Sunday, September 30, 2012

The rise of social media.

On June 6, Larry Ellison--CEO of Oracle, one of the largest and most advanced computer technology corporations in the world--tweeted for the very first time. In doing so, he joined a club that remains surprisingly elite. Among CEOs of the world’s Fortune 500 companies, a mere 20 have Twitter accounts. Ellison, by the way, hasn’t tweeted since.

As social media spreads around the globe, one enclave has proven stubbornly resistant: the boardroom. Within the C-suite, perceptions remain that social media is at best a soft PR tool and at worst a time sink for already distracted employees. Without a push from the top, many of the biggest companies have been slow to take the social media plunge.

A new report from McKinsey Global Institute, however, makes the business case for social media a little easier to sell. According to an analysis of 4,200 companies by the business consulting giant, social technologies stand to unlock from $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in value. At the high end, that approaches Australia’s annual GDP. How’s that for a bottom line?

Savings comes from some unexpected places. Two-thirds of the value unlocked by social media rests in “improved communications and collaboration within and across enterprises,” according to the report. Far from a distraction, in other words, social media proves a surprising boon to productivity.

Companies are embracing social tools--including internal networks, wikis, and real-time chat--for functions that go way beyond marketing and community building. R&D teams brainstorm products, HR vets applicants, sales fosters leads, and operations and distribution forecasts and monitors supply chains.

Behind this laundry list is a more hefty benefit. Social technologies have the potential to free up expertise trapped in departmental silos. High-skill workers can now be tapped company-wide. Managers can find out “which employees have the deepest knowledge in certain subjects, or who last contributed to a project and how to get in touch with them quickly,” says New York Times tech reporter Quentin Hardy. Just cutting email out of the picture in favor of social sharing translates to a productivity windfall as “more enterprise information becomes accessible and searchable, rather than locked up as ‘dark matter’ in inboxes.”

Among the most promising (and heretofore least hyped) new social technologies are tools like Yammer (recently snapped up by Microsoft for $1.2 billion), which bring Facebook-like functionality into the office. Social-savvy employees post queries and comments to internal conversation threads and coworkers offer feedback, crowdsourcing solutions. Content can be shared and searched, so the same issues don’t resurface. Meanwhile, virtual groups offer a more interactive alternative than email or phones.

Interestingly, the report suggest that tools like Yammer are the tip of the iceberg. Right now, only five percent of all communications and content use in the U.S. happens on social networks, mainly in the form of content sharing and online socializing. But McKinsey analysts point out that almost any human interaction in the workplace can be "socialized"--endowed with the speed, scale, and disruptive economics of the Internet.

It seems noteworthy that the report’s conclusions have been echoed of late from the most authoritative of places: Wall Street. In the last year, the world’s largest enterprise software companies--Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, Adobe, and even Ellison’s own Oracle--have spent upward of $2.5 billion snatching up social media tools to add to their enterprise suites. Even Twitter-phobic CEOs may have a hard time ignoring that business case.

--Author Ryan Holmes is the CEO of HootSuite, a social media management system with 4 million users, including 79 of the Fortune 100 companies.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

BB 10 L-series tutorials

BlackBerry 10 L-series tutorial videos surface online, give a literal peek at the future (video)



Those of us who've used a BlackBerry PlayBook will be familiar with the inevitable first-boot tutorials showing how to navigate the swipe-driven interface before we're let loose. Thanks to a series of demonstration videos leaked by BlackBerryItalia, it's apparent that we won't escape that educational process on BlackBerry 10 devices, either. The four clips show the basics of what we know the gesture experience will be like on full-touch L-series phones, including the signature BlackBerry Peek to check notifications and the unified inbox. Anyone looking for a direct clue as to what production BlackBerry 10 hardware will entail might be frustrated, mind you -- the rendered phone appears to be a placeholder rather than the L-series or a Dev Alpha B, and the device name is censored in an attempt to protect the source. That said, the clips provide a very straightforward explanation of the new interface concept and give us one more indication that RIM is closer to launch.

mSecure keeps passwords safe

mSecure For iPhone And iPad Keeps All Your Passwords Safe With 256-Bit Blowfish Encryption

By Ben Reid | September 30th, 2012

Generally speaking, the majority of us are concerned about our security and privacy at all times, and since most, if not all of us are rocking a mobile device of some description, the same rules apply therein. Whenever software makers put our sensitive data into potentially precarious positions, we call for heads to roll, however, despite small oversights by software developers potentially leading to dire consequences, the onus is just as much on us to arm ourselves against situations which could see our data accessed, stolen or used for unscrupulous ends.

mSecure by mSeven Software is the kind of application every iOS user should have installed on their device. I’ve reservations about labeling it a mere “password manager,” because it does quite a bit more than your generic credential-storing app. Boasting ultra-secure 256bit blowfish encryption, it protects all of your essential data, including account numbers, usernames, and passwords, and the in-built password generator will render your sensitive info water-tight from those prying eyes.

Like any secure app, it can be set to auto-lock, and includes a free backup utility which will keep your data safe and secure at all times. If you think somebody might try and guess your passwords, you can call upon the optional self-destruct feature, so once you’ve downloaded and installed mSecure, you’ll feel a lot more at peace knowing you’ve taken a big step in protecting your data.

iOS has, much like its desktop counterpart, built up something of a reputation as a safe haven from the spike of malware, and general non-niceties plaguing rivaling Android, but as the FlashBack outbreak on OS X taught us earlier this year, complacency has no place when it comes to security. Apple was forced to remove its claim OS X “doesn’t get PC viruses,” and even though Apple’s mobile operating system has yet to see any form of digital attacks, you can ill afford to rest on your laurels on a device which, if lost, could in most cases present a individual with an invaluable tool.

mSecure is the complete package, and although it’ll set you back $9.99 at the App Store, it is, as I mentioned earlier, the added layer of security everybody should have.

(Source: mSecure for iPhone and iPad on App Store)

Check out our iPhone Apps Gallery and iPad Apps Gallery to explore more apps for your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Will TV have an afterlife?

Broadcast TV Aims for Your Smartphone

Two groups are preparing services that will deliver television signals to mobile devices.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dongle dangle: An antenna add-on for iPhones and iPads, resembling this one, will plug into the accessory port to receive broadcast TV in parts of the United States.

Dozens of players within the U.S. broadcast industry are behind two parallel efforts to make iPhones or iPads double as conventional television sets. The plan is to upgrade broadcasting infrastructure to beam out mobile-ready signals.

A consortium called Dyle TV—representing 18 broadcast groups, including Gannet, Hearst, Fox, Univision, and NBC—is farthest along in upgrading broadcast networks; it has completed upgrades on 90 TV stations, representing portions of markets covering 55 percent of the U.S. population. Dyle TV is expected to launch a dongle sometime later this year that can be affixed to the accessory port of iPhones or iPads.

A second joint venture, Mobile500, represents much of the rest of the TV industry, with 437 stations, only 16 of whom have upgraded their networks. This group plans to launch a study October 1 of how people use the service—handing out dongles to 1,500 consumers in Seattle and Minneapolis, where several stations have upgraded.

In both cases, the dongles, now being manufactured by Elgato and Belkin, receive live TV broadcasts from the stations involved in the consortia. For broadcasters, this requires sending a simulcast over a new signal inserted into the regular TV spectrum. The new signal is required because conventional ones can't work in, for example, moving cars.

The dongle is expected to sell for around $100, but Dyle TV says the service will initially be free. Later, users will likely have to pay as part of cable or satellite packages or as a standalone subscription, requiring them to authenticate through the app for the dongle to work. The Mobile500 model would likely work in a similar way.

While the effort is still in its infancy, the approach has a key advantage over LTE networks. No matter how well LTE networks perform at delivering bandwidth to millions of video-hungry consumers toting the newest smartphones, there will be times when the system inevitably chokes, such as during breaking news events. That's where conventional TV broadcasting shines: though you're limited to viewing the content they air, the signal is available to all—even if millions want to tune in.

"We're not going to say people will use live TV as much as on-demand content," says Salil Dalvi, co-general manager of the Dyle venture, and also a senior vice president of NBC Universal Digital Distribution. "But what we do as a broadcast platform is to take wide demand content—such as the Today show, and other content that everyone is tuning into at the same time—and deliver it in the most efficient way possible."

The service is already available in one device—an antenna-equipped Samsung Galaxy Lightray sold by Metro PCS. In addition, the vehicle aftermarket company Audiovox is also supplying the technology for rear-seat entertainment systems.

The approach has promise, says Dipankar Raychaudhuri, who heads a wireless research laboratory at Rutgers University. LTE and 3G capacity is not nearly large enough to serve as a wholesale replacement method for broadcast TV, he says.

And depending on how people use a new generation of LTE-enabled smartphones, data crunches could materialize. That's why the TV approach would help. "There is a very important advantage of scale here in the sense that you could reach 10,000 to 100,000 subscribers in one metro area without tying up cellular networks," he says. By contrast, individuals downloading to 10,000 devices would consume as much as 10 gigabits per second from carriers' base stations. But whether the services take off depends on how many people want to get local news and live sports on their phones, he says.

The efforts have been a long time coming. One stumbling block has been that broadcasters often must negotiate a new set of programming rights for the underlying shows, says John Lawson, executive director of the Mobile500 group. "It is taking longer than any of us hoped, but it does seem to be moving forward," he says.

For now, the two groups are focusing on making one dongle for Apple devices; future dongles might be offered for the wide variety of Android phones and others having connection ports of different shapes and sizes.

In the broader battle to reshape TV, companies including Google and Apple are working on solutions (see "Searching for the Future of Television" and "Rumor: An Apple ITV in 2012.") Syncbak of Marion, Iowa, for example, has set up a pilot project with 60 stations nationwide to stream TV over mobile networks. And in one of the more audacious moves, Aereo, based in New York City, has put tiny TV antennas in data centers and streams TV over the Internet to people who can tune individual antennas from their device. (Aereo is being sued for alleged copyright infringement. The litigants include NBC Universal and Fox, which are behind Dyle TV.)

Traditional broadcast TV faces a generational challenge, as younger people are more likely to consume on-demand content using mobile devices than they are to watch TV in the living room. But mobile network operators have their own challenges, as they scramble to fend off capacity constraints (see "Are the Networks Ready for an Influx of iPhone5?"). To cope with increased demand, carriers are adding transmitters, augmenting LTE with available Wi-Fi signals, and finding ways to cache popular content.

The TV industry has one structural advantage: while it costs roughly $10 billion to $15 billion for a carrier to roll out a new nationwide LTE network, the entire TV industry can upgrade to allow mobile broadcasts for less than $300 million, says Erik Moreno, the other Dyle general manager, and an executive at Fox.

Should the Dyle TV and Mobile500 model take off, innovation, or disruption, could follow. "If you fast-forward to a few years from now, you can envision an individual station not just offering this simulcast, but other content for mobile customers," Moreno says.

RIM latest financial report

HomeBlackBerry NewsNews & Rumors, Editorial

Here’s what investors need to understand about RIM’s Q2 results
by Chris Umiastowski on 27 Sep 2012 09:30 PM

Once every 13 weeks, RIM drops their latest set of financial results. Tonight, the results were slightly better than expected. Supporting this, the stock soared by about 20% in after-hours trading.

I always like to analyze the numbers, and I like to look at them in comparison to expectations. But as usual, I'm reminding you that anyone who looks only at the quarterly numbers and compares them to Wall Street estimates is missing the big picture. These numbers don't tell us anything about RIM's future, but they do highlight certain opportunities and risks.

So let's get to it.

Revenue was actually $2.9 billion, up by 2% to compared to last quarter. Up is better than down, but 2% isn't a big move. To me it just shows that sales are stable while RIM goes through an enormous transition towards the new BlackBerry 10 platform. Overall, this is good news (so far) because it helps RIM maintain its cash balance which it needs badly.

As we heard from Thorsten on Tuesday in San Jose, the customer base is now 80 million strong, with 60 million users on BBM. This is another good sign because it means RIM's user base is still growing by more than 10% annually. Again, this is super important for the company - a shrinking customer base would increase the risk of a BlackBerry 10 flop. A growing customer base is very encouraging.

In my editorial from earlier today, I talked about the importance of cash to RIM's Q2 results. Recall that after Q1, RIM had a cash balance of $2.2 billion, having generated almost $300 million in cash flow from operations (excluding working capital changes) for the period.

Last quarter they said they'd maintain an approximately flat cash balance in Q2. I was worried it might drop. It did not. They actually ended the quarter with more cash - specifically $2.3 billion. How did they achieve this? It looks to me like another reduction in working capital (reducing inventory and accounts receivable). Obviously this isn't a sustainable source of cash, but I'll take what I can get.

RIM says its cash balance will remain stable next quarter, with some movement around the exact timing of restructuring charges. This can only mean they aren't expecting a revenue collapse, otherwise I don't see how it would be possible. I admit I'm surprised as to how stable their sales seem to be given the age and global competitiveness of BlackBerry 7.

But it's not all roses. To keep its sales up, RIM has been dropping prices. Ehud Gelblum, the analyst from Morgan Stanley, asked a great question about profitability on handsets. RIM management didn't answer him directly but it was very obvious to me they were admitting they lose money on device sales. Their rationale? It's necessary to protect their subscriber base and get people onto BlackBerry 7 devices as much as possible. I happen to agree with RIM completely on this. They need a user base to carry forward. They can't risk losing subscribers. It's worth eating some of the cost to make this happen.

But it still leaves RIM in a position of uncertainty. They don't make money on devices. They need to change this in order to have a long-term sustainable business model. And to make matters (potentially) worse, they generate over $1 billion in revenue per quarter on service fees. These service fees are under pressure. We have no idea how much pressure they're under. In fact, that $1 billion number has been very stable. But RIM acknowledges the pressure. What if this cracks? What it if really starts to decline? What if that happens while RIM still isn't able to make money on hardware? Should that happen this company will hemorrhage cash. At that point, it may not matter how good BlackBerry 10 is.

The good news is the market is clearly still willing to pay for high end devices. The iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S3 are good examples. If RIM can join Apple and Samsung at the high end of the market, it should earn a reasonable profit on hardware. And if it can deliver a superb messaging experience (as it always has) carriers will continue to pay for the use of RIM infrastructure. I just didn't want to paint a rosy picture without also presenting the risks.

Bottom line: RIM delivered numbers that surprised Wall Street to the upside. They've got some runway left. They're showing off a strong set of developer tools an user interface features on BlackBerry 10. The wait isn't going to be much longer now. The company is very different from it was one year ago. They're not out of the woods. Not by a long shot.

Blackberries for Business - Loaded With Business Features. Stay Connected & Boost Productivity!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Facebook updates Messenger for new iPhone

Facebook Messenger is Updated for the iPhone 5

Posted 6 hours ago
Facebook Messenger has been updated for the iPhone 5 and brings a new design for conversations.

Reach friends wherever they are with Facebook Messenger.

-Message a friend or start a group conversation
-Reach friends on mobile or web
-Get push notifications
-Know who's seen your messages
-Include your location and share photos

What's New In This Version:
- Swipe left anywhere in the app to quickly see who's available and send a message
- Add friends you message most to the top of your Favorites
- New design for conversations
- Improved speed and reliability
- Support for iOS 6 and iPhone 5
- Bug fixes

You can download Facebook Messenger from the App Store for free.

Mobile Ads and you.


Advertisements on mobile gadgets have a bad rap. But slowly, the rulebook for what works in mobile advertising is being sketched out. Shira Ovide has details on The News Hub. (Photo: Getty Images)

In 2010, Apple Inc. AAPL -2.09% co-founder Steve Jobs proclaimed, "Mobile advertising really sucks." Now, however, the rule book for what works in mobile advertising is slowly being written.

Some of the ingredients to success include ads that play on the unique properties of mobile gadgets, including location, or ads disguised as a game, coupon or information that consumers want, say ad executives and industry observers.

What doesn't work? The same old Web ads plopped into a smartphone.

Mobile advertising has been touted as the next big thing since Apple's iPhone debuted in 2007. Yet the promise remained unfulfilled because marketing companies have to navigate consumers' desires for privacy with the enticements mobile devices offer, such as fresh information about users' location and spending habits.

Accidental clicks on mobile ads, difficulties buying ads in big quantities, and fuzzy metrics also have kept a lid on mobile ad spending, marketers said.

This year, research firm eMarketer Inc. projects less than 2% of all U.S. marketing spending, or just $2.6 billion, to go toward mobile advertising. Meanwhile, consumers using smartphones and tablets now generate more than 10% of Internet traffic, according to data provider StatCounter Inc.

"The mobile ad market is just not fully formed yet," said KC Estenson, who oversees the online and mobile business for Time Warner Inc.'s TWX -0.10% CNN.

Enlarge Image

As users move to mobile faster than marketers, mobile ad prices are being pushed down. While rates vary widely, on average it costs $2.85 to reach 1,000 iPhone users with a mobile ad, according to mobile-browser firm Opera Software ASA OPERA.OS +1.38% . By comparison, an ad in a national newspaper can cost as much as $50 or $100 for 1,000 viewers, a standard ad-rate metric.

Here's a look at what types of mobile ads are resonating, and which pitches are getting the thumbs down from consumers or marketers.

Search Ads
Just as with the online-ad industry, mobile marketers are plowing the biggest chunk of spending into search ads, where it is easy to prove a person visited a website or bought a product in response to an ad.

About half of all U.S. mobile ad spending goes toward search ads, more than the roughly 47% of total digital spending going into Web search, according to eMarketer. Google takes a 95% share of all mobile-search revenue in the U.S., estimates eMarketer.

In some categories such as hotels, restaurants and auto insurance, "you're seeing bids for ads that are higher on mobile than on desktop," said Jason Spero, who runs Google's mobile-ad business. He adds that "as an industry, we have some work to get" such rates across the board.

Comcast Corp. CMCSA -0.11% has paid for mobile-search ads that allowed users to tap a button on a smartphone to initiate a phone call to the cable company.

The Philadelphia company this year said mobile users accounted for more than 10% of its online sales. The rate at which people clicked on its mobile-search ads was almost four times greater than on desktop ads, Comcast said.

Useful or Fun
Skittish about bombarding mobile users with seemingly random ads, marketers including Kraft Foods Inc. KFT +0.38% and Macy's Inc. M +0.29% are experimenting with messages they want consumers to believe are fun, pay rewards or help them find useful information.

Scott Nordby, president of Innovative Real Estate Group in Colorado, said he pays online-real estate company Zillow Inc. about $340 a month to ensure his thumbnail photo and contact information show up on 10,000 Zillow-powered home listings in a single Denver Zip code. With a few taps on the smartphone screen, a would-be home buyer can call or email Mr. Nordby and his team.

Mr. Nordby said he receives about 150 to 180 inquiries a month—or more than half his total referrals—from would-be home buyers who found him on Zillow. Roughly one in 10 referrals from Zillow come through calls from would-be buyers' smartphones. He adds he's "thrilled" with the results.

Zillow Chief Executive Spencer Rascoff said people who use Zillow on mobile devices are three times more likely to contact agents like Mr. Nordby than people who surf Zillow on a traditional computer.

Big Is Beautiful
As smartphone screens get larger, companies have found some success with ads such as "takeovers" that briefly fill all or most of a device's screen.

San Francisco app company Fotopedia sells such ads on its iPhone and iPad apps, which let people flip through high-quality photographs of Paris, national parks or wild animals.

Marketers including National Geographic and travel websites Jetsetter and Expedia Inc. EXPE -0.65% pay roughly $1 to $1.50 for each user who clicks an ad, which fill a full screen. Like fashion ads in a luxury magazine, the Fotopedia ads appear every 10 "pages" or so of the app.

As many as 18% of people who see an ad click on it, said Christophe Daligault, Fotopedia's senior vice president of global operations. On the Web, it isn't unusual for just 1% of people shown an ad to interact with it, marketers said.

Still, big ads should be used sparingly, some marketers said. Craig Bierley, director of General Motors Co.'s GM -1.86% Buick advertising, said the auto maker tends to limit takeover ads to major product introductions because otherwise "people might find it annoying."

Unfamiliar Places
One approach mobile marketers are trying—with mixed results—is inserting ads in new places to overcome "ad blindness" by consumers used to tuning out marketing pitches in the usual spots, such on the edges on websites.

Start-ups such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. also are slipping ad messages into the flow of virtual conversations on their digital services. Inc. AMZN -0.88% is pushing into new territory with ads on its newest Kindle tablets and e-readers. In the U.S., the company's new $199 Kindle Fire HD device displays ads filling its 7-inch screen whenever a user lets it "go to sleep." In the wake of consumer complaints following the introduction of the new Kindles this month, Amazon offered a $15 option to turn the ads off permanently.

Some Kindle Fire HD buyers said they didn't mind the ads. But Steve Campbell, a 56-year-old resident of Naples, Fla., said, "This thing is just constantly pumping ads at me," and is "tempted" to pay the $15 to opt out of the ads.

An Amazon spokesman declined to comment.

'Spray and Pray'
Banner ads—the boxes or rectangular ads on many mobile websites or apps—are known as the "spray and pray" approach. Marketers, consumers and companies all said these ads are cheap, crude and annoy mobile users. Still, banner ads account for nearly $2 of every $10 spent on U.S. mobile ads, according to eMarketer.

Mr. Rascoff said Zillow stopped showing generic banner ads about a year ago following consumer complaints the ads were irrelevant or hogged space on 4-inch mobile screens. "There's good money to be made, but at what cost?" he said.

Marketers and ad-dependent companies said banner ads are an inevitable first step in a new ad medium, just as the first wave of the Internet was dominated by now notorious pop-up and "dancing cowboy" ads.

Google Algorithm change. What it could mean to search.

Matt Cutts Just Announced A Google Algorithm Change
By Chris Crum
9 hours ago · 1

Google’s Matt Cutts just announced a new Google algorithm change via Twitter. He says it will reduce low-quality “exact-match” domains in search results.

It sounds like an extension of the last change he tweeted about, which was aimed at improving domain diversity. Here’s the new tweet:

Matt Cutts
Minor weather report: small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality “exact-match” domains in search results.
Reply · Retweet · Favorite
13 minutes ago via web · powered by @socialditto
Update: Cutts tweeted a follow-up:

Matt Cutts
New exact-match domain (EMD) algo affects 0.6% of English-US queries to a noticeable degree. Unrelated to Panda/Penguin.
Reply · Retweet · Favorite
7 minutes ago via web · powered by @socialditto
Probably good of him to clear that up right away.

Google is about due to publish its big list of algorithm changes for the months of August and September. When that happens, it will be interesting to see how many entries are related to domains. It seems like there are typically visible themes in the lists. For example, in the June list, there were a lot of changes related to improving how Google deals with natural language.

Have you seen any effects from this update? Let us know.


About Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.
View all posts by Chris Crum →

BB 10 on YouTube

BlackBerry 10 OS Tutorial Videos Find Their Way to YouTube

Sep 28th, 2012 by the BerryReview Team

It seems like BlackBerry 10 just doesn’t want to stay secret anymore. The latest leak comes from BlackBerryItalia (via BBIN) showing off the tutorial videos for BlackBerry 10 on video. There is nothing groundbreaking here but it is some nice explanation of how the device works. Let us know if you spot anything interesting! (This is a video of a video so the quality is a bit off)

Schumacher out, Hamilton in at Mercedes F1

Hamilton to replace Schumacher at Mercedes

Mercedes have confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will replace Michael Schumacher for the 2013 season and beyond, following news that Sergio Perez will join McLaren.
The 27-year-old has signed a three-year deal to partner Nico Rosberg, though it's believed he has been offered clear number one status within the Anglo-German team.
Speaking about the move, the 2008-champion said he was ready for a fresh challenge at a team he can grow and win championships with.
"It is now time for me to take on a fresh challenge and I am very excited to begin a new chapter racing for the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team," Hamilton said in a statement. "Mercedes-Benz has such an incredible heritage in motorsport, along with a passion for winning which I share.
"Together, we can grow and rise to this new challenge. I believe that I can help steer the Silver Arrows to the top and achieve our joint ambitions of winning the world championships."
Team principal Ross Brawn welcomed Hamilton's arrival and the potential he brings to the team which now has "the most dynamic and exciting driver pairing on the grid.
"I am delighted to welcome Lewis Hamilton to our team. The arrival of a driver of Lewis' calibre is a testament to the standing of Mercedes-Benz in Formula One and I am proud that Lewis shares our vision and ambition for the success of the Silver Arrows. I believe that the combination of Lewis and Nico will be the most dynamic and exciting pairing on the grid next year, and I am looking forward to what we can achieve together.
"Over the past three years, we have been putting in place the foundations and building blocks that are needed to compete regularly for the world championship. Behind the scenes, we have assembled a team that is technically stronger, more experienced and better resourced, thanks to the support of Petronas and all of our loyal team partners. The potential is now there to match any other team on the grid, which is the minimum standard for a Mercedes-Benz works team. Our task is now to translate that potential into on-track performance for next season and beyond."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Maps saga, Apple vs Google.

Why Apple Really Ditched Google Maps

By Kyle Wagner, Sep 26, 2012 4:16 PM

It's been a curious thing, wondering why Apple dropped Google Maps in iOS 6 in favor of its own, half-baked mapping system. According to AllThingsD, the answer could be pretty simple: Turn-by-turn voice navigation.

According to ATD's sources, basically, Apple's deal with Google never included turn-by-turn, even though Android has had that feature for years. It put the iPhone at a huge disadvantage in that regard, and Apple couldn't stomach Google calling the shots.

There was a chance things could have been worked out on turn-by-turn, but only if Apple gave up some control of iOS to Google, like what went into the feature set of iOS Maps. Obviously, that was never going to happen.

Clearly the decision to change over from Google Maps was a little more complicated than just voice navigation, but AtD's sources make it clear that it was the main detail:

"There were a number of issues inflaming negotiations, but voice navigation was the biggest," one source familiar with Apple and Google's negotiations told AllThingsD. "Ultimately, it was a deal-breaker."

So there you go. Apple has crappy maps because it couldn't stand not having a killer feature. [AllThingsD]

Is shopping about to reach the Big Thing?

To help get the word out about its new foray into savory snacks, Kellogg’s has opened a dedicated store in London where Twitterers can trade tweets for treats.

If Kim Kardashian can earn $10,000 for tweeting about a company, perhaps the rest of us schmoes at least deserve to earn a bag of chips for the same. Well, now we can.

The Tweet Shop is a retail outlet from Special K that opened this week in London, the brand’s first. Rather than money, the shop thrives on the social currency of its patrons. Created by U.K. agency Slice, the new shop was built to promote Special K Cracker Crisps; another first for the brand, a savory snack. Londoners near Soho can visit the shop from 9a.m.-5p.m. until Friday, September 28, pick out a form tweet from a menu of options, and walk out quenched.

(Sample form tweet: “Special K has gone savory. 3 flavors to try--salt and balsamic vinegar, sweet chili, sour cream and chives #tweetshop #spons”)
These free chips will be sure to tide Twitterers over this week when they’re not smacking a political candidate or trying to win an Audi.

Android is having trouble holding developers interest

by KIM-MAI CUTLER Sep 25, 2012 9:00AM

Even as Android has blown past iOS in terms of total device activations versus Apple’s cumulative device sales, developers still remain more interested in building for iOS, Appcelerator found in a survey of more than 5,500 developers. This could be either because Apple’s iOS continues to monetize better than Android or because there is a lag time. It may take many more months (or years) before developers adjust to understanding that Android likely has a larger active installed base of devices. The Blackberry platform showed a far more precipitous decline, but the reasons for that are far less puzzling.
Appcelerator found that the platform features developers were most interested in included Apple Maps (hah!), followed by the mobile wallet Passbook and then standard upgrades like a faster processor.

Naturally, Apple holds a much stronger lead in the tablet category with the iPad, than it does in smartphones. Apple said it had 68 percent market share from April through June in the tablet category, during the iPhone 5 launch event.

The irony of the split between Android and iOS developer interest is that developers told Appcelerator that the most important factor for them in determining which platform to build for is having a “large installed base of devices.” While no one knows the exact active installed base of devices, the number of daily active users that Facebook’s Android app sees recently surpassed Facebook’s iOS app. On top of that, Android head Andy Rubin said that the platform had seen 500 million activations, while Apple last said it had seen 400 million in cumulative device sales.

As for cross-platform development, developers remain deeply dissatisfied with HTML5 — mostly because of monetization and security issues. And it looks like those won’t be solved anytime soon, especially given that Facebook has now reversed course and is shifting away from HTML5 toward native development. With nearly 1 billion users and a rich ecosystem of developers, they would have been one of the companies that would have been most able to support payments and monetization on the web. Apple, Amazon and Google, meanwhile, are all putting resources behind their own app stores.

Speaking of Facebook, two-thirds of developers think that a mobile-first startup could disrupt the social networking company’s hold on the entire marketplace. One big piece of evidence in support of this has been Instagram’s quick run to accumulate more than 100 million users, attracting enough momentum to force Facebook’s hand with a near $1 billion acquisition.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg really tried to emphasize how mobile has become the company’s top priority at TechCrunch Disrupt earlier this month. He said in the last six months, the company had overhauled its native applications, added a mobile revenue stream in the form of advertising and launched a deep integration into iOS6 with Apple. Yet that may not be enough. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before someone emerges that won’t cave in the face of a $1 billion offer (not unlike how Zuckerberg turned down Yahoo five years ago).

Lastly, developers see smart TVs as the most likely candidate for the next big platform, followed by connected cars and then game consoles. Wearable computing, like Google Glass, comes in at fifth place with two-thirds of developers saying they’d be willing to build apps for by 2015.

Pollution eating clothing? What?

Pollution-Eating Clothing Heads Toward Commercialization
by GREGORY FERENSTEIN posted 1 Hour Ago

A new laundry detergent that coats clothing in pollution-eating nano-particles is on its way to store shelves. The “CatClo” detergent would expand the hot new trend in green fashion to those environmentally consciousness consumers who want to purify the air without buying from couture brands. “If thousands of people in a typical town used the additive, the result would be a significant improvement in local air quality,” said University of Sheffield Professor Anthony Ryan. “This additive creates the potential for community action to deliver a real environmental benefit that could actually help to cut disease and save lives. In Sheffield, for instance, if everyone washed their clothes in the additive, there would be no pollution problem caused by nitrogen oxides at all.”
So-called Catalytic Clothing utilizes “Nano-titania, or nanosized particles of titanium dioxide, [which] work as powerful catalyst agents that speed up the conversion of harmful NOx air pollutants to harmless byproducts that can be washed away with the rain,” explains Scientific American magazine.
The trend began at a chance meeting between Ryan and fashion designer Helen Story at SciArt, an initiative to bring scientists and artists together. The next step is to turn the product into a detergent. ”We’re now working closely with a manufacturer of environmentally friendly cleaning products to commercialize our laundry additive,” Ryan said.
The detergent might cost a bit more, but given the heavy toll that air pollution takes in asthma, cardiac and other diseases, Ryan says it’s worth the price. “We believe that using the additive in a final rinse with a full washing load could potentially cost as little as 10 pence [about 16 cents] – a small price to pay for the knowledge that you’re doing something tangible to tackle air pollution and increase the life expectancy of people with respiratory conditions. We’re confident there’s a really big market out there for this product.”


Facebook and Dropbox. Should Google Drive be worried?

Facebook and Dropbox bring seamless file sharing to groups

By Nate Ralph 9 Minutes Ago

Dropbox now offers the ability to share files with friends in Facebook groups. Now, by linking your Facebook and Dropbox accounts, and a new option to pluck files directly from your cloud storage will appear when you create new posts on a group's wall. The files will remain hosted on your Dropbox folder, which should make keeping track of any updates a bit easier. Last month Vimeo turned to Dropbox to integrate seamless file uploads, adding another feather to service's collaboration-cap.

More importantly, these new features could prove to be a shot across the bow at services like Google Drive. Group sharing launches today, and users should see it arrive on their Dropbox and Facebook accounts soon.

BB Jam. What it could mean for RIM.

RIM shares rise after yesterday’s BlackBerry Jam
Posted by Eric Abent on September 26, 2012.

Yesterday, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins took the stage in San Jose to talk about some of the upcoming features in BlackBerry 10. Though RIM is taking its sweet time bringing BlackBerry 10 to market, Heins did have some good news to report, telling the audience that BlackBerry users have grown to 80 million, up from 78 million from previous quarter. In addition to delivering that glimmer of hope for the struggling company, Heins also showed off a handful of new features that will be present in BlackBerry 10, and that address seems to be sitting well with investors today.

RIM’s stock is trading up today, breaking the $7 mark earlier for a gain of about 7%. Of course, it fluctuated throughout the remainder of the day, resting at $7.00 even (6.06% gain) by the time the closing bell signaled the end of the regular trading day on Wall Street. That is definitely good news for RIM, which has been losing market share at a pretty steady rate ever since iOS and Android took over the smartphone scene.

RIM is counting on BlackBerry 10 to pull it out of this rut, with Heins saying yesterday that the new mobile OS has a shot at becoming a solid third behind iOS and Android. BlackBerry recently fell below 5% market share, which is a far cry from where it was at when BlackBerry mania was in full swing. In all, RIM’s stock has fallen 90% in value from its peak, which signals that some major changes need to happen before users leave the company behind entirely and it goes the way of the dinosaurs.

Make no mistake, BlackBerry 10 certainly looks like a solid OS, but the question on everyone’s mind is whether it will be a strong enough contender to bring RIM back from the brink. We’ll find out the answer to that question soon enough, but for now, we’ll just let the executives at RIM revel in today’s victories. Check out or story timeline below for more posts on RIM and BlackBerry.

iPhone 5 vs 4 display comparison

How Much Better Is The iPhone 5′s Display Vs. The iPhone 4? This Pic Says It All
Published on September 26, 2012
Written by: John Brownlee

In a single magnified image, photographer and Retinal neuroscience Bryan Jones perfectly captures the incredible increase in display quality from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 5.

Jones put the iPhone 5 display under a stereomicroscope and photographed the pixels of the display with a Canon 1D MKIII, then compared the photo one made under the same conditions of the iPhone 4′s display.

The difference is incredibly obvious even to an untrained eye. Yeah, sure, they’re both Retina displays… but the pixels of one of them look murky and blurred, while the pixels on the other look like bright, colorful Christmas lights photographed in a vacuum. Incredible.

Source: Jonesblog
Via: iSmashphone

Price to earnings. Most watched, least understood. Is it important?

Ask a Fool: What is the P/E Ratio?
Austin Smith - September 24, 2012

In the spirit of better investing, and in celebration of the first annual Worldwide Invest Better Day (WWIBD) coming up on September 25, Motley Fool analysts will be answering user- and reader-submitted questions leading up to the big event. "Ask a Fool" anything, and we'll do our best to help you invest better.

The P/E ratio, or price-to-earnings ratio, is one of the most watched and also most misunderstood metrics out there for investors. In the following video, analyst Austin Smith explains the ins and outs of calculating and interpreting a P/E ratio. First, our Foolish analyst considers that the median stock in the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) has historically had a P/E ratio of about 15. He then zeros in on a few companies' current ratios for closer examination. Watch the video below to learn more.

Click the green button below to join the thousands of people celebrating Worldwide Invest Better Day on September 25!

Cisco acquires ThinkSmart Technologies.

by LEENA RAO posted 1 Hour Ago

Cisco has made an interesting acquisition today, announcing the purchase of ThinkSmart Technologies, a company that delivers location data analysis using Wi-Fi technology. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ThinkSmart’s technology enhances a wireless network infrastructure with location analytics for service provider and enterprise customers. The startup’s location analytics collects information on movement within a venue including time of day, traffic patterns and dwell times. Cisco says that this information then allows enterprises and venue operators improve the customer experience by identifying appropriate staffing levels, reducing wait times, optimizing business processes, and improving customer flows.

Thus also seems like a talent acquisition for Cisco as well. The ThinkSmart team has doctorate degrees with expertise in computer science, mathematics, data mining, clustering, pattern recognition, optimization, and complex event processing. ThinkSmart was initially incubated at Ireland’s University College Cork (UCC).

Cisco says that with consumers using more mobile devices, ThinkSmart’s network and Wi-Fi location analytics capabilities can help the customer Wi-Fi experience in public venues such as retail locations, hotels and airports
ThinkSmart will join Cisco’s Wireless Networking Group and will be integrated into the Cisco Mobility Services Engine.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

BB 10 Bluetooth file transfers...

HomeBlackBerry NewsNews & Rumors

Hands-on demo of Bluetooth file transfers on BlackBerry 10
by Bla1ze on 25 Sep 2012 11:10 PM

While checking out the BlackBerry Dev Alpha B today, I wanted to see some sample camera and video shots. With no direct way to offload the files, I decided to test out the Bluetooth functionality and found some small but awesome touches built into that scenario.

As shown on the video above, when BlackBerry 10 is released your Bluetooth file transfers will take on some rather elegant notifications to keep you in the loop as to what is happening.

Check it out for yourself

Ready for Windows 8? Intel suggests not quite yet.

Intel CEO Says Windows 8 is Not Fully Ready
7:10 PM - September 25, 2012

At a company meeting, Paul Otellini reportedly told employees that Windows 8 is released before it is "fully ready", according to an article published by Bloomberg. However, getting Windows 8 ready now is the right decision and Microsoft can release updates afterwards to fix bugs.

It is not unusual that software ships with some bugs as many companies typically resort to an 80/20 strategy in which 80 percent is good enough and the remaining 20 percent too expensive to achieve. We should also remember that Microsoft also released Windows XP and Windows 7 in October to be able to make the Christmas season of sales. Vista was originally scheduled for an October 2006 release, but delayed to January 2007 due to critical bugs. Microsoft used "Express Upgrades" in October 2006 instead - and had to deal with a logistic disaster in early 2007. If Microsoft can avoid a delay for Windows 8, it will go to great lengths to do so, even if that means that Windows 8 will ship with some annoying bugs.

Of course, it is highly unusual that Otellini's remarks, if they were made in the reported way, are making it into the public. Windows 8 has already been criticized left and right and if Intel now suggests that the operating system still has bugs that need to be worked out, then more than just a few prospective computer buyers may decide to stick with Windows 7. That, of course, also means that Intel will be taking a hit in potential CPU sales as customers are delaying their purchases.

Surprise! Apple opts out of Google Maps a year early.

The Verge has the scoop from two anonymous sources about what really went down between Apple and Google over replacing the latter’s maps on iOS 6:

Apple’s decision to ship its own mapping system in the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 was made over a year before the company’s agreement to use Google Maps expired, according to two independent sources familiar with the matter. The decision, made sometime before Apple’s WWDC event in June, sent Google scrambling to develop an iOS Google Maps app — an app which both sources say is still incomplete and currently not scheduled to ship for several months.

According to the report, Apple abruptly decided to end the agreement with Google Maps as it was inferior to the version available on Android OS, as iOS did not have access to turn-by-turn directions. An earlier WSJ report noted Google wanted deeper branding and features within iOS, and did not agree with Apple’s renewal terms. Rumours of Google Maps being replaced were heard as far back as May of last year.

Just yesterday, Google Executive Chairman (and former Apple Board of Director) Eric Schmidt revealed there is no Google Maps for iOS in the making, and also relayed it was not their call when it came to Apple ditching Google Maps.

Apple Maps has come under scrutiny and criticism by iOS users for some of its inaccuracies and lack of transit routes. Apple is reportedly hiring ex-Google employees to work on iOS 6 maps, and also spoke out about Maps, saying it was only going to get better.

Back in June, we compared Google Maps to Apple Maps in iOS 6 and how it looked in Vancouver. How are you liking Apple Maps in iOS 6?

Update: The NYT is reporting Google is working on an iOS map version to be released by the end of the year. The app should come with 3D imagery like Apple Maps, and will take those images from the existing Google Earth app. The report also corroborates the story above, where two similar sources spoke to the The Verge.

Google is developing a maps application for iPhone and iPad that it is seeking to finish by the end of the year, according to people involved with the effort who declined to be named because of the nature of their work.

Google goes driverless. California agrees.

Nobody's driving: California governor signs legislation paving the way for driverless cars

Google co-founder Sergey listens to California Gov. Edmund G Brown Jr. during a bill signing for driverless cars at Google headquarters in Mountain...more
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - Gov. Jerry Brown rode to Google headquarters in a self-driving Toyota Prius before signing legislation Tuesday that will pave the way for driverless cars in California.

The bill by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla will establish safety and performance regulations to test and operate autonomous vehicles on state roads and highways.

"Today we're looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow's reality — the self-driving car," Brown said. "Anyone who gets inside a car and finds out the car is driving will be a little skittish, but they'll get over it."

Google has been developing autonomous car technology and lobbying for the regulations. The company's fleet of a dozen computer-controlled vehicles has logged more than 300,000 miles of self-driving without an accident, according to Google.

"I think the self-driving car can really dramatically improve the quality of life for everyone," Google co-founder Sergey Brin said.

Autonomous cars can make roads safer, free commuters from the drudgery of driving, reduce congestion and provide transport to people who can't drive themselves, such as the blind, disabled, elderly and intoxicated, Brin said.

"I expect that self-driving cars will be far safer than human-driven cars," Brin said.

Brin predicted that autonomous vehicles will be commercially available within a decade. He said Google has no plans to produce its own cars, but instead plans to partner with the automobile industry to develop autonomous vehicles.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers expressed concern that California is moving too quickly to embrace self-driving cars and needs to first sort out liability issues.

"Unfortunately this legislation lacks any provision protecting an automaker whose car is converted to an autonomous operation vehicle without the consent or even knowledge of that auto manufacturer," the trade group said in a statement.

Autonomous cars use computers, sensors and other technology to operate independently, but a human driver can override the autopilot function and take control of the vehicle at any time.

With smartphone-wielding drivers more distracted than ever, backers say robotic vehicles have the potential to significantly reduce collisions and traffic fatalities, noting that nearly all car accidents are a result of human error.

The legislation requires the California Department of Motor Vehicles to draft regulations for autonomous vehicles by Jan. 1, 2015. Currently, state law doesn't mention self-driving cars because the technology is so new.

The regulations would allow vehicles to operate autonomously, but a licensed driver would still need to sit behind the wheel to serve as a backup operator in case of emergency.

The legislation also is aimed at keeping California at the forefront of the autonomous car industry since Stanford University and Silicon Valley companies have been working on the technology for years.

In February, Nevada became the first U.S. state to approve regulations spelling out requirements for companies to test driverless cars on that state's roads.

Carmakers such as Audi AG, BMW AG, Ford Motor Co. and Volvo have been working on autonomous car technology for years.

In recent years, automakers also have been introducing autonomous functions such as self-parking, lane departure warnings and adaptive cruise-control, which allows vehicles to automatically accelerate and decelerate with the flow of traffic.

Outside a cafe in Mountain View, customers said they looked forward to a day when their cars could drive themselves, as long as they could do it safely.

"It would make our streets safer," said Barrett Howard, 33, an auto technician. "We wouldn't have to worry about people texting or getting sidetracked. The computer will take over, and it will make life easier."

© Copyright (c) The Associated Press

Just get the iPhone 5? Want to stop advertisers in their tracks?

Did you just get an iPhone 5 or upgrade to iOS 6? Here’s how to stop advertisers from tracking you
Published on September 25th, 2012
Written by: Zach Epstein

Apple’s (AAPL) new iPhone 5 is the fastest-selling smartphone of all time thanks in part to pent-up demand for a sleek new design. The new iPhone also ships with iOS 6, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, and packs more than 200 new features compared to the previous version of iOS. Among those features is a new option in the device’s settings that allows users to limit ad tracking, which prevents advertising networks from tracking iOS device owners’ usage and utilizing that data to serve targeted ads.

The setting is left off by default but iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners who wish to prevent ad networks from collecting personal data and using it to serve them targeted advertisements can block ad tracking by opening the Settings app and going to General, then About. Scrolling down to Advertising and turning “Limit Ad Tracking” on will enable the feature.

Once turned on, ad networks will not have access to usage data or a device’s unique advertising identifier, which would otherwise be utilized to track a user and serve targeted ads. It should be noted that Apple does not yet require that all apps use the new advertising identifier in place of the previous tracking method (which uses device UDIDs), so some apps may continue to serve targeted ads until this requirement is put in place.

BGR recently reviewed the iPhone 5 and called it a class leader in almost every category.

Garmin updates iOS navigation app. Features Google Street View. Drum roll please...

Garmin Navigation App For iPhone Updated, Now Features Google Street View And Public Transportation Info
By Ben Reid | September 26th, 2012

When Apple announced its very own Maps app for iOS 6, featuring turn-by-turn navigation and sumptuous 3D maps, companies behind some of the biggest sat-nav apps must have been quite concerned about future business. As it turns out, now is a pretty good time for said companies to plug their map-centric software, since the iOS Maps offering by Apple hasn’t been particularly popular, to put it mildly.

Garmin has come through with one such timely update to its StreetPilot navigation app for iOS, which now includes Google Street View and public transportation support, among a slew of new and intriguing features. One of my favorite new quirks to what has always been a pretty solid navigation app, is the so-called “urban guidance,” which novelly takes into consideration public transport options, such as trains, trams, buses and even boats when trying to find a practical pedestrian route.

Including the word “Google” in an app focused on navigation is certainly a good idea at this point in time, thus the inclusion of Google Street View into the StreetPilot fold wouldn’t have done the app’s image any harm whatsoever.

The advantage of Garmin, TomTom etc. over Apple Maps is that all the info is downloaded, so even if the cellular signal goes kaput, your journey won’t be interrupted whilst your device strengthens its signal.

Garmin is certainly looking to capitalize on Apple’s sub-par app, and as such, is offering Garmin for a cut-price until October 7th. Garmin North America costs $44.99, where it’s normally priced at a cent under the $60 mark. Meanwhile, Garmin USA, UK & Ireland, and Western Europe are also $15 cheaper than usual, costing $39.99, $59.99 and $84.99. Additionally, the Urban Guidance feature, which is supported a bunch of the world’s major cities, is available in the form of in-app purchase for less than normal – $2.99 as opposed to the usual $4.99.

Good savings indeed, although personally, I’ll stick with the well-functioning, and altogether more aesthetically-pleasing from TomTom. Yes, looks aren’t the end-all, be-all – particularly when you’re trying to get from A to B – but I think that cluttered look would be a bit too distracting when driving.

(Source: Garmin StreetPilot onDemand for iPhone on App Store) (via Garmin)

Would you spend 25g for a TV? Sony hopes so....

Sony's $25,000 84-inch XBR 4K LED TV

Posted: 3 hours 38 mins ago

Sony's latest television offering is an 84-inch beauty offering four times the resolution of current HD TV's on the market, and it'll set you back $25,000. Jessica Chobot is on location with Sony's Ray Hartjen getting an up close look.

Monday, September 24, 2012

iPhone 5 vs 4 S low light camera comparo

iPhone 5 camera gets tested in Iceland, panorama and low-light comparison with iPhone 4S included



Sure, we tested the iPhone 5's camera in the well-lit streets of New York City, but if you're wondering how Apple's latest functions when used primarily as a shooter, TREK has a pretty remarkable look. Photog Austin Mann and a few of his closest pals took a pair of iPhone 5s to Iceland following launch weekend in a bid to test the unit's durability, capability and image quality next to the 4S. After two days of geyser spray and admitted "drops in mud," the uncovered 5 seemed to be a-okay, and when it comes to output from the sensor, that's worthy of praise as well.

The low-light capabilities of the 5 are perhaps the most impressive upgrade compared to the 4S, with much less noise seen in shots from the former. He also gushed over the panorama mode, which admittedly churned out some pretty seamless results of the Icelandic countryside. As for shutter speed? That too has been "significantly" improved over the 4S.

He interestingly noted that Snapseed was acting a bit wonky with iOS 6, but one has to wonder how much smoothing will be done by the Nik team now that Google's calling the shots. Hit the source link below for the full rundown, comparisons included, and a video that shows how the iPhone 5 reacts after sunset.
View Gallery:iPhone 5 shooting landscapes in Iceland

TREK, Gallery of iPhone 5 images

How much display technology is enough?

Pity. Out of my experience so far, only my Blackberry display is perfectly usable in outdoor sunlight. Sometimes, are advancements really advancements?

Let's see here...
The five-inch 1080p HTC phone could be one of five Nexus devices launching this year
Sep 24th, 2012 @ 01:40 pm › Daniel Bader
↓ Skip to comments

There has been a rumour circulating for months now that Google would be expanding its Nexus line to include phones from five different vendors. The last three years the company has worked with one manufacturer (HTC then Samsung then Samsung again) to release a Nexus product but due to the relative commercial success of the Galaxy Nexus, Google plans to expand the pure Android experience.

One such device could be a variation of the Droid Incredible X, that rumoured five-inch 1080p HTC phone we saw earlier this month. Rumoured to be called either the Nexus 5 or Nexus 5X, the device is expected to pack a 1.5Ghz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB RAM, a 12MP camera with up to 64GB of internal storage. There’s going to be a larger 2500mAh battery and LTE connectivity included, too.

Also expected is a bump in Android version to 4.1.2 with improvements to the lock screen and better performance through Project Butter. While none of this information is secured, the source is supposedly a reliable HTC informant who has provided accurate leaks in the past.

Considering the Galaxy Nexus was announced just under a year ago, it’s high time Google gets ready to make waves again.

Source: GSM Arena

Related posts:

Samsung “Superior” could be one of the 5 rumoured Nexus devices to launch this year
Asus and Google rumoured to partner on a $199 7-inch Tegra 3-powered Nexus tablet, Google Play?
LG, Sony and Samsung Nexus devices mentioned in Japanese carrier document (Rumour)
Galaxy Nexus launching in Canada “within the next few weeks”
Categories: Mobile News
Tags: 5X, android, Android 4.1.2, HTC, nexus, Nexus 5, One 5X, One X5

OTA's and Tesla. Good idea or bad?

In Automotive First, Tesla Pushes Over-the-Air Software Patch

In the future, your automobile will be locked in the same cycle of never-ending software upgrades that holds sway over computers and smartphones. For Tesla Model S owners, the future is now.

Over 100 Model S drivers will receive the auto industry’s first ever over-the-air operating system update for their new sedans within the next two weeks, Tesla says. In addition to a handful of minor code changes, the mandatory upgrade to 1.9.11 will tweak the range calculator to lower the car’s estimated driving range by 35 miles.

“Some changes may contribute to the safety parameters of the car or make material improvements to the technology,” adds Tesla spokeswoman Shanna Hendriks. ”Some changes will provide the driver the option to control/turn off any added new features — such as idle creep.”

Image: Tesla
Model S owners will notice an alarm clock icon at the top of the sedan’s 17-inch touchscreen alerting them of the update, and according to Tesla, the owner can schedule the software modification for a time of their choosing. The Model S has to be parked to perform the upgrade and Tesla says the software push should take around two hours to complete. If the Model S is plugged in, charging will pause until the update is done, and then resume immediately. There is no way for drivers to opt out of the upgrade.

While both Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler have announced plans to perform over-the-air updates to select models next year, Tesla will be the first automaker to issue an update using either the embedded 3G data connection in the car or a WiFi signal provided by the driver’s home internet connection.

The software push brings to cars the sometimes frustrating technological rite of the software patch. Once carried out over physical media, if at all, the internet turned upgrades into a standard part of the computing experience. Microsoft Windows users, for example, are accustomed to the second Tuesday of the month delivering a new bundle of security patches. Mac OS X normally checks for software updates from Apple every week.

With embedded data connections and on-board WiFi, the over-the-air upgrade path has been edging closer to the automotive industry with each new vehicle launch, as automakers strive to deliver more functionality to a generation of auto-buyers who’ve grown up with connected gadgets.

The major feature of Tesla’s reworked software will be replacing the Rated Range in Max Range mode, which is currently set at 300 miles. The new Rated Range will reflect the EPA’s 5-cycle test, which rated the Model S at 265 miles.

As we detailed in our review, there are two displayed ranges on the Model S: the Rated Range, which is based on ideal driving conditions, and the Projected Range, which utilizes data from the last 30 miles driven to determine approximately how far the driver can go on the current charge. This new Rated Range algorithm is more aggressive, and according to the automaker, “means your Rated Range will be easier to ‘beat’ with efficient driving and will be more accurate given spirited driving.”

Tesla also points out that this update will not affect the storage or driving abilities of the Model S.

The two minor, consumer-facing features of the update include the ability to display only projected or rated range in the customizable instrument panel behind the steering wheel. The other feature is a new entry/exit protocol that will turn on the instrument panel and touchscreen when any door is opened (previously this was limited to the driver’s door), and the previously played audio track resuming automatically, but beginning at a lower volume. When leaving the vehicle, the volume will descend and all the displays will stay on until the last door is closed.

Facebook in free fall? Not yet, but how far?

The Buzz - Investment and Stock Market News
Facebook plunges 9% on $15 price call
September 24, 2012 @ 1:03 PM › Maureen Farrell
↓ Leave a comment

Facebook’s shares are falling again after climbing 30% over several weeks.

Since its botched initial public offering in May, investors have heatedly discussed the following question about Facebook (FB): How low can it go?

After surging last week to a recent high of above $23 a share from its all-time low of $17.55, it looked like the Facebook fans finally had reason to celebrate. But Facebook’s stock plummeted more than 9% Monday after an article appeared in Barron’s over the weekend which declared that $15 is the right price for Facebook. The debate between Facebook bulls and bears continued on StockTwits.

RahulTongia: Facebook Is Worth $15 via @barronsonline - $FB interesting take and also agree that FB doesn’t have a clear strategy

MiamiHeat:$FB is there anything new in article? No, all old news, pricedin, nothing changed, buy on dips.

It’s true that there’s not much new in the article. The author notes Facebook’s well-chronicled troubles, particularly its challenge making money from the shift to mobile web browsing.

Yet it still may be shocking to the broader investing public to see just how much more expensive Facebook is than Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL). At $23, Facebook is trading at 47 times its projected 2012 profit. Both Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL) only trade for 16 times 2012 earnings.

Related: What the Zuck? Facebook up 30% from lows

Still not all traders agree, and some members of the StockTwits world clearly think that a price below $21 is s a good time to buy.

DeidreZune: My view is the selloff in $FB is an opportunity at this point. Many things beginning to go right.

AheadoftheNews: $FB just remember that it is one on the most shorted stocks out there, and why 30/40% rallies in 10 days will happen again.

lionking: $FB This drop is healthy. Weak hands taken out. Next leg up will be fast and way higher. Doesn’t look like today tho.

So will Facebook fall to $15? I’m not sure. But it seems like the days of predicting outlandishly high price targets for Facebook are ancient history. Now, the eye-popping predictions....

Like your work? Hate your job? Here's how to get what you want.

Build a website that Gets Visitors and Makes Money - Without Being a Technical Genius
How To Turn Your Current Job Into an Online Business
If you’re stuck doing a job you don’t like but are having trouble coming up with a business idea for a website, the answer is probably more obvious than you think. In fact, it’s probably been right under your nose for years.

Let me ask you a question. Which is it you don’t like? Your job or your work?

When most people say they want to start working for themselves, it’s the job they want to ditch and not the work.

That’s because the job means:

* Having a boss
* Having to be at work at set times
* Having to deal with office politics and all that crap

But the work – the thing you actually do – is usually something you like. So why not create a business around that?

You may not have realized it before, but if you’ve been doing your job for any length of time you’ve picked up all kinds of skills and inside knowledge that could be turned into a website, blog or information product like an ebook or course.

It’ll be all of the work you love, with none of the job-related stuff – like a boss – you don’t.

There are two basic ways you can cash in on your knowledge.

1. Help people who want to acquire the skill you have.
Most jobs have an exam that needs passing or a skill that needs learning somewhere along the line. You help people get to that point.

2. Create a product or service to make life easier for people doing the job.
Think about the kind of boring, repetitive tasks that need to be done but nobody actually likes doing (“pain points”, in marketing speak). Or the kind of skills needed for the job that are the most difficult to master.

Why not create a website, ebook or online course that shows people how to learn that skill or makes the boring task easier?

It’s not as difficult as it seems – you’re really just explaining what you know.

Think about the money
Once you’ve thought about the type of information or service you’re going to supply, the next step is to consider how you’ll make money from your project.

Tip: Don’t gloss over this part or think that you’ll launch a blog and then worry about finding a way to generate an income later. Financial success will come quicker if you make monetization a key part of your plan right from the start.

The 4 main ways to make money online
1. Advertising
Probably the most common revenue method. Typically, you build a website or write a blog on your chosen subject and use an ad agency like Google AdSense to sell ad placements on your site. In the case of AdSense, you’ll get paid every time a visitor clicks an ad on your site.

Pros: Easy to set up.

Cons: Profitable for many site niches but not all.

2. Affiliate links
With affiliate marketing, you recommend products related to your niche and pick up a sales commission when someone follows your link and buys the product.

Pros: With the right products, you can usually make more money as an affiliate marketer than with advertising.

Cons: There’s a skill to writing about products without sounding like a sales bore and it takes a while for affiliate sales to take off.

3. Courses, ebooks and membership sites
With these methods you’re doing similar things – collecting everything you know about a subject and putting it in a convenient package for users to buy.

Pros: You get to keep the most amount of money.

Cons: This method is the most amount of work because you have to create the product before you can sell it.

4. Provide a service or work as a consultant
Many people moving straight from a regular job will find this the easiest because it’s the most similar to a normal job – except it’s freelance and has all the freedom that comes with that.

The trick is to create incredibly useful content on your chosen subject that positions you as an expert in your field. Do that, and you’ll find clients will seek you out.

Pros: Easy and quick to get started.

Cons: You’re hiring out your time, so you can’t earn while you sleep – but you can certainly generate leads while you sleep.

How do I choose which will work best?
The truth is, many site owners use more than one method on their site, often experimenting until it’s clear one method makes more sense than the others.

Whichever you choose, you’re going to need a website.

Launching a website
If you’ve never set one up before it might sound like a big deal, but there are only three steps, with an optional fourth.

1. Buy a domain name and web hosting and set up WordPress to publish your site. The absolute easiest way to do all three in one go is to use a service like HostGator where you can buy a domain name and hosting and have WordPress automatically installed by them. It’s basically a ten minute process and costs a few dollars a month.

2. Get a classy WordPress theme. No one will take you seriously if you don’t have a professional web design. Inexpensive places you can pick up a professional WordPress theme include Studio Press and Elegant Themes.

3. Create amazing free content. This will be your honeypot, drawing the eager bees to your site for more as they find your site via search engines and social networks.

If you don’t fancy yourself as a blogger, you can make videos, slides, podcasts or any other type of content that fits your personal style and the content you’re creating.

4. Put a mailing list in place (optional but highly recommended). A mailing list is one of the best ways to build a database of potential customers.

Don’t make the mistake of waiting until your site is getting hundreds of visits a day to start building a mailing list.

Even if you’ve just launched and your traffic is low, start building a list straight away. The extra visits you’ll generate will help you get to hundreds of visits a day much quicker.

Can a former RIM CEO make a difference? Mike Lazaridis thinks so....

How RIM's Mike Lazaridis plans to turn Waterloo into the ‘Quantum Valley’
By Andrew Webster 15 Minutes Ago

"What we have here is the Bell Labs of the 21st century," proclaimed Mike Lazaridis, co-founder and vice-chairman of Research In Motion, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre (QNC) last week. Nestled in the middle of the University of Waterloo's campus, the new facility is designed to bring researchers from quantum computing and nanotechnology together under one roof. "We're going to have an insight that we believe will be unique," Lazaridis says of bringing the two disciplines together. And just as Bell Labs fostered a boom of innovation leading to the creation of Silicon Valley in California, Lazaridis believes that the QNC will have a similar impact on the troubled Waterloo region.

"It doesn't exist anywhere else in the world."

While separate fields of study, both disciplines are concerned with matter on an incredibly small scale. Nanotechnology deals with the manipulation of matter on an atomic and molecular level, while quantum computing hopes to exploit the laws of physics to — among many other things — shrink transistors to the size of individual atoms. As we look to create smaller and smaller devices, both fields have become important avenues of scientific research. "There are many institutes of nanotechnology around the world, and similarly institutes for quantum computing," says university president Feridun Hamdullahpur. "They exist in other parts of the world. But to put the two of them together — this is the first of its kind. It doesn't exist anywhere else in the world."

The 285,000 square foot building will be shared by the Institute of Quantum Computing and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, each of which will occupy separate halves of the facility. The exterior features a distinctive honeycomb-like steel structure surrounding some of the upper-most windows, while the inside includes a hypnotic set of suspended stairs. White boards cover many of the walls in case of emergency bouts of inspiration and areas like meeting rooms and offices are laid out in such a way as to encourage people from both sides to bump into one another. Meanwhile, state-of-the-art vibration dampening prevents sensitive areas like the cleanroom and fabrication facility from moving more than a fraction of the width of a human hair.

One of the more striking areas of the QNC is a six-story-tall atrium that serves as the connective tissue between the two disciplines. This open area — with windows lining seemingly every surface, bathing it in a constant stream of natural light — is what the university describes as an "informal gathering place." Anyone is free to wander in and it doubles as a handy shortcut for cutting across campus. It was here that Lazaridis addressed the crowd on opening day, explaining that the goal of the QNC is "to quote one of our most famous Canadians: 'to boldly go where no man has gone before.'"

And the people behind the $160 million building — which Hamdullahpur calls "the most expensive building in this university and in this country" among scientific facilities — are nothing if not ambitious. While Bell Labs gave birth to prominent innovations like the transistor and the laser, Hamdullahpur believes that the fruits of the QNC could lead to everything from "lighter and safer cars" and "batteries that will store a lot more energy" to "computers that will do things that we can't even imagine." Lazaridis, meanwhile, describes the potential applications as "mind-boggling," citing future developments like "drugs that are targeted at individual cells" and both self-healing and invisible metals.

Self-healing and invisible metals could be in the QNC's future

This level of innovation could help reinvigorate a region whose destiny has largely been tied to that of the much-troubled RIM — a company ironically co-founded and run until very recently by the man bankrolling this new facility. As the BlackBerry maker has struggled to keep up with Apple and Google in the smartphone race, reports of layoffs have been all too common. It's good news for those who live in the Waterloo area, then, that the most tangible benefit of the QNC's future success will be the creation of jobs, according to Lazaridis. "It's developments leading to products," he explained. "It's products leading to companies. And it's companies leading to jobs." And those companies, he believes, will help turn the region into a place he calls the "Quantum Valley."

Of course, reaching such lofty goals requires special people, and Hamdullahpur says that the school has already seen an increase in both the quantity and quality of student applications. Unsurprisingly, expectations are high. "We believe that this place has that capacity, that potential to generate the next Nobel Prize winner," he says. And while we should take these statements with a grain of salt, since both Hamdullahpur and Lazaridis have much at stake — one is the president of the university while the other has donated more than $100 million to the QNC project — they're not the only ones that see the building's potential.

"It's clear to me that this place is special," Stephen Hawking said during the opening ceremony. "This institution will advance our understanding of matter and movement, illuminating deep mysteries with the light of scientific discovery."

Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel for Waterloo after all.

Some other rules to use as guideposts.

Things we once considered opposing forces--doing right by people and delivering results, collaborating and keeping focus, having a social purpose and making money--are really not in opposition. They never have been. But we need a more sophisticated approach to understand business models where making a profit doesn't mean losing purpose, community, and connection. Finding the right balance among them is key. We will find that balance as we shape new constructs for business models, strategies, and leadership. What we can create will be rich in many senses of the word.

Here are the social-era rules that allow both people and institutions to thrive:

1. Connections create value.
The social era will reward those organizations that realize they don't create value all by themselves. If the industrial era was about building things, the social era is about connecting things, people, and ideas. Networks of connected people with shared interests and goals create ways that can produce returns for any company that serves their needs.

2. Power in community.
Power used to come largely through and from big institutions. Today power can and does come from connected individuals in community. Power can come from the way you work with others, such as one party offering a platform to the multitude of creators. When community invests in an idea, it also co-owns its success. Instead of trying to achieve scale by all by yourself, we have a new way to have scale: scale can be in, with, and through community.

3. Collaboration > control.
Organizations that "let go at the top"--forsaking proprietary claims and avoiding hierarchy--are agile, flexible, and poised to leap from opportunity to opportunity, sacrificing short-term payoffs for long-term prosperity. No longer can management espouse the notion that good ideas can come from everywhere, while actually pursuing a practice in which direction is owned by a few. Instead of centralized decisions, there is distributed input, decision making, and distributed ownership.

4. Celebrate onlyness.
The foundational element starts with celebrating each human and, more specifically, something I've termed onlyness. Onlyness is that thing that only one particular person can bring to a situation. It includes the skills, passions, and purpose of each human. Each of us is standing in a spot that no one else occupies. That unique point of view is born of our accumulated experience, perspective, and vision. Without this tenet of celebrating onlyness, we allow ourselves to be simply cogs in a machine--dispensable and undervalued.

5. Allow all talent.
"Doing work" no longer requires a badge and a title within a centralized organization. Anyone--without preapproval or vetting or criteria--will create and contribute. And this fundamental shift changes how any organization creates value, and how many individuals gather together. This talent inclusion--across ages, genders, cultures, sexual orientation--is essential for solving new problems as well as for finding new solutions to old problems. Be the one to enable that connected individual in your enterprise, through systems and leadership, and you win.

6. Consumers become co-creators.
More and more companies embrace consumers as "co-creation" partners in their innovation efforts, instead of as buyers at the end of a value chain. Consumers, traditionally considered as value exchangers or extractors, are now seen as a source of value creation and competitive advantage. This collaboration shares power between the participants as we start to recognize value creation as an act of exchange, not simply a one-way transaction. As an exchange, all parties need to do it sustainably as each must have equilibrium to stay viable.

7. Mistakes can build trust.
Reach and connection in the social era start to be understood as a relationship similar to falling in love, following an arc of romance, struggle, commitment, and co-creation. These are not easily controlled by one party over the other but are a process of coming together. And the relationship gains strength from trying new things and the resulting failures, for it is in the process of making mistakes--and the ensuing forgiveness--that resilience develops.

8. Learn. Unlearn. (Repeat.)
Adaptability is central to how organizations and people thrive in the social era. In psychological language, the key to adaptability and personal growth is resilience. In biology, the equivalent term for adaptive skills is plasticity. In the social era, the term to use is flexibility. Instead of viewing strategy as a set end point, it becomes a horizon to aim for. Instead of asking employees to each simply man their own oar, we must encourage their capacity to navigate as conditions shift. Instead of perfection and getting it right the first time, innovation can be continuous.

9. Bank on openness.
Protecting intellectual property allows a company to keep its edge, to erect barriers to entry from competitors, to establish entirely new markets. At least, it used to. Then along came the social era, with its networks through which open, connected ideas became powerful, even catalytic. It's the difference between holding our ideas in a tight, closed fist or holding out our hand, open to what happens next.
10. Social purpose unleashes ownership.

The social object that unites people isn't a company or a product; the social object that most unites people is a shared value or purpose. Money motivates neither the best people nor the best in people. Purpose does. When people know the purpose of an organization, they don't need to check in or get permission to take the next step; they can just do it. Nonprofits have leveraged the power of people and purpose for years. But business hasn't been able to see the upside of purpose. With social purpose, alignment happens without coordination costs.

11. (There are no answers.)
Don't assume any set of rules is fully baked. Accept that your job is to stay alert to what happens next to figure out what assumptions need to be tuned. Listen, learn, adapt.

Let's dive in.

Reprinted by permission of Harvard Business Review Press. Excerpted from 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era by Nilofer Merchant. Copyright 2012 Nilofer Merchant. All rights reserved.

Nilofer Merchant is a corporate director at a NASDAQ-traded firm and a lecturer at Stanford, and formerly the founder and CEO of Rubicon. Among other Fortune 500 firms, she’s worked at Apple and Autodesk. She is the author of The New How and 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era. Follow her on Twitter @nilofer.

To further aid you in social era navigation, Fast Company has compiled for you--and from you--the Rules of Social Media.

[Image: Flickr user Ajari]

A good rule to have? Effective negotiation.


Rules for being a good negotiator
By Richard Branson - Sep 24, 2012

Roger Fisher, a great conflict negotiator and peacemaker, died last month aged 90. His rules for being a good negotiator were pointed out in the Economist: "'In any negotiation, he wrote - even with the terrorists - it was vital to separate the people from the problem; to focus on the underlying interests of both sides, rather than stake out unwavering positions; and to explore all possible options before making a decision.

"The parties should try to build a rapport, check each other out, even just by shaking hands or eating together. Each should "listening actively", as he always did, to what the other was saying. They should recognise the emotions on either side, from a longing for security to a craving for status. And they should try to get inside each other's heads."

Image by Aidan Jones on Flickr

Toyota goes ga ga for hybrids


Greener Toyota: 21 hybrids by 2015

Posted by Chris Davies on September 24, 2012.

Toyota will launch 21 new hybrids before the end of 2015 and an all-electric compact car, the Toyota eQ, in Japan and the US later this year, as part of a significant investment in eco-friendly transportation. The roll-out will start with a new 2.5-liter gas engine which, Toyota claims, achieves a world-record setting thermal efficiency of 38.5-percent, and be followed by a smaller capacity, turbocharged version, a Prius that can power your fridge in an emergency, and then a fuel-cell system in 2015.

“Thermal efficiency” is how much of the energy produced by fuel combustion actually gets converted to mechanical work, and is something traditional gasoline engines are particularly bad at. Toyota says its new 2.5-liter engine should appear in hybrids in 2013, followed by a 2.0-liter turbocharged version for even better efficiency in 2014.

Meanwhile, the existing Prius PHV plug-in hybrid which launched at the start of this year, will soon get an accessory that will allow the car to provide power to external devices in an emergency. The system will be positioned as a way to use the Prius PHV as a standby battery during power-cuts, though it’s unclear what limits there might be on what can be plugged in.

Toyota will also begin wireless battery charging trials in Toyota City come 2013, using wireless coils embedded in the road and in the chassis of the car, to see whether they’re efficient enough.

As for the Toyota eQ, the all-electric vehicle is based on Toyota’s gas-powered iQ city car, with seating for four and a range of up to 100km (62 miles) on a single charge of its new 12 kWh Li-Ion battery. The updated power pack delivers the best electric power consumption rate in the world, Toyota claims, keeping bulk low but still delivering usable range.

It also charges swiftly, the company says, with a complete rejuicing in around three hours from a 200V AC outlet. That extends to 8hrs if you’re stuck with a 100V AC connection, however, though a quick DC charge up to 80-percent can be achieved in just 15 minutes.

Toyota doesn’t talk speed or acceleration for the eQ, which doesn’t exactly bode well for urban racers, but the car isn’t really intended for consumer use. When it hits Japan in December it will be priced at 3,600,000 yen (the equivalent of $46,000 in the US, where it will launch as the “iQ EV”) and be targeted at fleet customers rather than individuals.

Finally, Toyota says it is on-track to launch its own fuel-cell vehicle around 2015, powering the FCV (“Fuel Cell Vehicle”) initially, and then showing up in a bus on track for a 2016 debut. The new fuel-cell has the world’s highest power output density, Toyota claims, and can deliver 3 kW/L which is double what the company’s current prototype can deliver.

That’s despite being half the size and half the weight of the existing prototype. It’s in part down to a new boost converter, which increases voltage and thus allows for fewer fuel-cells and a smaller motor: cost and bulk goes down, while performance goes up.

Google takes on all? Are they going to affect everything tech?

Google's November Assault on Microsoft and Apple

By Anton Wahlman, Contributor - 09/21/12 - 7:30 AM EDT

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It is easy to be blinded by the recent high-profile gadget launches of Microsoft (MSFT) and Apple (AAPL).

Microsoft has shown different versions of Windows 8 for smartphones, tablets and PCs, which it will begin shipping around Oct. 26. Apple delivered the iPhone 5 along with new software for all of its hardware form factors.

Lurking behind the scenes, however, is Google (GOOG), which I believe will unveil a bevy of products to compete very strongly against Microsoft and Apple. I believe these products are likely to be announced as early as October, and would be available in U.S. retail within approximately 30 days thereafter -- basically, by Thanksgiving.
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These products based on Google software will fall into three categories: PCs (laptops and desktops), tablets and smartphones. Let me describe them in turn:

1. PCs

Several PC brands that may be guarding themselves against a consumer and/or enterprise backlash against Windows 8 are likely to start producing Google PCs imminently. Samsung and Acer are already in production, but one can envision others joining this bandwagon.
I view Lenovo, Asus and Dell (Dell) to be the most likely ones, but others are also possibilities, including Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Sony (SNE) and Toshiba, just to mention a few.
Google offers the simplest possible PC software, especially compared to Microsoft and Apple. With a Google PC, I cannot see a scenario where you would ever be in need of tech support. Basically, it boots up much faster than an Apple iPad and it "just works."

Google laptop and desktop prices are and will be competitive with Windows, which means they are much cheaper than Apple. However, you also have to consider that with a Google PC you don't have to buy any additional software or service/support plans. Your lifetime total cost of ownership, or TCO, will be a lot lower with a Google PC.

So far, Google has not marketed its PCs very well. They only recently started appearing at Best Buy (BBY) and most consumers don't even know that a Google PC exists, let alone why they would be better than Microsoft/Windows and Apple/Mac.
Starting this November, this is likely to change. Market share shifts typically take several years to become material, but I think it will start to become measurable in the months following these imminent launches.

2. Tablets

Android tablets are a dime a dozen, but very few of them run the most recent and by far the best version of the Android operating system, the 4.1.1 version called "Jelly Bean." Starting this November, this will change -- dramatically. The current main 4.1.1 Google tablet offering made by Asus has a small 7-inch screen and no cellular/LTE connectivity.

By November of this year, we should see eight-, nine-, 10- and 11-inch Android tablets running Android 4.1.1 (or higher) and offering cellular/LTE connectivity from a long list of hardware makers. Most likely, they will be offered from most of the following: Samsung, HTC, Sony, Asus, Acer, Lenovo, Huawei and Motorola, which is of course now a division of Google's. Perhaps even others.

Google's value proposition will be that these Android tablets will be offering a more PC-like flexible operating system experience than Apple, on hardware that will be equal to -- or in some cases better than -- Apple, but at prices that almost approach the value offered by Amazon's Kindle tablets. The sheer diversity of form factors offered by these Android tablets will dwarf the offerings from Apple, Microsoft and Apple.

3. Smartphones

The fragmentation among the Android smartphone experiences has become a running joke in the industry, and even society at large. The interface looks different if you're buying a Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG and so forth.

Even worse, the software support for any Android model that hits the market can best be described in one word: orphan. Upgrades are rarely seen, if ever, and if they do show up, they tend to be six to 12 months too late, which is an eternity in the computing world.
In other words, Android fragmentation has become a total catastrophe for Google's ability to compete with Apple and Microsoft in the long term, despite that measured strictly in terms of units shipped -- 500 million or so -- Google is already in the lead. In order for this lead not to collapse in 2013, Google has to change course and right these wrongs.

Come this November, I think we will see the first evidence that Google is fixing the Android problem. The story here is in many ways similar to Google's tablet story.

Whereas in the past most of Google's smartphones were launched running one- to two-year old versions of the Android operating system, this November we should see a more uniform launch of Android 4.1.1 (or newer) smartphones from a long list of hardware makers: Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG, Huawei and Motorola (owned by Google itself), just to mention the more prominent ones.
By Google inducing its hardware makers to launch on the latest version of the Android OS, it will come a lot closer than before to matching the uniformity of the software experience offered by smartphones from Apple and Microsoft.

But that may not be the only benefit and trick of what Google has in mind for its future smartphones:
Whether this November or some time in 2013, Google may dramatically expand its "direct sales" model of both devices and service plans. Consumers can save a lot of money by purchasing a Google Nexus smartphone from Google already today for $349 and using it with an all-you-can-eat SIM card for $30, $45 or $60 per month depending on carrier and features. This can often save a consumer $1,080 over two years compared to a contract-subsidized plan, making for a huge net savings still.

The problem for Google is that today it offers only one phone for these attractive service plans. It's a good phone alright -- the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (GSM global unlocked version) -- but it would be much more attractive to have models in all sorts of sizes and shapes from HTC, Motorola, LG, Sony and others to do the same. This may be what will happen this November.
To summarize, I believe it is likely that Google will launch a broadside worthy of a comprehensive computing portfolio -- PCs, tablets and smartphones -- this October/November that will compete very strongly against the recently upgraded offerings from Microsoft and Apple.

If Google does what I have outlined here in my suspicions and suggestions, it will likely be taking market share on all fronts going into 2013.