Microsoft’s attempt to introduce consumers to the wonders of touch with Windows 8 amounted to a rough shove. The operating system’s poor reception has prompted a rethink and details of an updated version were unveiled on Thursday.
Windows 8.1, available as a preview from June 26, will bring back features familiar to and missed by Windows 7 users, including a Start button – but no Start menu – and the choice of not beginning their bootup experience with the touch-optimised “Modern” tile interface. Read more
As the hardware startups battling for a place in your “smart” home multiply, one area has become a key battlefront: the front door.
Lockitron, Kwikset’s Kevo, Kisi and others are already in various stages of development to create door locks that can be opened with a smartphone.
Now a San Francisco startup called August, led by serial entrepreneur Jason Johnson, is hoping to unlock the market with help from its designer co-founder, Yves Behar of Fuseproject. Read more
Two Silicon Valley companies delivering thousands of entertainment channels over the internet have announced significant funding rounds and milestones for their services.
Roku, whose set-top box delivers more than 700 channels of movies, TV, music, radio and web content, has received $60m in a Series F round, while TuneIn, which gives access to more than 70,000 radio stations, has bagged $25m in Series C funding. Read more
Apple chief executive Tim Cook’s comments overnight about the growing threat from Android will no doubt spark more speculation about a possible change of tack for Apple, such as producing a second iPhone with a larger screen or a lower price-point.
Cook wasn’t going to rule out a change – what level-headed CEO would? But it would also be unfair to say that Apple’s strategy isn’t working. Read more
Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook took the hot seat on Tuesday morning in Washington to answer questions about a tax planning strategy that has enabled it to avoid billions of dollars of taxes.
Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate investigations committee, set the tone with his opening remarks, noting that just in 2012, Apple had exploited tax loopholes allowing it to avoid $9bn in US taxes. Such practices, he said, did “real harm” to the US economy, disadvantaging domestic companies that don’t make use of “tax gimmicks”.
You can watch the hearing here, read Mr Cook’s written testimony here and read the Senate committee’s report on Apple’s tax structure here.
Yahoo bought Tumblr for its rambunctious community. Despite the coat of paint rapidly applied to its email, homepage and various apps since Marissa Mayer arrived as chief executive less than a year ago, Yahoo was still in need of an injection of youth and energy.
But in solving that problem, Tumblr may have created another for Yahoo. Ad execs and Wall Street analysts alike are voicing concerns about – along with gifs and memes – one of Tumblr’s most popular types of content: pornography. Read more
A new mobile service operator called ItsOn aims to shake up the US smartphone business by offering users the ability to tailor their voice, text and data plans precisely, and – perhaps most interestingly – buy data by the app.
The company’s Zact service – a play on the word ‘exact’ – operates as a cloud-based mobile virtual network operator, buying capacity on Sprint Nextel’s 4G/LTE network and reselling it to its own customers via a smartphone app or web page.
Splashpath founder Dan Morgan (left) with Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps
London startup Active in Time has taken the path less traveled to financing by licensing its Splashpath swim tracking app to Speedo. Read more
By Richard Waters and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson
By showing that it is prepared to play by the music industry’s rules with its new All Access subscription service, Google has won itself new friends among the music labels.
The main questions now: Can it overcome a patchy past track record in the music business, take advantage of its early lead in subscriptions over Apple and show that it can carve an audience of paying punters out of its massive user base? Read more
Google shares rose past the $900 mark on Wednesday as it announced 900m Android activations at its annual developer conference, Google I/O, in San Francisco. Google also launched a new subscription music streaming service, Google Play All Access, and a bunch of new services for developers, including improved gaming capabilities, mapping services and voice-controlled search tools.
Here’s a transcript of the liveblog by Chris Nuttall and Tim Bradshaw, who were reporting from the Moscone Center.
Yes, says image analyst Neal Krawetz, who believes the photo of grieving in the Gaza Strip may be three images melded together. No, say independent analysts contracted by World Press Photo, including a nifty tech outfit called Fourandsix.
But another start-up argues that there can be no definite answer once the process of image manipulation has started. Instead Scoopshot’s app transfers photos taken by users immediately to its platform, allowing it to guarantee that the photos that editors received are actually what the camera took.
The US may be moving only slowly towards opening up its airspace to commercial drones, but a market for unmanned aerial vehicles is already emerging rapidly elsewhere. Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures are the latest to jump in, with a $10.7m investment in drone technology company Airware. Read more
Things are looking up for Nokia in the US, a territory where it was unloved and unrepresented by operators not so long ago.
Now it has not one but two carriers touting its latest Windows smartphones, with Verizon launching the Lumia 928 this week and T-Mobile having its own exclusive with the 925, unveiled in London on Tuesday and available at a date to be announced in the US. Both represent advances on its signature Lumia 920 launched last year. Read more
Nokia trained its sights on iPhone users with the launch of a new metal Lumia handset on Tuesday, as latest figures showed its share of the market had fallen by almost five percentage points.
According to the latest data from Gartner, a steep decline in sales of cheaper feature phones – still popular in emerging markets – led to a loss of mobile market share in the first quarter of this year, from 19.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 to 14.8 per cent this year. Read more
This week seems to be maker week in Silicon Valley. In the run-up to Saturday’s Maker Faire in San Mateo are a string of events and conferences for hardware startups and the folk building them.
Kickstarting the week, Haxlr8r – a hardware-hacker accelerator programme that takes ten startups to Shenzhen for three months – held its demo day at the Autodesk Gallery in downtown San Francisco on Monday afternoon. Ten startups pitched their ideas, fresh from the factory floor in China, to a group of early stage investors. Read more
Ouya, the open-source games console, has become the first Kickstarter tech project to graduate to a more traditional funding scheme – venture capital.
After getting $8m from 63,000 crowdfunders last August, Ouya on Thursday announced it has raised $15m from investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Mayfield Fund and Nvidia, to accelerate its plan to attack the mass market. Read more