Steve Jobs hasn't been gone a year but his supposed ghost is now advertising Android phones from heaven. Taiwanese comedian and impersonator Ah-Ken, dressed in Jobs' trademark black turtle neck sweater and blue jeans and sporting white angel's wings and a halo, extols the virtues of Action Electronics Co.'s combined tablet PC and multi-language dictionary, which runs on Google Inc's Android. Jobs reportedly thanks God he can now use an Android.
Apple has pulled several iPad and iPhone models from its German online store after Motorola Mobility enforced a patent injunction against its rival. The move follows a December ruling that Apple had failed to license one of Motorola's wireless intellectual properties. iPhone users in Germany may also face the loss of their push email iCloud service after a separate patent victory by Motorola. Apple has said it will appeal.
The Motorola Xoom tablet wasn't as popular as the company had hoped, so the Xoom tablet owners returned a lot of them. A total of about 6,200 Xoom tablets went up for sale through Woot.com. While the prices may have been a been a good bargain for new owners looking to invest in an Android tablet, it proved be slightly distressful for the devices' previous owners. Out of the 6200 odd that were on sale around 100 of them that were sold still seemed to have previous owners' data. Although the exact details were not revealed, it is quite possible that it could have included highly personal and sensitive information such as photos, videos, email messages, passwords, chat logs, banking details and so on.
Verizon and Coinstar Inc., owner of the Redbox video rental kiosks, announced plans for a new video service that will offer physical and digital options to customers nationwide. "Our customers want more access to our service and by partnering with Verizon we'll be able to give that to them," Galen Smith, senior vice president of finance at Redbox, told TheWrap. The new venture would, like Netflix, offer customers a choice between physical discs and streaming. But it appears that they would pick up and return their discs at Redbox kiosks rather than receive and return them by mail, like Netflix customers do. It would also be run as a subscription service, Smith said.
Google unveiled a new project dedicated to tackling some of the world's biggest problems early Monday morning. The company launched a site, called "Solve for X," a TED-like think tank that will encourage problem solving and teamwork to come up with "radical" ideas for big picture problems. "Solve for X is a place where the curious can go to hear and discuss radical technology ideas for solving global problems," reads the Solve for X website. "Radical in the sense that the solutions could help billions of people. Radical in the sense that the audaciousness of the proposals makes them sound like science fiction. And radical in the sense that there is some real technology breakthrough on the horizon to give us all hope that these ideas could really be brought to life." There is a telling focus on innovation for the sake of innovation. The project is looking for "moonshot" ideas and thinking, and the fruits of some of these labors are already on the horizon, BGR reports. One of Google chief scientists, Richard DeVaul, revealed via his Google+ page that an invite-only Solve for X conference over the weekend had discussed ways of "transforming education" and creating "5x improvements in agriculture through better decision support, synthetic biology, and carbon-negative biofuels."
Microsoft announced Monday that it will embrace rival mobile platforms and browsers with a planned second-quarter service update of its Microsoft Dynamics CRM application. "In today's hyperconnected world, customers need to be able to access their business-critical data on the device of their choice," said Dennis Michalis, general manager, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in a statement. The Dynamics CRM service update will include a new cloud-based mobile CRM service called Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile. It will also include an assortment of native mobile clients for iPad, iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry, as well as Microsoft's own Windows Phone 7. The mobile service will be $30 per user, per month with support for up to three devices per user. The apps will be initially available in 24 markets and 10 languages, according to a Dynamics CRM release preview published by Microsoft.
Frontier Airlines is celebrating its new WiFi service by giving passengers on its Embraer 190 regional jets 30 minutes of free access during the month of February beginning today. "We're confident that the availability of onboard WiFi will improve the flying experience of those who want to remain socially connected during their travels," Frontier marking vice president Dan Krause said in a statement. Frontier's onboard WiFi service is managed by Gogo. Pricing for laptop service is $4.95 on flights up to 650 miles, $9.95 for flights from 651 to 1,150 miles and $12.95 for flights 1,151 miles and longer. There also is an option to buy 15 minutes of access for $1.95 on flights up to 650 miles.
Google and Facebook have removed content from some Indian websites after a court warned that India would crack down "like China" if they did not take steps to protect religious sensibilities. The two are among 21 companies ordered to develop a mechanism to block material considered religiously offensive after private petitioners took them to court over images deemed offensive to Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Individuals have brought two cases against internet companies in India, fuelling fears about censorship in the world's largest democracy.
Apple claimed titles as the world's and U.S.'s top seller of smartphones last quarter, analysts said today. The company's record sales -- the majority of them the new iPhone 4S -- in the three months ending Dec. 31, 2011 translated into the top spot among smartphone manufacturers globally and in the United States, according to IDC and the NPD Group. NPD attributed the jump in Apple's U.S. fortunes to the release of the iPhone 4S and the availability of its device on U.S. carrier Sprint for the first time. "Historically, we see an Apple sales jump in the first quarter of a new model's availability," said Ross Rubin, an analyst with NPD. "But Sprint benefitted significantly from this launch because of the pent-up demand [among its customers], and also attracted a large share of the users switching carriers because of its unlimited data plan."
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