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Mobile Technology News, January 17, 2014

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • Silk Road forfeits $28m in Bitcoins
    The clandestine online marketplace, Silk Road, forfeits Bitcoins worth $28m (£18m), after it is shut down by US prosecutors.
  • Cloud Storage App Box Offers Free 50GB Accounts to iOS Users

    The cloud storage wars continue to heat up with Box throwing the latest punch.  Like they did with Android users last year, Box now is giving 50GB accounts to users who sign up for the service through an iPhone or iPad or link their iOS device to their account.  This is by far and away more storage […]

    The post Cloud Storage App Box Offers Free 50GB Accounts to iOS Users appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Report: Apple to begin screen repairs of iPhone 5c next week
    At least some Apple stores will begin repairing or replacing displays on iPhone 5c units if nothing else is wrong with the device, according to reports. The service is expected to start on Monday, January 20. Up to this point, iPhone 5c units with broken screens were simply replaced with refurbished replacement phones — repairing or replacing the displays separately is seen as more convenient to the customer and less expensive for the company.


  • Intel's Bay Trail chip arriving on Android tablets in Q2
    Chipmaker’s tablet processor will come to Android tablets in the second quarter, says CEO Brian Krzanich. He also touts the advantages of 64-bit chips.
  • China Mobile iPhone goes on sale: lineups reported
    Apple’s iPhones have formally arrived on China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier and China’s largest provider. The iPhone went on sale Friday morning in Beijing and other locations, with stores fulfilling long-awaited pre-orders of the iPhone (the 5s in particular) that have been gathered since mid-December. Foxconn is said to have delivered approximately 1.4 million iPhone 5s units to China Mobile recently, possibly an indication of strong pre-orders.


  • Google unveils 'smart contact lens'
    Google says it is testing a “smart contact lens” that can help measure glucose levels in tears.
  • Judge Upholds $1.17 Billion Patent Verdict For Carnegie Mellon University
    PITTSBURGH (AP) — A U.S. judge has declined to reduce a $1.17 billion patent infringement verdict that Carnegie Mellon University won against a California technology firm in 2012.

    U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer previously rejected Marvell Technology Group’s bid for a retrial in the case involving use of the university’s 1998 patented technology in chips manufactured for computer hard drives. In a 73-page opinion released late Tuesday, the judge also rejected Marvell’s argument that that the amount should be reduced by $620 million because of the university’s lack of diligence in protecting its patents.

    Fischer said the university “inexcusably” waited five years before suing, but that delay was offset by Marvell’s “deliberate and sustained” infringement. She has yet to rule on university motions to increase damages

  • NSA 'collected 200m texts per day'
    The US National Security Agency has collected almost 200 million text messages per day – and British spies have had access to some data, British media report.
  • Intel: No revenue growth in 2014
    The world’s biggest computer chip maker, Intel, says it expects no revenue growth in 2014, sending its shares down 5% in after-hours trading.
  • Google's Contact Lens Glucose Monitor Unveiled
    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — Google unveiled Thursday a contact lens that monitors glucose levels in tears, a potential reprieve for millions of diabetics who have to jab their fingers to draw their own blood as many as 10 times a day.

    The prototype is one of several medical devices being designed by companies to make glucose monitoring for diabetic patients more convenient and less invasive than the traditional finger pricks. Google says it will take at least five years to reach consumers.

    The lenses use a minuscule glucose sensor and a wireless transmitter to help those who are among the world’s 382 million diabetics who need insulin keep a close watch on their blood sugar and adjust their dose.

  • US court clears Google Glass driver
    A woman issued with a traffic ticket for driving while wearing Google Glass has had her case dismissed in San Diego for lack of evidence.
  • NSA Collects Millions Of Text Messages Globally, The Guardian Reports
    WASHINGTON, Jan 16 (Reuters) – The U.S. National Security Agency has been gathering nearly 200 million text messages a day from around the world, gathering data on people’s travel plans, contacts and credit card transactions, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported on Thursday.
    Code-named “Dishfire,” the NSA program collects “pretty much everything it can,” the Guardian said, citing a joint investigation with the UK’s Channel 4 News based on material from fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
    The newspaper said the documents also showed that the British spy agency GCHQ had used the NSA database to search the metadata of “untargeted and unwarranted” communications of people in the United Kingdom.
    It added that communications from U.S. phone numbers were removed or “minimized” from the database, while numbers from other countries, including the UK, were kept.
    Citing a 2011 NSA presentation subtitled “SMS Text Messages: A Goldmine to Exploit,” the Guardian said the program collected 194 million text messages a day on average in April that year.
    “The NSA has made extensive use of its vast text message database to extract information on people’s travel plans, contact books, financial transactions and more – including of individuals under no suspicion of illegal activity,” the Guardian report said.
    U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to announce reforms on Friday to NSA eavesdropping programs, prompted by disclosures from Snowden.
    Questions about U.S. government spying on civilians and foreign officials burst into the open in June when Snowden leaked secrets about mass collection of telephone data and other secret eavesdropping programs to newspapers before fleeing to Hong Kong and then to Moscow.
    Asked about the Guardian article, the NSA said, “As we have previously stated, the implication that NSA’s collection is arbitrary and unconstrained is false.”
    The agency’s activities “are focused and specifically deployed against – and only against – valid foreign intelligence targets in response to intelligence requirements,” the NSA said in a statement, adding that Dishfire processed and lawfully stored collected text-message, or SMS data.
    “Because some SMS data of U.S. persons may at times be incidentally collected in NSA’s lawful foreign intelligence mission, privacy protections for U.S. persons exist across the entire process concerning the use, handling, retention, and dissemination of SMS data in DISHFIRE,” the agency said.
    “In addition, NSA actively works to remove extraneous data, to include that of innocent foreign citizens, as early as possible in the process,” it said.
    (Writing by Peter Cooney; Editing by Richard Chang)
  • Cecilia Abadie, California Motorist, Cleared In Google Glass Case
    SAN DIEGO (AP) — A San Diego traffic court threw out a citation Thursday against a woman who authorities said was driving while wearing the Google Glass computer-in-eyeglass device.

    Commissioner John Blair ruled that Cecilia Abadie was not guilty because the code she was cited for requires proof that the device was in operation. Blair found there was no proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Abadie is believed to be the first motorist cited for wearing Google Glass while driving. She was also found not guilty of speeding.

    Abadie, a software developer, is among some 30,000 people called “explorers” who have been selected to try out Google Glass before the technology becomes widely available to the public later this year.

    The device on a kind of glass-wear frame features a thumbnail-size transparent display above the right eye.

    Abadie was pulled over in October on a San Diego freeway. The California Highway Patrol officer saw she was wearing Google Glass and tacked on a citation usually given to people driving while a video or TV screen is on in the front of their vehicle.

    Abadie had pleaded not guilty to both charges in San Diego traffic court. Her attorney William Concidine previously said the device was not activated when she was driving.

    The CHP previously declined comment. At the time of Abadie’s citation, the agency said anything that takes a driver’s attention from the road is dangerous.

    The lightweight frames are equipped with a hidden camera and tiny display that responds to voice commands. The technology can be used to do things such as check email, learn background about something the wearer is looking at, or to get driving directions.

    Legislators in at least three states — Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia — have introduced bills that would ban driving with Google Glass.

    Google’s website contains an advisory for users: “Read up and follow the law. Above all, even when you’re following the law, don’t hurt yourself or others by failing to pay attention to the road.”

  • Microsoft updates Outlook's organizing tools
    The company says only 20 percent of an average user’s e-mail messages are personal — that means a lot of clutter. Enhancements rolling out over the next few weeks should help.
  • Intel CEO talks delayed factory, 'Broadwell' production start
    Intel CEO Brian Krzanich touched on the delay of the chip factory in Arizona, the start of Broadwell production in the first quarter, and the strength of the desktop, among other topics.
  • Ivory Coast targets cyber criminals
    Ivory Coast cracks down on cyber criminals
  • VIDEO: Ivory Coast tackles cyber crime
    Ivory Coast says it has the highest level of cyber crime in Africa, but the government is making a concerted effort to crack down on these criminals.
  • Top 5 Goals for Open Government in 2014
    Open government offers a society a number of attractive benefits. Transparency begets accountability. The provision of information enhances the ability of governments to provide valuable public goods and services. Its data, furthermore, can be analyzed and used by third parties in innovative ways, resulting in other socially beneficial products. The classic example here are the private weather forecasts made possible from government-supplied weather information. Or the maps that derive from GPS. By governments making information easily accessible, citizens are also more likely to get engaged in some form of their governance.

    Despite these benefits, however, open government has spun a few wheels on the road to achieving its potential. For the past two summers, the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program has convened its Forum on Communications and Society (FOCAS) on the topic of open governance, with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. From those meetings, I’d like to suggest five goals for open government in 2014.

    1. Improve the procurement process

    Procurement plays a critical role in technology’s implementation and utilization at all government levels. The problematic rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s website, www.healthcare.gov, epitomizes how ineffective procurement processes can derail or stall a public project. Labeled as the definition of a bad IT project and one of the worst product flops of 2013, it appears that (with some notable exceptions) government’s deployment of information and communication technologies is still stuck in the last century. As explained in the last two FOCAS reports, cumbersome rules for how agencies can buy and use software create a barrier to integrating lightweight and open alternatives into government operations. This inevitably inhibits progress.

    Improving the procurement process will help spur innovation. With technology now enabling cheaper, innovative solutions to both narrow and large-scale problems, participants at FOCAS agreed that we need a more flexible procurement system that promotes and encourages the integration of effective and innovative services. For example, reforms that provide the opportunity for smaller, more nimble companies to solve software problems might lead to more efficient and successful outcomes. Procurement rules should make it easier for these small companies to bid and for government to pay out winning bids to non-legacy contractors. The system needs to embrace more experimentation and allow for risk absorption.

    It often takes an urgency to bring about a reform. Let’s hope that the learning moment from the breakdown of healthcare.gov can result in positive reforms of government procurement processes at all levels in 2014.

    2. Increase transparency

    Early in December, the Obama Administration released the second US Open Government National Action Plan, announcing 23 new or expanded open-government commitments that aim to advance such efforts further. ‘We the People,” Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Modernization, The Global Initiative on Fiscal Transparency (GIFT), Open Data to the Public and Participatory Budgeting are among the highlights. Despite these worthy initiatives, particularly enhanced by the excellent work coming out of the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, openness has not been a pervasive enough theme of this administration. As New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan wrote, “Instead, it’s turning out to be the administration of unprecedented secrecy and of unprecedented attacks on a free press.”

    Indeed, the administration’s effort to prevent leaks and control information is said to be the most aggressive since the Nixon administration. And the White House has increasingly sought to control the news emanating from Washington. “Transparency” just isn’t getting the data out.

    State and local governments have also claimed to increase transparency in government, and again there have been advances at these levels. But much work remains in this area, and the rhetoric does not always correlate to the actions. For example, Georgia’s governor, Nathan Deal, touted a need for trust and transparency in government, saying, “Our success as leaders of Georgia depends heavily on the public’s ability to trust us.” Yet the governor faces allegations that some of his administration worked with the state ethics staff to destroy evidence from an investigation into the governor’s financial records from his 2010 campaign. (Over the years, it is alleged, the governor collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in unreported contributions.) The case of Nathan Deal demonstrates a need for transparency in government and the important role journalism plays in exposing potentially unethical activities.

    3. Encourage citizen engagement

    The full potential of open government and its ability to engage citizens has yet to be realized.
    Organizations such as Code for America and the Sunlight Foundation have created ecosystems for innovation and citizen interaction. However, as a whole, we are moving forward without a clear understanding of just how to encourage engagement, or even what we mean by that word.

    A big takeaway from the 2013 FOCAS conference is the need for empathy in open government. As Panthea Lee, Principal and Co-Founder at Reboot explains, “If we hope to get beyond a world of perpetual pilots with few success stories, we need to move beyond ‘the citizen’ and ‘the government,’ and toward sophisticated and informed understanding of the people we seek to serve and influence.”

    Steven Clift’s e-Democracy.org is an online public space with the mission of harnessing online tools to support participation in public life, strengthen communities, and build democracy. It is within spaces such as this that we can inspire more inclusive community engagements in 2014.

    4. Use government data for social good

    Access to a broad range of government data in usable formats encourages ingenuity and unlocks value by allowing the free flow of information. Its full potential to empower citizens, revolutionize how government works, and improve delivery of public goods and services has not been fully utilized. McKinsey research determined that government data could unlock more than $3 trillion in value every year in seven domains of the global economy. By not harnessing this data, we stand to lose the transformative social impacts as well.

    This is where organizations like the Open Data Institute (ODI) come in. ODI is catalyzing the evolution of open data culture to create economic, environmental, and social value. Located in the United Kingdom, it has affiliates around the world to help reveal supply, generate demand, create and disseminate knowledge to address local and global issues.

    In a positive step forward, a group of practitioners and transparency advocates recently started a similar US organization to test the ODI model in the United States. ODI USA, made possible by a grant from the Knight Foundation (that materialized as a result of the FOCAS Forum), will help facilitate the sharing of data through convenings and open source projects. By connecting businesses, government agencies and non-profits, ODI USA aims to help overcome some of the barriers that currently impede these organizations from sharing valuable data and collaborating in innovate ways. The year ahead will test the effectiveness of these organizations. But with or without ODI, entrepreneurs from the for-profit and non-profit worlds can analyze, manipulate and use government supplied data in new, socially beneficial ways.

    5. Government, Don’t Overreach

    Not much needs to be said here – so many are already addressing the topic. But given recent NSA events, an important goal for the upcoming year is protection over individuals’ data. We need assurances that when governments peruse, collect or use personal data, they will not overreach their boundaries and that the appropriate controls exist. It is a classic clash of values–security vs. personal privacy. It is also a case where protection against one harm can lead to detrimental effects in another important area of national interest, its foreign relations.

    In the year ahead, the US president and Congress will address the extensive surveillance techniques of the NSA. We might see FISA Court reforms, increased Congressional oversight, and a variety of other suggestions from the president’s oversight committee, and organizations such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center. All this in the Hippocratic words, “first, do no harm.”

    So the year 2014 presents open government advocates with a large agenda and an opportunity to make significant progress in this emerging and important field.

  • Just 2 Companies Pretty Much Make All The Smartphones Sold In The U.S.
    The iPhone is on a roll.

    More people in the U.S. were using Apple’s flagship phone last year than in 2012, according to a study released Thursday. Apple now has a stronger lead in the U.S. over its biggest frenemy, Samsung.

    iPhone owners accounted for 42 percent of Americans who had smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2013, up from 35 percent in the same period in 2012, the market research firm NPD Group said.

    One factor that gave Apple the edge last year was the iPhone’s debut on T-Mobile, marking the first time that all four major carriers here sold the iPhone, said NPD analyst John Buffone.

    The numbers come after a rough year for Apple that had investors worried the company was losing its edge to Samsung and other competitors. Apple stock had a bumpy year before closing 2013 up about 5 percent, trailing the overall market.

    Many complained the company’s newest smartphones — the 5S and 5C — lacked innovation, though Apple nevertheless reported record sales following the phones’ debut weekend.

    The news wasn’t all bad for Samsung, which also increased its share of the U.S. smartphone market, climbing to 26 percent of all smartphones owned in the last three months of 2013 — up from 22 percent in the same period in 2012.

    The big picture here, said Buffone, is that while Apple and Samsung continue to soar in the U.S. — the two companies account for a whopping 68 percent of all smartphones owned in this country — the other smartphone manufacturers are getting clobbered.

    “Consumers are starting to make the choice — do I get an iPhone or a Galaxy?” Buffone said, referring to Samsung’s lineup of flagship smartphones.

    Motorola, HTC and Blackberry all lost market share in the U.S. last year, while LG climbed from 7 percent to 8 percent.

    iphone sales us

    Motorola’s Moto X, the first phone designed by Motorola since Google bought the company in 2012, has been heavily marketed, but has gained little traction. Motorola sold only 500,000 Moto X handsets in the third quarter of 2013, according to numbers from Strategy Analytics, relayed by The Wall Street Journal. According to The Journal, Samsung sold a whopping 10 million Galaxy S4s the month following its release.

    The picture of smartphone ownership in the U.S. is markedly different from what it is worldwide, where Samsung reigns supreme. According to IDC, the technology market research firm, Samsung shipped 31.4 percent of smartphones worldwide in the third quarter of 2013, while Apple shipped 13.1 percent.

    Apple is now ramping up efforts to sell more phones in China.

    As expected, overall smartphone ownership also climbed in the U.S., from 52 percent at the end of 2012 to 60 percent at the end of last year.

    As smartphone use continues to grow, and people spend more of their online time with their smartphones, data usage also increases. NPD group found that smartphone owners in the U.S. gobbled up an average of 6.6 gigabytes per month in the last quarter of 2013, up from 5.5 gigabytes during the same time in 2012. Most of that data was transmitted over WiFi, Buffone said.

    NPD said a “key driver” of the soaring data use was more people streaming music on their phones. At the end of last year, 52 percent of smartphone owners in the U.S. streamed music using an app, up from 41 percent the year before.

    iphone us numbers

    [Via TechCrunch, which, like The Huffington Post, is owned by AOL.]

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