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Mobile Technology News, April 15, 2012

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.

  • Google Is Faulted for Impeding U.S. Inquiry on Data Collection
    Federal regulators ordered a $25,000 fine on the search giant, saying it “deliberately impeded” an investigation into the sweeping up of personal data by cars being used to map streets.

  • How Sony Fell Behind in the Tech Parade
    Sony once wowed the world with the Walkman and the Trinitron TV. But its fortunes have taken a sharp turn amid disruptive new technologies and unforeseen rivals.

  • Digital Domain: Path, FamilyLeaf and Pair, Small-by-Design Social Networks
    On Path, FamilyLeaf and Pair, users can post information without fear of sharing with the wrong people.

  • No Scrolling Required at New Dating Sites
    The founders of start-up sites try to combine the power of the Internet with the best of retro dating.

  • Best Buy releases list of stores to close this year
    Pummeled by e-commerce giant Amazon, the big-box retailer said last month that it would shut down 50 stores in the U.S. this year. Here’s the list.
  • The future of medicine is … here: TEDMED 2012
    In just a few short years, the TEDMED conference has grown in size and prominence to become an annual highlight for healthcare visioneers and digerati. The list of speakers shows it to include some of the best and brightest in the nation, and spans disciplines from engineering to medicine to informatics to chemistry. As many readers already know, the TEDMED format follows that of the original TED conference series, consisting of 20 minute presentations followed by a brief on stage […]
  • Apple Releases Flashback Removal Tool for Macs Running OS X Lion without Java
    Following yesterday’s release of fresh Java updates to remove the Flashback malware system from Macs running OS X Lion and Snow Leopard, Apple today released a standalone Flashback malware removal tool to clean infections from OS X Lion systems without Java installed.

    About Flashback malware removal tool

    This Flashback malware removal tool that will remove the most common variants of the Flashback malware.

    If the Flashback malware is found, a dialog will be presented notifying the user that malware was removed.

    In some cases, the Flashback malware removal tool may need to restart your computer in order to completely remove the Flashback malware.

    This update is recommended for all OS X Lion users without Java installed.

    While the most dangerous method of attack for Flashback exploits a security hole in Java that Apple has now patched, various versions of the malware have also used social engineering and other tricks in attempting to gain access to users’ systems.



    With OS X Lion not having Java included by default, users of Apple’s latest operating system who have found themselves infected through other means and do not have Java installed can use the new tool to clean their systems without needing to install Java.

    The update weighs in at 356 KB and requires OS X Lion without Java installed.

  • Apple Seeds OS X Lion 10.7.4 Build 11E46
    Apple has seeded OS X Lion 10.7.4 Build 11E46 to developers this evening.

    The latest build reportedly has no known issues and focus issues include the App Store, Mail, QuickTime, Screen Sharing, and Time Machine. The first developer build of 10.7.4 was seeded in March. 10.7.4 may be soon due for release.

    Development on OS X Lion (10.7.x) is presumably winding down as Apple has already pre-announced the next version of OS X. OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) has seen two developer builds and will introduce a number of new iOS inspired features. 10.8 will become available sometime in the late summer.

  • Apple Treats Employees to Performances of Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Totem’
    MacRumors has learned that Apple has bought out two performances of Cirque du Soleil’s traveling show Totem, currently playing in San Jose, California. According to our source, Apple purchased the entire block of 2,500 tickets for each of two shows yesterday and today for employees and their guests, with Apple also picking up the tab for food and drink.



    Scanning Twitter and other social networks, we see that a number of people associated with Apple did mention being at Cirque du Soleil yesterday, supporting our source’s claim of an Apple-sponsored event.

    It is unclear what the reason for the event was, whether it was a simple perk offered to company employees or if there was a specific product milestone or other reason associated with the occasion.

  • Philippe Starck’s Project with Apple is Steve Jobs’ Yacht
    In the wake of a claim from French designer Philippe Starck that he has been working with Apple on a “revolutionary” new project, Apple has issued a statement to AllThingsD specifically denying the assertion.

    Reached for comment, an Apple spokeswoman said the company is not working on a new product with Starck. And while she declined to speculate about what the designer might have been referring to when he told France Info Radio that he and Apple “have a big project together that will be out in eight months,” there’s a good explanation for the remark.

    The report goes on to explain that the project mentioned by Starck appears to be a yacht being built for the Jobs family and mentioned in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs. French site igeneration had speculated as much [Google translation] earlier today, knowing that Jobs was working with Dutch shipbuilder Feadship and that Starck had also worked with the company on other boat designs.



    ‘Wedge Too’, a previous collaboration between Starck and Feadship (Source: Superyacht Times)

    The report from AllThingsD seems to confirm that Starck has been involved in the design of Jobs’ yacht, and would explain why Starck is continuing to travel to Cupertino to meet with Jobs’ wife Laurene as the project moves along.

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook Visits Headquarters of Video Game Firm Valve
    AppleInsider reports that Apple CEO Tim Cook paid a visit today to the the headquarters of Valve, the video game firm behind the Steam digital distribution platform and a number of popular PC and Mac games. While the purpose of Cook’s visit is unknown, his presence at the company’s headquarters in Bellevue, Washington suggests that it may have been of some importance potentially relating to collaboration between the two companies.



    Just over two years ago, Valve made a splash by leaking a set of teaser images to MacRumors and other Apple and gaming sites revealing that it would be bringing its Steam game distribution platform and a number of its own titles to the Mac platform. Steam for Mac launched in May 2010 with over 60 titles, and Valve now offers over a dozen of its own games for Mac through the store.

    Earlier this year, Valve released a Steam companion app for iOS, allowing users to browse the Steam marketplace and even purchase games for later download and play on a PC or Mac.

    It is unclear just what Apple and Valve might come up with in terms of an expanded collaboration if one is in the works, including whether it would extend in some form to iOS or remain limited to gaming on the Mac platform. Valve has been rumored to be working on its own hardware offerings related to Steam services, and the company has just posted job openings related to hardware engineering for such projects.

  • Instagram’s instant billion-dollar payday
    week in review Facebook makes its biggest acquisition to date, while the Justice Department files e-book price-fixing lawsuit against Apple. Also: a privacy-minded ISP.
  • Upcoming American Telemedicine Association meeting billed as biggest telehealth event of the year
    From April 28th – May 1st, the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) will have their annual meeting in sunny San Jose, California.
  • 5 big problems for Windows Phone

    For a long time now, I have had high hopes for Windows Phone. Not because I have any loyalty to the Microsoft brand, or because I feel like Windows Phone is somehow doing it right, but because there needs to be a third player in the market. As long as Android and iOS are the […]

  • Sharp Begins Mass Production of Retina-Resolution IGZO Displays
    IDG News reports that Sharp has announced the start of mass production of new ultra high-resolution displays based on IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) materials. Early rumors had suggested that Apple might use the IGZO displays in the new iPad, but whether due to later-than-expected availability or other considerations, Apple elected not to do so.

    Apple has, however, also been claimed to be considering IGZO for its rumored television set, which analysts are expecting to debut late this year or early next year.

    Sharp said the new technology allows for twice the detail of existing panels at the same transparency, which means high-resolution devices can be designed that require less power and space for backlighting. The company said the new displays cut power consumption by up to 90 percent versus those currently in use.

    Less lighting and smaller battery requirements allow for thinner devices, and analysts have said Apple will use IGZO displays in its upcoming products, including its highly-anticipated entry into the smart TV market.

    In its press release, Sharp gives several different examples of displays at different sizes being manufactured using IGZO materials, including 7-inch tablet screens running at 1280×800 (217 pixels per inch), 10-inch notebook screens running at 2560×1600 (300 ppi), and 32-inch LCD monitor screens running at 3840×2160 (140 ppi).



    Apple’s current Mac products typically register at roughly 100-130 ppi, and a rumored 2880×1800 15-inch MacBook Pro would come in at 220 ppi. Sharp’s examples of a 10-inch screen at 300 ppi and a 32-inch screen at only 140 ppi don’t exactly match up with the pixel density expected for Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro, but it seems that Sharp may be well on its way toward accommodating such a display while embracing the benefits of the new IGZO materials.

  • Run Windows 8 on your iPad
    The Win8 Metro Testbed app connects your iPad to a Windows 8 PC, giving you a taste of how the new OS works on a touch-screen device.
  • Riff: Why the Old-School Music Snob Is the Least Cool Kid on Twitter
    How social media made knowledge guardians obsolete.

  • Ban on Push iCloud Email Upheld in Germany as Fight over 3G Devices Continues
    Back in February, Apple announced that it was suspending push functionality for iCloud and MobileMe email users in Germany following a victory by Motorola Mobility in a patent lawsuit. As noted by Dow Jones Newswires, an appeals court has upheld that ruling, requiring that Apple continue to refrain from offering push email in the country and that the company pay unspecified damages to Motorola.

    The Mannheim regional court backed an earlier court decision that banned Apple from offering the service for synchronizing emails on devices in a patent proceeding brought by Motorola Mobility.

    The court said Apple must pay damages to Motorola Mobility, but didn’t specify the amount.

    FOSS Patents notes that the decision is not unexpected given the history of the case, which has seen several previous decisions as the claims against Apple itself and its Irish subsidiary Apple Sales International were split and adjudicated separately.

    The report also notes that Motorola continues to push for a ban on 3G-enabled Apple products in Germany. Under an earlier ruling, Apple was forced to briefly pull all 3G-capable products with the exception of the iPhone 4S from its German online store, although they were restored a few hours later and a follow-up decision a few weeks later offered Apple extended protection from enforcement of a ban while it appeals the original decision.

    Motorola is currently the subject of an antitrust investigation by the European Commission over its use of the standard-essential patent in question in attempting to bar sales of Apple’s products. But the company continues to press forward with its claims that Apple’s licensing offers have not been adequate and its efforts to have Apple’s products barred from sale over the issue.

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