Tim Bajarin from PC Magazine thinks that the new Google Chrome operating system, which may be release in January, will change the future of computing. "The laptop itself reminds me a lot of the Apple MacBook in design. But it's clearly not a Mac. When you boot it up, the Chrome browser comes up, and from that point on, this browser and the content you look up is all you'll see. The browser's opening screen serves as your desktop view and all of the organizational navigation comes through browser tabs. When you type in the URL for YouTube, it becomes a tab. Type in another URL, and it comes up as a tab. Using this UI strongly reinforces the fact that this is an OS/browser that is strictly tied to the Internet. It is not designed for any localized apps. It forces the users to a model where ubiquitous connectivity is mandatory for this laptop to even work."
Internet access through cell phones and tablets could soon see drastic changes if a joint proposal from contractors Allot (News - Alert) communications and Openet is adopted, according to an Eletronista report. This proposal could eventually lead to charging by the online service a potentially severe violation of net neutrality principles. If adopted, this newly developed system would allow carriers to charge different rates depending upon the nature of the traffic. At the same time, they can exempt their own services. Carriers could also throttle or eliminate access to services such as Facebook or YouTube to try and discourage users from accessing them too often.
Gawker Media has implemented a number of changes to tighten security, according to a staff memo posted online on a Poynter Institute blog. The changes follow a recent hack that compromised user passwords and corporate communications. Gawker did not respond to a request for comment on the memo, but in the message, Gawker CTO Tom Plunkett highlighted a number of moves to strengthen security. Among them, he wrote, is that the company has now enabled SSL protection for all employees with Gawker Media accounts on Google Apps.
Motorola today gave out a teaser video (below) for an introduction of its upcoming Android tablet at its CES event on January 5. The clip targeted competitors and considers the iPad a milestone, but digs at the Apple slate being "like a giant iPhone" in both a curse and a blessing. Motorola doesn't avoid attacking fellow Android supporters, however, and criticizes Samsung for using Android 2.2 on the Galaxy Tab: the device uses "Android OS... for a phone," the promo said. Very little is mentioned directly of the tablet itself, but the jab at Samsung is confirmation that the tablet on show will be the same one demonstrated by Andy Rubin. Android 3.0, or possibly just 2.4, will have a new interface designed explicitly for tablets. All of the hardware navigation buttons will be moved to the touchscreen to provide a consistent interface from any orientation. It will also have more explicit support for larger apps and should handle legacy Android apps more intelligently than the Galaxy Tab, which just upscales them to fit the larger screen.
When Facebook launched its developer platform in 2007, many expected e-commerce applications to take off - the idea was that people would want to find and share products with each other on Facebook, and complete purchases. Instead, simple sharing applications and social games were the hits. By the end of that year, industry insiders were looking towards 2008… but you have to fast-forward to this year to hear about significant results from developers. For example, e-commerce app provider Payvment recently told us that it was adding "more than 250 retailers and roughly 10,000-20,000 products" on Facebook every day, and recently passed the 40,000 retailer mark. The company, which offers a networked set of apps for Pages, recently closed a $6 million round of funding to help it expand.
Microsoft last week killed an anti-piracy service that checked whether customers were running legal copies of Office, saying that the program had "served its purpose." ZDNet blogger Ed Bott first reported on Microsoft's move after a tipster pointed him toward a support document on the company's site. That Dec. 17 document simply noted that Office Genuine Advantage (OGA) "has been retired," but offered no explanation. In an e-mail reply to questions today, a Microsoft spokeswoman added, "The program has served its purpose and thus we have decided to retire the program."
Foursquare, a popular location-sharing service for smart phones, will soon let users comment on where their friends check in and upload photos linked to places visited. Only your friends on Foursquare and friends of your friends will be able to view comments. Photos uploaded with check-ins will be viewable by your Foursquare friends and on other social networks where you already share your Foursquare data. Photos linked with tips or locations will visible to all Foursquare users. Foursquare is rolling out the features in an updated app for Apple Inc.'s iPhone on Monday, and for smart phones running Google Inc.'s Android operating software next week. Foursquare allows users to check in anywhere they go and see where their friends are hanging out. Users earn virtual badges as rewards.
Is Nokia planning to use Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7 operating system on future handsets? Unwired View is reporting that Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin, in a weekly op-ed in Mobile Review, wrote that Nokia has initiated talks with Microsoft over the last month about working together. "They are talking about not the technology exchange, or more Microsoft apps on Nokia phones," wrote Unwired. "They are talking about the creation of new line of Windows Phone devices, which could be sold under Nokia brand, via Nokia distribution channels and have some typical Nokia features."
A new free iPhone app called Word Lens shows remarkable promise for helping international travelers. Word Lens uses the phone's video camera, and complicated software on servers, to interpret printed words and almost instantly translate them between English and Spanish. Those traveling abroad could hold the phone in front of their eyes to decipher a foreign-language street sign. The app projects the translated words onto whatever sign at which you point the phone. This could be a leap forward for augmented-reality apps, which employ cameras and GPS systems to merge the physical world with information compiled about people and places on the internet.
Walter Shimoon was one of a select few who get a peek behind the veil Apple Inc. cinches tightly around its products. His alleged attempt to profit illegally from that privilege caught up with Shimoon last week, when the former manager at Apple supplier Flextronics International Ltd. was among three people arrested for supplying inside information to investors. Shimoon, 39, was paid more than $22,000 to share non-public sales forecasts and other information about future products, including the iPad, according to the criminal complaint. His arrest underscores the difficulty faced by Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs, who runs the world's most valuable technology company, in keeping multibillion-dollar products under wraps, said Charlie Wolf, an analyst at Needham & Co.
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