Monthly Archives: February 2013

Tim Bradshaw

In a move that has raised eyebrows in legal and technology circles, Samsung has hired a former British appeals-court judge, who reprimanded the electronics giant’s patent opponent Apple last year, to be its expert witness in another intellectual property trial. Read more

Richard Waters

IBM’s board of directors got nervous recently when they were told that the company had uncovered higher levels of employee expense fraud.

Mark Loughridge, chief financial officer, says he had a response: “There’s nothing going on here: we’re just catching everyone.” Read more

There aren’t many markets where, when the old products have failed, customers flock back for more.

That could explain why the leading lights of computer security – who have converged on San Francisco this week for their industry’s biggest gathering – have been struggling to strike the right tone.

 Read more

Chris Nuttall

TuneIn, the leading internet radio aggregator, is launching new features making it easier for listeners to find more of what they like among its more than 70,000 radio stations.

TuneIn Live is a new tiled interface on its website and featured in an updated iPad app launched today that surfaces favourite artists and programmes based on genres chosen by listeners. Read more

As iPhones and iPads have become normal accessories for upper middle class professionals, so too have new and hand-me-down cellphones and tablets become essential school supplies for their children.

Teachers have responded to the trend, incorporating the gadgets into their daily lesson plans. But that is widening the educational gulf between students and schools that can afford to keep up with the latest digital technologies, and those who cannot, according to a new report.

A survey of 2,500 US middle and high school teachers by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project revealed 52 per cent of teachers in upper-income schools say their students use their personal cell phones in class to look up information and complete assignments, compared to 35 per cent in low-income schools. Read more

India may be the world’s second largest mobile phone market by users but so far it hasn’t been a major focus for Apple. In the absence of the iPhone, Samsung and BlackBerry have led the way in the country.

More recently, however, that has begun to change. Just as BlackBerry launches its first smartphone in India under the BlackBerry 10 operating system, Apple is joining the fray with a big push in the developing market.

 Read more

Chris Nuttall

Leap Motion has announced a ship date and retail price for its eagerly anticipated motion controller for PCs and Macs.

The sensor, the size of a pack of chewing gum, is shipping later than planned and at a higher price. It ships on May 13, when the previous launch date had been “early 2013”. It will cost $80 – $10 more than the previous pre-order price. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Just for a change, Apple investors are jumpy. After ticking about 1 per cent lower throughout Tuesday morning, Apple stock suddenly leapt in high-volume trading just after lunch to close up 1.4 per cent for the day.

The reason for this latest share-price volatility seems to be a fresh bout of speculation circulating on Twitter about what Apple might announce at Wednesday’s annual shareholder meetingRead more

Tim Bradshaw

As a now-famous YouTube clip from 2010 shows, kids as young as 2 can operate an iPad, quickly learning how to open apps and play games. Unfortunately, some parents who used their iPad or iPhone as a babysitter ended up with a steep bill when their kids spent hundreds of dollars on virtual items in “free” games.

Five disgruntled parents blamed Apple for failing to provide appropriate controls around in-app purchases, and together filed a class-action lawsuit against the iPhone maker in 2011.

After fighting the case for two years, Apple agreed to settle last week, according to court filings first spotted by GigaOmRead more

Richard Waters

Google’s Chromebook laptops have always felt more like demonstrations of the art of the possible than products you necessarily want to use every day. What they do, they do spectacularly well: it’s just that they aren’t quite the finished article.

The new Chromebook Pixel lives up to that track record. Its high-definition screen is a gorgeous bright rectangle you can’t resist reaching out to stroke. But for most users, the love affair will still feel incomplete. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Samsung’s latest flagship Galaxy smartphone looks set to be unveiled on March 14, according to the company’s postings on Twitter and Facebook, as the Korean giant prepares its latest volley against Apple’s iPhone.

A flyer for the launch event, held in New York and livestreamed on YouTube, invites fans to “come and meet the next Galaxy”, expected to be the S4. The device will be the follow-up to its best-selling Galaxy S3 and is rumoured to include a larger, 5-inch display with full-HD, 1080p resolution. Read more

Chris Nuttall

HP has sold its webOS operating system, developed by its Palm acquisition for smartphones and tablets, to LG Electronics, which plans to adapt it for consumer electronics devices such as smart TVs.

The move comes as little surprise – HP had abandoned development of webOS-based products and announced an Android-based tablet at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the weekend. Read more

A web games company is about to test the appetite for Chinese floats in the US in one of the first such deals since the accounting scandals that rocked many Chinese companies in 2011. is the games subsidiary of, a Chinese online game developer that in turn is majority-owned by Nasdaq-listed

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Sony teased gamers with details of its next-generation PlayStation 4, expected to launch around Christmas, at an event in New York this week. But with no console to be seen, promises of improved graphics and social gaming features did not appease the concerns of those who worry that the group could be close to losing its last chance at a comeback. Read more

Blake Ross, a director of product at Facebook, has signalled his departure from the company, adding his name to a growing list of employees to decamp in the months after the social network’s botched initial public offering.

Mr Ross offered vague plans for his next steps in a post on his Facebook page: “It’s just time for me to try new things,” he said. Read more

There is an empathy gap in technology development. In the analytic, data-driven world of Silicon Valley, emotions often do not get factored into the latest product design.

This comes down to the way engineers and technicians think, says Anthony Jack, the director of the mind, brain, and consciousness lab at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. The more people exercise the analytic functions of their brains, the less empathetic they become. Likewise, when we empathise, we turn off the analytic function of the brain.

“There is a cognitive tension between these two different types of understanding,” he said. Read more

Richard Waters

There seems to be a sea-change underway in the willingness of companies to admit when they have been the victims of cyber attacks. More have been coming forward, even when they appear to have no legal obligation. But the timing and nature of the disclosures differs greatly.

Take Microsoft’s apparent admission that it has succumbed to the same attack that has hit several other big tech companies. Compared even with Apple, traditionally the tech industry’s most secretive company, its disclosure was both late and light on detail. Read more

Twitter co-founder Evan Williams is building his current start-up with a completely different business – and spiritual – structure in mind.

The freewheeling, non-hierarchical organisation popular in Silicon Valley technology companies is not the order of the day at Obvious Corporation, the re-launched incubator and web publishing platform Mr Williams founded with comrades Biz Stone and Jason Goldman in the pre-Twitter days.

“People romanticise start-up culture,” he said, speaking at the Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco on Friday. “People think: Freedom! No job descriptions! Damn with the rules! Actually, it creates tons of anxiety and inefficiency.” Read more

Richard Waters

IBM has a tried and trusted method for turbo-charging its growth in promising new IT markets: rebrand its existing efforts in the field in question, boast about all the investments it’s already made – and then promise to double them.

Analytics, security and ecommerce have all come in for this kind of treatment, making them bright spots in an otherwise low-growth company. Now it’s the turn of mobile computing. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Wooga, the social games developer behind Diamond Dash and Monster World, said it was profitable last year, but indicated that it had no immediate plans to follow rival Zynga onto the public markets.

“We were profitable for the year 2012,” said Jens Begemann, Wooga’s founder and chief executive at a press briefing in San Francisco where he also unveiled four new gamesRead more