Monthly Archives: September 2012

Chris Nuttall

Intel has introduced the low-power Atom processor – codenamed Clover Trail – that carries its hopes of making a dent in the tablet market when Windows 8 launches on October 26.

But first, the chipmaker had to carry out a damage-limitation exercise at the launch event in San Francisco on Thursday, clearing up remarks reportedly made at a private company meeting in Taiwan by Paul Otellini, chief executive, that Windows 8 was still buggy and not ready. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Twitter has been touting its success as a “mobile first” social network, capitalising on the biggest perceived weakness of its main rival Facebook.

One recent estimate from eMarketer has even suggested that Twitter will generate more revenues from mobile ads than Facebook this year.

But new data show the scale of the threat that Twitter faces from explosive growth at Instagram, the photo-sharing app acquired by Facebook. Read more

iPhone 5

Apple iPhone 5
Rating: 5/5

The iPhone 5 went on sale a week ago and 5m handsets were sold in three days, despite the furore around its inaccurate Maps app. With competition looming from Nokia, BlackBerry and Android phones, how has Apple’s annual update added enough allure to the iPhone to ensure it stays ahead of the pack?

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The Apple maps fiasco brings to mind that old joke about what a European version of hell would be like: a place where the chefs are all English, the lovers are Swiss, and the Italians are left to make sure things run on time.

But like it or not, this is where the new mobile technology world could be headed. In the smartphone version of hell, the browsers and apps stores are modelled on a BlackBerry, the social networks are run by News Corp, and the hardware looks like the first Amazon Kindle. Apple’s new iPhone maps, which have a habit of mis-locating key buildings and public sites, are an honourable addition to this roster – though they will surely get better fast.

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Google sign

It has taken Wall Street a long time to warm to Google’s second act.

This week, however, stock market investors have finally thrown aside some of their wariness. By pushing the search company’s shares to their first record high in almost five years, they delivered a vote of confidence in the new, more diversified advertising business that has become the basis for Google’s latest surge of growth – while also giving an implicit thumbs-down to Facebook, whose short-term chances of putting Google in the shade, at least in business terms, have receded sharply.

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Mobile payment system
On a bright morning at the ultra-hip Sightglass Coffee shop in San Francisco this week, Brad Miller, a healthcare technology consultant, is in need of a cappuccino.

By the time he reaches the counter, his picture has magically appeared on the iPad the shop uses as its payment terminal. The assistant identifies him by his photo and taps the screen to confirm a sale, and Mr Miller picks up his beverage. As he walks out, a receipt drops on to his iPhone.

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Chris Nuttall

Windows 8 promises a new kind of pre-installed software next month, with the latest operating system featuring third-party pre-installed apps for the tiled interface formerly known as Metro.

This will be in addition to the often unwanted software pre-installed on the Windows desktop, although some programs, such as those being promised by CyberLink, are likely to prove superior to the Windows accessories included by Microsoft. Read more

Are smartphones about to swallow the payments business? Two events this week have given sharply contradictory answers.

The first was the $3.25bn valuation put on Square , a Silicon Valley payments start-up, by the company’s latest round of fundraising. This represents a huge bet, given that Square is a business with annualised revenues of only about $200m that is battling with the giants of the banking, retail and mobile industries.

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Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Rating: 4/5

The first ThinkPad laptops were introduced by IBM 20 years ago and Lenovo, which took over the brand in 2005, has maintained the tradition for durable, business-friendly machines that are much loved by “road warriors”.

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Chris Nuttall

Roku has announced pricing and availability for its Streaming Stick device that plugs into an HDTV to serve on-demand channels over the internet, without the need for a separate Roku set-top box.

The stick, about the size of a packet of chewing gum, will be available in the US in October for $100. It plugs into an HDMI port that is enabled for MHL technology – many new TVs and other devices are beginning to feature such ports – and does not need a separate power supply. Simple.TV followed up on Thursday with its own shipping announcement for its Broadcast TV -streaming box. Read more