Film world's cast of toys teleport into digital playground
By Piya Sinha-Roy LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Those ubiquitous Angry Birds flew from the mobile screen to the toy store, hooked up with Hollywood, and are headed back to the digital world thanks to the telepod. Hasbro's Angry Bird telepods were a big attraction last weekend at San Diego's Comic-Con, an annual gathering of 130,000 comic and entertainment enthusiasts, with fans lining up to preview new Transformers-themed bird figurines containing miniscule codes that can be read by tablets. The Angry Birds Transformers telepods, featuring "Autobirds" and "Deceptihogs," is due out on October 15, spinning off the success of Paramount Pictures' June box office hit, "Transformers: Age of Extinction." Licensed toys have become a key to extending the entertainment content revenue stream, with U.S. retail sales in 2013 of $5.3 billion, according to research company The NPD Group. In the first quarter of 2014, the top licensed toys included Disney's princess lines and "Frozen" toys, which helped Disney bring in $885 million in consumer products revenue, about 8 percent of the company's overall revenue during that time.
Chinese employees at Microsoft's Nokia arm protest mass layoffs
BEIJING (Reuters) - "Hundreds" of Chinese employees at Microsoft Corp's Nokia phone business protested on Friday against mass layoffs that the U.S. tech company announced last month, according to an employee present and pictures posted on social media networks. Protesters held banners and shouted slogans against "Microsoft's hostile takeover and violent layoffs" for five hours until "they had sore throats," said the employee who participated in the demonstration and so declined to be identified. Microsoft announced on July 17 the deepest job cuts in its 39-year history, amounting to 18,000 positions. Microsoft said up to 12,500 of those jobs would come from Nokia, the Finnish handset maker it bought in April in a $7.2 billion friendly takeover.
BlackBerry opens up BBM to Windows phone users
BlackBerry Ltd said on Thursday its popular messaging system BBM, or BlackBerry Messenger, would now be open to those using the Windows phone platform, a move that potentially makes the messaging service more appealing to its enterprise clients. BlackBerry, which is seeking to reinvent itself as a more software and services driven company as its smartphone market share has dwindled, has been lately touting new BBM features in a bid to make it a more viable messaging tool for clients such as corporations and government agencies that are on the lookout for a secure messaging service. The company, last year, opened the service to phones powered by Google Inc's wildly popular Android operating system and Apple's iOS platform.
Start-up behind 'dunkable' phone technology explores Asian IPO
By Anshuman Daga SINGAPORE (Reuters) - P2i, a technology spin-off from Britain's Ministry of Defence, is looking to raise as much as 10 million pounds ($17 million) from Singapore investors as it readies the launch of its "Dunkable" or waterproof technology for smartphones and tablets. The fundraising by the nanotechnology company follows an expanding list of overseas firms tapping Singapore's pool of high net worth individuals. P2i's technology applies a thin, transparent, splash-resistant polymer coat to products ranging from clothing to mobile phones. The company is in the process of introducing a new version of the technology, which it calls "Dunkable", that will allow devices to survive being immersed in water.
Sharp's first-quarter operating profit boosted as Chinese smartphone makers swell sales
By Sophie Knight TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Sharp Corp said it expected revenue from Chinese smartphone makers to increase fivefold in the six months to September after a jump in smartphone panel orders helped boost operating profit by 55 percent in the first quarter. A big part of that recovery was due to demand from rising stars in China's smartphone market. Sharp's president, Kozo Takahashi, said the company expected revenue from Chinese handset makers to swell to 100 billion yen in the first half of the business year to Sept. 30. Sharp issued guidance earlier this year for 1 trillion yen in sales from LCD panels for the year to March 2015.
Action camera maker GoPro reports bigger loss as costs double
(Reuters) - GoPro Inc, which makes wearable cameras used by surfers, skydivers and other action junkies to post their exploits online, reported a bigger quarterly loss as costs nearly doubled. GoPro shares fell 11 pct to $42.70 in extended trading after its first financial results since its initial public offering in June. The net loss attributable to GoPro stockholders grew to $19.8 million, or 24 cents per share, in the second quarter from $5 million, or 6 cents. Excluding items, GoPro earned 8 cents per share and the company said it expected a seasonally stronger second half.
Android just topped iOS in global usage for the first time ever
We all know Android’s market share crushes every other mobile platform out there in terms of shipment volume, but Android’s share of mobile usage as recorded by various networks around the world has always lagged Apple’s iOS platform… until now. Just as we noted would be the case, Net Applications shows that Android’s share of global smartphone and tablet usage has narrowly topped worldwide combined usage of iPhones and iPad tablets. This marks the first time in the platform’s history that it finds itself at the top of the mobile pile. Net Applications measure global mobile usage, which it refers to as market share, by monitoring traffic across its massive global network. In the month of July, the firm shows
ASUS MeMO Pad 7 and 8 review: small, speedy tablets that cut a few corners
Confessions of a music thief
I have stolen music. A massive amount of music, in fact. Over the past decade or so, I have illegally downloaded hundreds of songs from various file-sharing networks. Even thousands, most likely. In the past couple of years, however, I have completely stopped stealing music as my listening habits shifted from album-based listening to services like Pandora and Spotify. The painful irony here, however, is that recording artists and music labels earn far less money from me now that I have gone legit than they did when I was a thief. Before I elaborate, let me first note that I am very pro-artist. I have family who work in the music industry, I have friends who work in the music industry,
Post-apocalyptic photography with 'The Last of Us' on PS4
The mode is the work of Jason Gregory and Artem Kovalovs, who were tasked by the studio’s co-presidents with building upon the photo tools found in fellow Sony PS4 title Infamous: Second Son. The developers say that while the photo mode would have been technically possible for the PS3 version, the PS4’s emphasis on social connectivity makes sharing photos a much better fit. “Photo mode gives you the tools that you need to express yourself when you’re sharing those experiences, so it made a lot of sense and it fits really well into that ecosystem.” “When the PS3 came out, Facebook wasn’t as popular as it is now, and there was no Twitter and there was no Instagram,” agrees Kovalovs, who calls the Share button “physical evidence of where the industry is going in general.” It does feel like the photo mode is a concept whose time has come;
This motherboard looks sick
If you're not a PC gamer you're about to be one, all because of the ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VII Formula Z97 motherboard. Sure, you might be interested in its maximum DDR3 RAM capacity of 32GB, or its dual PCIe 3.0 expansion slots, or its copper "hybrid cooling" system, but there's really only one thing you need to know: it's the sickest looking motherboard ever created by humans. It's like staring right into the face of Michael Bay's Optimus Prime except without all the crying.
Apple officially brings Beats into the fold
Yahoo takes copyright law to top German court
BERLIN (AP) — Yahoo says it has filed a complaint to Germany's highest court against a year-old law that broadened copyright protection for news material used on the Internet.
This is one Moto 360 rumor you won’t like
The Moto 360 may be one of the most hotly anticipated smartwatches out there, but a new report from Asia casts a shadow on the device’s design and build quality. According to TechWeb, the Moto 360 will be made of plastic rather than metal, as it was previously believed. Furthermore, the device will come with wireless charging abilities, but Motorola apparently had to increase the thickness of the device to 13.5mm to be able to offer users this particular charging option. FROM EARLIER: I saw a Moto 360 this morning and I liked it The publication also says the watch’s display will have a diameter of 48mm, or 1.88 inches. The Moto 360 is expected to start selling in stores this
Watch 2,600 years of culture spread across the world in 5 minutes
The personal journeys of world-changing thinkers such as Leonardo Da Vinci are fascinating enough in their own right, but what happens when you track the paths of thousands of similarly influential individuals across space and time? A team of scientists have done exactly that, mapping the birthplaces and death sites of over 120,000 of history's most celebrated intellectuals from the past 2,600 years. ...
Share iconic movie quotes with Quotacle's GIF maker
Are freemium apps turning us into insane impulse buyers?
Apps are consuming our time, and apparently also our money. In Valleywag, Nitasha Tiku makes a fascinating case for how freemium app makers have manipulated some of the basest elements of human nature to get us to spend big bucks on meaningless in-app purchases. We paid out $606.7 million dollars to Candy Crush in the first few months of 2014 alone, and Kim Kardashian is making millions from selling virtual "K-stars" on her new app. Head over to Valleywag for the full story.
Beats is now officially part of Apple
Beats Electronics is now part of Apple's family. "Music has always held a special place in our hearts, and we’re thrilled to join forces with a group of people who love it as much as we do," Apple said. "Beats cofounders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre have created beautiful products that have helped millions of people deepen their connection to music." CEO Tim Cook took to Twitter with his own messaging welcoming Dre, Iovine, Luke Wood, Ian Rogers, and other Beats employees to Apple. Welcome to the family---Jimmy, Dre, Luke, Ian and the entire beats team! http://t.co/qECVlXlYQZ — Tim Cook (@tim_cook) August 1, 2014
New leak shows one of the most important iPhone 6 and ‘iPhone Air’ parts
With not one but two brand new iPhone models expected to launch this year, leaks and rumors have been coming at a breakneck pace over the past few months. And now that multiple reports suggest that the iPhone 6 has entered mass production with the larger 5.5-inch “iPhone Air” close behind, parts have begun leaking rapidly as well. While component leaks might not seem terribly interesting on the surface, they are actually quite important because they often help shed light on what functionality we can expect from Apple’s upcoming new iPhones. And although this most recent part leak won’t come as much of a surprise, it does seemingly reveal one of the most important parts in Apple’s next-generation iPhone models. FROM
Typo 2 Is Sharknado 2 of iPhone Add-Ons
When you think about it, the Typo iPhone case and the film Sharknado aren't all that different. Typo is a Ryan Seacrest-backed keyboard case that blatantly ripped BlackBerry (and got banned for it), whereas Sharknado is about, well... a tornado of sharks. Neither product needed a follow-up, but just as Sharknado got a star-studded sequel this week, Seacrest's legally dicey add-on is back with the $99 Typo 2.
Why A Data Scientist Should Be Your Next Marketing Hire
Identified as the "sexiest job of the 21st century" by Harvard Business Review, it's no wonder that demand for the data scientist position has skyrocketed. However, according to McKinsey research, by 2018 the United States will experience a shortage of 190,000 skilled data scientists and 1.5 million managers and analysts capable of reaping...
Microsoft seeks to shield emails stored overseas from U.S. prosecutors
In the first case of its kind, Microsoft is disputing the U.S. government’s power to force the company to turn over a user’s emails stored in a data center overseas.
New trailers: 'The Maze Runner,' 'The Expendables 3,' 'BoJack Horseman,' and 'Into the Woods'
There were a ton of trailers released during Comic-Con last week, but that hardly means that movie studios need to slow down. For one, some of the best trailers shown exclusively inside of Comic-Con's halls are finally coming out for the rest of the world to watch, and on top of that, a number of other big titles are now trying to win over our attention. The Maze Runner, the latest in a long line of young-adult novel adaptations, looks like it should be a lot like that. Netflix's next original series is a raunchy, animated comedy that has Will Arnett voicing a washed up actor who happens to be a humanoid horse and Aaron Paul playing said horse's best friend.
What's next for Samsung?
For the past few years, Samsung has been on top of the smartphone world, outselling Apple’s iPhone and besting everyone else by creating powerful phones with big screens and small prices. The smartphone market can’t stop growing, but Samsung smartphone sales are actually falling — and while undercutting the competition on price is still a viable strategy, others are now doing it better. Having spent years toiling in the shadow of feature-phone leaders like Nokia and Sony Ericsson, Samsung’s mobile division rose to prominence at the turn of the decade by embracing the Android platform aggressively. While Nokia and BlackBerry were ponderously trying to evolve their outdated software, Samsung was focused on just cramming the highest specs inside the cheapest phone.
6 awesome paid iPhone apps that are free for a limited time
It’s time to start August off on the right foot — by saving a bunch of money on some nifty iPhone and iPad apps. We saved you hundreds of dollars last month by sharing great paid iPhone apps that were on sale for free for a limited time, and we have no plans to slow down anytime soon. To start things off, we have six solid paid iPhone and iPad apps worth a combined $12 that can all be had for free if you move quickly. These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. There is no way to tell how long they will be free. These
Makerbot plants its 3D-printing flag in Europe
What I learned shooting with the Lytro Illum
I’ve been fascinated with Lytro since the company published its first “living” photos in 2011. I instantly loved the Illum. Sure, photos or video can evoke similar feelings, but this was different. It wasn’t until I brought the Illum to a concert at Brooklyn Bowl that I realized just how quickly I’d bumped into the ceiling of its capabilities.
Why the PC just won't die
The PC is not dead, at least not yet, despite the rising popularity of tablets, “phablets” and smartphones - large and small. According to a July report from Gartner, the personal computing market will experience a “relative revival” this year.
Hackers can seize control of your phone using software preinstalled by your carrier
With fears over hacking and NSA spying still mounting, the last thing we needed was yet another report of a serious vulnerability that leaves millions of people at risk — but that’s exactly what we got recently when news broke of a huge security vulnerability that impacts millions upon millions of Android phones, BlackBerry handsets and even some iPhones. Security researchers Mathew Solnik and Marc Blanchou with Accuvant Labs recently told Wired about a massive security hole that they’re about to expose. During the upcoming Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada next week, the researchers will shed light on a serious threat present in third-party device management software that numerous carriers install on Android phones and BlackBerry handsets. The software is also apparently
James Cameron found himself at the bottom of the ocean
Google’s $4 million mystery barge is headed for the junk yard
$4 million is barely a drop in the bucket for Google, which racked up $16 billion in revenue in the June quarter alone. But $4 million is the amount Google just burned on its mystery barge, which is reportedly about to be dismantled after Google had tried to use it as a floating showroom. The Portland Press Herald reports that Google’s East Coast barge has been towed to Turner’s Island Cargo Terminal in South Portland, Maine, where the massive floating experiment is set to be dismantled. The 250-foot barge contained 60 shipping containers stacked into a four-story building that Google had planned to use as a reconfigurable private showroom for its various products such as Google Glass and Chromebook laptop computers. According to the
Casio's next G-Watch uses Soundhound to discover new music
The Mars 2020 rover will search for life while generating its own oxygen
NASA has its next rover all planned out. These include two instruments for detecting organic compounds, sensors for measuring environmental conditions, and an experimental device designed to produce oxygen from the Martian atmosphere. "Mars exploration will be this generation’s legacy." The Mars 2020 rover will use a design similar to that of the Curiosity Rover, and will focus on conducting geological assessments of the landing site, searching for signs of ancient Martian life, and determining the planet's suitability as a human habitat.
HP's new smartwatch actually looks good
Fashion designer Michael Bastian is partnering with HP and retailer Gilt to sell a smartwatch this fall. Can HP succeed in creating the hardware, software, and applications for a product after relying on third-parties for so long?
Typo tries again with another iPhone keyboard
The iPhone accessory company backed by US TV star Ryan Seacrest is back after a legally imposed hiatus with a new and improved clip-on physical keyboard. Called the Typo 2 and available to pre-order now for $99 directly from the company's website, it comes in two pieces that clip together around an iPhone 5 or 5S like a case and gives owners a proper QWERTY keyboard alternative to the iPhone's on-screen effort. In September, when the Typo 2 officially starts shipping, it will have been nine months since the original Typo debuted. It arrived on the scene in January with considerable hype, thanks to Mr Seacrest's promotional efforts, but unfortunately the publicity caught the attention of BlackBerry who within days had filed a lawsuit claiming intellectual property violation.
You’ll now be able to easily replace your iPhone 5s screen if you break it
Screen damage is a very frequent and frustrating issue with smartphone owners, and Apple apparently is very aware of how annoying the iPhone screen replacement process can be for its customers. 9to5Mac says the company has started receiving large quantities of iPhone 5s screens in its U.S. and Canada retail stores, which will replace broken iPhone 5s screens in the near future. This isn’t the first time word of Apple’s iPhone screen repair program got out, with previous reports detailing iPhone 5c screen repairs earlier this year. Considering Apple is expected to launch even bigger handsets later this year, figuring out a simple way to fix screen damage in its own stores appears to be a logical step for the
An illustrated history of the 'Console Wars'
Hacking attack in Canada bears signs of Chinese army unit: expert
By David Ljunggren and Alastair Sharp OTTAWA/TORONTO (Reuters) - The recent hacking attempt on a sensitive Canadian government computer network is similar to attacks mounted by an elite unit of the Chinese army based in Shanghai, according to a cybersecurity expert. Canada said on Tuesday "a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor" had broken into the National Research Council, a leading body that works with major companies such as aircraft and train maker Bombardier Inc . Beijing on Thursday accused Canada of making irresponsible accusations that lacked credible evidence. While Canada did not give details of the attack, CrowdStrike Chief Technology Officer Dmitri Alperovitch said it was similar to other hacking campaigns launched by a unit of the People's Liberation Army that his company has nicknamed 'Putter Panda.' The group, Unit 61486, has thousands of people and conducts intelligence on satellite and aerospace industries, he said.
Take a look at HP's luxury smartwatch