Monthly Archives: July 2010

From beyondbrics

This Saturday, Apple will open its second set of doors to 1.3bn potential Chinese iGeeks – this time in Shanghai. The store, which sits right next to the gleaming Shanghai Financial Centre in Puding, bears a strikingly resemblance to the company’s flagship outlet on New York’s 5th Avenue.

Yesterday the Oriental Morning Post reported that Apple will aim to match Louis Vuitton’s China presence – suggesting another 23 stores in the pipeline by 2012. China Tech News says that the second Shanghai store – in the Hong Kong plaza – will open over the summer too. Apple’s first Chinese store opened two years ago in Beijing (pictured) just in time for the 2008 Olympics. Read more

Chris Nuttall

With Western Digital and Seagate Technology fighting a neck-and-neck battle to be the world’s leading hard-drive maker, Hitachi is appearing as a dark horse in third with a new range of external drive products.

Its LifeStudio series, available in stores from Friday, is its first foray into more consumer-friendly products and includes some unusual hardware and software features. Read more

Are the seeds already being sown for the next technology down cycle?  Prospects of a downturn seem remote, given how strong demand for consumer electronics, PCs, and smartphones remain, and how major tech manufacturers are looking forward to a second wave of demand from long-suppressed corporate IT spending.

A new report by Standard and Poors, however, warns that profitability of Taiwanese technology companies may weaken after this year given their aggressive capacity expansion plans.  Read more

Chris Nuttall

Sony and Spain have their eyes on the prize of world domination in 3D and soccer respectively, with the former treating media to a viewing of the latter’s World Cup semi-final victory on Wednesday on two 60-inch Sony Bravia 3D TVs.

But executives still faced questions about whether competitors were more on the ball, with Sony tackling them later and pricing 3D higher. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Can flattery really get you everywhere? Even if you’re a notorious pirate?

Until last year, Peter Sunde was the scourge of record labels and film studios as one of the founders of the Pirate Bay, the “unauthorised” music and movie downloading site. Now he’s hoping to change the economics of content again with a new venture, Flattr.

Having become famous for facilitating free downloads, Mr Sunde wants to make the web pay with his combination of tip jar, micropayment scheme and Facebook’s Like button.

Mr Sunde says this isn’t as inconsistent with online piracy as it might at first appear. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Sony’s launch of a slimmed down PlayStation 3 last September at a lower price led to a sustained sales lift and Microsoft would welcome a similar boost for its smaller version of the Xbox 360.

There are no price cuts with the $300 Xbox 360 S, announced at the E3 show in June, but added features such as built-in wireless connectivity mean better value for money. Read more

Paul Taylor

Summer holidays are upon us and in this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section, we look at the gadgets to take and how to protect them from sun, sea and sand.

There are reviews of ruggedised cameras, protective casings, charging on-the-go and how to avoid a big roaming cell phone bill on your return. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Facebook, the biggest gaming platform in the world with nearly 500m members, will inevitably “screw up” its position, according to the president of rival social network Hi5.

Alex St John, formerly founder of the WildTangent casual gaming company, said Zynga, the biggest and most successful game publisher on Facebook’s social network, is also facing major challenges. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Google‘s working practices are famously weird. Its chief executive, Eric Schmidt, argues that chaos is crucial to its corporate culture. Others say it’s just this sort of disorganisation that leads to snafus such as StreetView cars intercepting WiFi data.

But Mr Schmidt has no plans to change things.

“It’s very tempting to try to organise the chaos of Google. You would hope the CEO would be able to do that,” Mr Schmidt told the Guardian’s Activate conference in London on Thursday evening. But the “essence of the company is a little bit of disorganisation”, he said, because that allows it to see “what’s next”.

Mr Schmidt went on to stress the importance of 20 per cent time to Google, even saying that he himself took up the opportunity to spend one day a week on personal projects. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The US video game industry remains in Dead Man’s Gulch despite the success of a spaghetti Western title in May.

The latest figures from the NPD research firm show Take-Two shifted more than 1.5m copies of Red Dead Redemption as the best-selling game of the month, but overall industry sales fell 5 per cent on a year ago to $823m, with console sales down 20 per cent at $241m. Read more

Joseph Menn

(Adds that one Steve Jobs email was faked and that Apple has pledged a software “fix.”)

Apple may see no serious issues with the iPhone 4′s reception, but several plaintiffs’ lawyers have stepped forward to disagree.

Notwithstanding a number of emails from Apple chief executive Steve Jobs urging disgruntled buyers to keep calm and stay tuned–implying a software amelioration is in the works–customer lawsuits seeking class-action status have begun to hit the courts. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Amazon’s new Kindle DX, available on July 7, is the first eReader to feature E Ink‘s Pearl technology, enabling a contrast ratio 50 per cent better than the previous DX.

The improvement is a necessary upgrade in order for E Ink to produce its first colour screens by the end of the year. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The Research@Intel Day features fascinating concepts that may never evolve into full-blown products. But this year’s event, held at the Computer History Museum on Wednesday, had one great idea for the home that is already in limited production.

In a demonstration of Simple Energy Sensing, the “rock star” researchers of the world’s biggest chipmaker showed off a plug-like device that can be inserted into any socket in the home to provide comprehensive information on how every electrical device on the power grid is operating. Read more