? All Tech Radio Episode 386
 all tech radio show
 
 
  • Apple's iOS App Store and Google's Play Store will once again lead the way this year, according to new figures out from Gartner. The Wall Street Journal reports that the industry analysis firm forecasts a 62 percent jump in app store revenues, with total revenues for the industry rising to $25 billion. Apple and Google's app stores are now nearly even in terms of the number of apps available. Both stores hold about 700,000 apps. Second-tier stores from Microsoft, BlackBerry, and Amazon also have app libraries numbering in the tens or hundreds of thousands, though they lag Google and Apple by a large margin. Gartner's study found a some churn in the app market as well, with 63 percent of daily used apps being different from daily used apps from a year ago. Customers tend to focus on about eight apps, even though they have many more on their mobile devices. Hacking garners 1 trillion per year which makes app downloading 2.5% of what hackers are netting.
  • New robotic dog. More than half the Earth can only be accessed by foot because conventional vehicles can't manage difficult terrain. That's why engineering company Boston Dynamics, with funding from the Defense Department's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, created BigDog. The four-legged robot can run, climb terrain including a muddy trail and slopes up to 35 degrees, and walk over rubble and through snow and water. BigDog has also traversed 12.8 miles non-stop without refueling, a world record for legged vehicles. Not only can BigDog carry a 340-lb load, a new video shows the 2 ½-foot tall, 3-foot long robot has been upgraded to throw cinderblocks, a capability that you can imagine might someday be used in search and rescue operations, or for clearing debris in dangerous or unstable situations. Think BigDog is impressive? Boston Dynamics' website offers photos, videos and information about a slew of interesting and maybe even scary robots in the works, such as one that can scale walls and another called Cheetah you definitely don't want chasing you -- it can run 18 mph.
  • Following an online uproar over a law banning the unlocking of cell phones, the Federal Communications Commission will investigate whether the ban is harmful to economic competitiveness and if the executive branch has any authority to change the law. Until earlier this year, consumers were free to "unlock" their smartphones, which permitted them to switch carriers. For six years, the Library of Congress exempted cell phone unlocks from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which bans "circumvention" of copy protection schemes. The decision was reversed during the last round of triennial reviews. Now users who dare to modify software on the devices they own are subject to legal penalties. If the FCC does discover some latent authority to give users more freedom over their choice in carriers, it will mean another big victory for grassroots Internet activism. After the ban went into effect, netizens quickly rushed to demand an answer from the White House, sending over 100,000 signatures on the WeThePeople petition platform, which mandates that the Obama administration offer an official explanation.
  • After it reset the passwords of some 50 million users, Evernote pushed updates to all its software products, according to a company spokesperson. "We released updated versions of our applications across the board... to add messaging to alert users to update their accounts with new, secure passwords and to make this process easier," Evernote's Ronda Scott said in an email. "This is the only change we have made to the Evernote clients in reaction to this attack," she added. Programs affected by the across-the-board update included Evernote, Skitch, Penultimate, Evernote Food, Evernote Hello, Evernote Web Clipper, Evernote Clearly, and Evernote Peek. Evernote reportedly identified hacking activity on its network on February 28, but it didn't alert its users of the security breach until March 2.
  • Google will be conducting a 45-day public trial with the FCC to create a centralized database containing information on free spectrum. The Google Spectrum Database will analyze TV white spaces, which are unused spectrum between TV stations, that can open many doors for possible wireless spectrum expansion in the future. By unlocking these white spaces, wireless providers will be able to provide more coverage in places that need it.The public trial brings Google one step closer to becoming a certified database administrator for white spaces. Currently the only database administrators are Spectrum Bridge, Inc. and Telcordia Technologies, Inc. Many other companies are applying to be certified, including a big dog like Microsoft. With companies like Google and Microsoft becoming certified, discovery of white spaces should increase monumentally.Google's trial, as well as the collective help of all the other spectrum data administrators, will help unlock more wireless spectrum. It's a necessity as there is an increasing number of people who are wirelessly connecting to the internet via smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other wireless devices. This trial will open new doors to more wireless coverage (especially in dead zones), Wi-Fi hotspots, and other "wireless technologies".
  • People looking at the Samsung Galaxy S4 may soon learn that it's looking back at them, tracking their eye movements to perform key tasks. That's the word in a new report that says eye-tracking software will be built into the new smartphone, which Samsung plans to announce in New York on March 14. The New York Times, citing a person who has used the phone, says it uses unspecified technology to monitor users' eyes and translate that motion into action: "For example, when users read articles and their eyes reach the bottom of the page, the software will automatically scroll down to reveal the next paragraphs of text."
  • Carphone Warehouse has cut the price of the Z10 on the 3 network to £29 up front on a £29 per month, two-year contract. Previously the contract cost £36 per month with a free handset, so the total reduction is around £160. Vodafone has meanwhile introduced a web-only deal for the Z10 for £33 per month, an effective £72 cut over the life of the contract. James Faucette, an analyst at Pacific Crest, said the cuts were a sign that the Z10, the first handset to run the radically redesign BB10 operating system, was not a good sign for BlackBerry's recovery hopes.
  • AppleInsider reports that the iPhone 5S will be released in August. It's rumored that the cheaper iPhone will be out in August too. If it happens, it would be the first time that two iPhones were released in one year, reports Web Pro News. Obviously it would also be the first time that two iPhones were released in the same month. The iPhone 5S is believed to be a "world phone." It will work on any network in any market and will not require significant internal modifications. Since the phone is designed to be so versatile, it could actually be launched worldwide on one day. Previous iPhone releases were staggered so that Apple could modify its phones to fit the needs of specific markets.
  • When it comes time to buy your next high-performance laptop, chances are good that it will feature a solid state drive (SSD). But what if you'd prefer to have a high-speed, high-capacity traditional hard drive instead? Don't look to Seagate, one of the two 800-pound gorillas in the hard drive industry. The company recently said it will stop making 2.5-inch, 7200-rpm laptop hard drives by the end of 2013. "High performance in the notebook segment in the future will come from solid-state hybrid drives (SSHDs) rather than drives with higher spin speeds," a Seagate spokesperson told PCWorld. Seagate's comment certainly implies that 7200-rpm notebook drives are on their way out, but the spokesperson stopped just short of confirmation. Both X-bit Labs and AnandTech say Seagate has confirmed it will stop producing 2.5-inch 7200-rpm HDDs. Seagate's high-performance, notebook-sized hard drives will still be around for some time, however, as the company winds down production and works through its remaining stock.
  • On January 8, 2013, AdDuplex published a study finding that among Windows phone users worldwide, the proportion of Windows 8 users had nearly quadrupled. Driving this boom, the study suggested, were mostly high-end products from the Nokia Lumia line: The Lumia 910 Windows phone, the Lumia 920 Windows phone and the Lumia 810 Windows phone. The HTC Windows phone 8X also factored into the growth: Three percent of Windows Phone 8 users worldwide use the HTC Windows phone 8X. Two percent use the Samsung Omnia W.

email from listeners:

  • Ed from Seattle asks "Have we moved to internet 2.0 yet?"