Monthly Archives: September 2013

The British love for a good moan was focused on TalkTalk in dog-and-bone terms in the June quarter. 

Taiwan smartphone maker HTC will sell back its remaining stake in headphone and audio tech company Beats Electronics as the Taiwanese group tries to turn around its shrinking core phone business. 

Sarah Mishkin

Environmentally conscious or just clumsy people buying a smartphone are better off with a new Samsung or Motorola than with one of the new iPhones.

A new ranking from iFixit, a group that specialises in tearing apart phones to figure out to repair them, looks how easy it is to fix the top smartphones on the market. 

Hannah Kuchler

The digital age should have killed off those familiar little yellow square notes covered in near-illegible handwriting, stuck on your desk as a reminder of something you should have done long ago.

The Post-It, originally created by 3M as a use for a low tack glue the company discovered, should have been replaced by the buzzing smartphone alerts, shared electronic calendars and cloud storage services which rule organise our lives today.

But Evernote, the cloud company which aspires to act as a “second brain” storing the thoughts of its 75m users, is resuscitating the aide memoire by signing a deal to give “new digital life” to the tired old Post-It. 

China’s biggest ecommerce company, Alibaba, has joined the growing enthusiasm for cloud storage applications, buying Kanbox for an undisclosed amount.

Kanbox offers free storage for documents, photos and other files, bringing Alibaba into competition with other Chinese heavyweights Tencent and Baidu, which offer similar services. The company raised $20m in Series B funding two years ago, so the acquisition value is likely to have been several hundred million dollars. 

If you’re wondering why Jack Dorsey’s payments company Square hasn’t launched in Europe, here’s one possible answer. The market is just too competitive.

Already several European companies do what Square does – allowing small businesses to process card payments without a monthly contract. They are now engaging in a price war, ripping up the 2.75 per cent transaction fee that Square made standard. 

Every six months Mediacom, the media buying agency, surveys 1,000 kids in the UK and asks the name of their favourite website. The big story over recent years has been the decline of Facebook.

In 2010 nearly half of kids (aged 8-16) said it was their favourite site – now that number is just one in six. The top performer is YouTube, which is quoted as the favourite of more kids than Facebook and Twitter combined (see graph below).

That’s interesting for a couple of reasons. 

Ever since Apple launched the iPhone 5S with a fingerprint scanner, hackers have been trying to embarrass the company by circumventing it. Now a German group says it has succeeded – by making a copy of person’s fingerprint and using it to unlock the handset.

This trick is less ludicrous than the idea that thieves might chop off people’s fingers to unlock their iPhones (a new definition of computer hacking). But is it a serious blow to Apple’s foray into biometrics?

The Chaos Computer Club posted a video in which a person’s fingerprint on a glass surface is photographed, then printed out onto a thin film used to make a fake finger, which can unlock the phone. 

Tim Bradshaw

Backlash? What backlash? Adoption of Apple’s latest update to iOS has been strong in its first 24 hours, despite fears that some iPhone owners would freak out at its bright colours and new design. Installs of iOS 7 are ahead of iOS 6 at the same point last year, according to external estimates. 

Mobile operators have warned that customers shouldn’t expect to easily buy an iPhone 5s when it goes on sale this weekend – but there will be plenty of the cheaper multi-hued 5c model lying around for the casual Apple fan.

While sell-outs are expected of Apple’s latest premium iPhone 5s in many phone stores this weekend in the UK, the colourful, lower cost device will be well-stocked, according to several operator sources close to the retail end of the business.