, available from November 4. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Cloud Engines has launched a small-business version of its Pogoplug device that makes remote access to files simpler.

In looks, the Pogoplug Biz is the same as the consumer version but lurid pink has been abandoned for a more sober black-and-white colour scheme. Read more