? All Tech Radio Episode 396
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  • Will Ballmer be fired from Microsoft? Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer may be close to getting himself fired as Windows 8 sales go from bad to worse while users criticize the interface and PC vendors blame it for the demise of the industry, even as Surface Pro sales are a rounding error compared to that of competing tablets. But Ballmer and his products still have their fans and defenders, some of them ardent in nature. "One hundred million copies sold is not a failure," says one Microsoft fan, defending the Windows 8 sales number as still being significant despite being disappointing in comparison to past Windows launches. All hope is on the Windows Blue update coming out this summer.
  • Apple receives so many police demands to decrypt seized iPhones that it has created a "waiting list" to handle the deluge of requests, CNET has learned. Court documents show that federal agents were so stymied by the encrypted iPhone 4S of a Kentucky man accused of distributing crack cocaine that they turned to Apple for decryption help last year. An agent at the ATF, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, "contacted Apple to obtain assistance in unlocking the device," U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell wrote in a recent opinion. But, she wrote, the ATF was "placed on a waiting list by the company." A search warrant affidavit prepared by ATF agent Rob Maynard says that, for nearly three months last summer, he "attempted to locate a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency with the forensic capabilities to unlock" an iPhone 4S. But after each police agency responded by saying they "did not have the forensic capability," Maynard resorted to asking Cupertino.
  • Google today unified the storage limits for Gmail and Google Drive, giving users 15GB of free storage across both products. Now instead of having a 10GB limit on Gmail and 5GB on Google Drive and Google+ Photos, users get 15GB overall. "With this new combined storage space, you won't have to worry about how much you're storing and where," Google wrote in a blog post. "For example, maybe you're a heavy Gmail user but light on photos, or perhaps you were bumping up against your Drive storage limit but were only using 2GB in Gmail. Now it doesn't matter, because you can use your storage the way you want." To keep track of how much you're using, Google will update its Google Drive storage page, which will let you hover over a pie chart to see how much storage you're using across Google's products (above).
  • The HTC First, the brand new Facebook phone, saw a lot of hype when it was first reviled in April. Now that it has been in stores for about a month, all the hype seems have to gone away and wireless carrier AT&T is acting accordingly. The cellphone carrier is planning to stop selling the phone, according to BGR.com. According to a "trusted source" the cellphone company's sales of the phone have been abysmal. BGR reports AT&T has sold "fewer than 15,000 units nationwide through last week"-even after the company brought the price of the phone down from $99 to $0.99.
  • The Lumia 928 is available in white or black at Verizon Wireless stores and online, beginning Thursday for $99 after a $50 mail-in rebate. Handset manufacturer Nokia announced the impending launch of the Lumia 928 smartphone, the latest installment in the company's Windows Phone 8 lineup, which will be an exclusive to Verizon Wireless and will debut in the United States May 16.The handset features a 4.5-in. OLED display, which extends to the edge of the phone, and runs Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 operating system, which features a start screen that can be arranged to reflect individual priorities and animated Live Tiles for real-time updates on people and things. The Lumia 928 is available in white or black at Verizon Wireless stores and online, beginning May 16 for $99 after a $50 mail-in rebate, with a new two-year customer agreement. For a limited time, users will also get a $25 credit for Windows Phone apps and games with the purchase of a Lumia 928, a company release noted.
  • Existing 4G networks for mobile devices still have limited global reach, but that's not going to keep 5G technology waiting in the wings. Samsung announced Monday that it has developed some transceiver technology that can deliver 5G speeds in the 28Ghz frequency at 1.06 Gbps for a distance of two kilometers. According to the company, this is the first adaptive array transceiver technology in the millimeter high-frequency wave band for cellular communications. Several companies are looking at high-frequency ranges for next generation cellular networks. Working in those millimeter ranges presents problems because high-frequency signals aren't transmitted well over distances and have trouble penetrating buildings. Samsung believes its latest technology can address those problems. It provides high speed transmission-1.06Gbps-over a good distance-2 kilometers-in a millimeter bandwidth-28GHz.
  • New York's attorney general on Monday penned letters to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung asking them to collaborate with his office to come up with ways to deter criminals from swiping their most popular gadgets. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said mobile security firm Lookout will be working on the effort on a pro bono basis. Schneiderman said he focused on Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung because those firms make up 90 percent of U.S. smartphone sales. But he referred to the rise in violent, gadget-related street crimes as "Apple Picking," suggesting that thieves are more interested in an iPhone 5 than a Lumia 920. In fact, AG Schneiderman said that Apple products make up about 30 percent of all electronic thefts stolen from subways and buses. In the first nine months of 2012, there were more than 11,000 incidents of iOS device thefts in New York City, according to the NYPD, an increase of more than 3,000 from 2011.
  • Apple has built a massive and fast-growing $16 billion annual revenue stream in digital content alone, Apple analyst Horace Dediu says. The company announced that quarterly iTunes revenues topped $4 billion - including $2.4 billion in content alone - in its latest earnings report. Based on historical numbers alone, that's a $16 billion annual run rate, thanks to Apple's 500 million iTunes users. But since it also has grown at a fairly steady 29 percent per quarter for the past six years, it's also an underestimate of the annual value of the iTunes ecosystem. And it gets better as users have more Apple devices.
  • Austrian app developer Runtastic, known for its sports and fitness mobile apps (such as the Runtastic PRO iPhone app), will today begin selling its proprietary sports and fitness hardware in the U.S. via Amazon.com. The Runtastic gadgets, which were previously only available outside the U.S., include a Bluetooth Smart-enabled chest strap heart rate monitor, a GPS sports watch bundled with a heart rate monitor, and a bicycle cadence meter. The hardware connects wirelessly to the Runtastic apps while they're running on a mobile device to give the user detailed information about their body while the app also collects stats such as miles traveled, pace, elevation, and so forth. The apps cover a wide range of sports and activities, from running and walking to skiing and mountain biking. The Runtastic GPS watch comes bundled with a heart rate monitor for $149.99, or you can purchase the Bluetooth Heart Rate chest strap monitor on its own for $69.99. The bicycle Speed and Cadence Sensor is selling for $59.99.
  • Sony has just announced the Xperia ZR, an Android-powered device featuring a rich 4.6-inch "OptiContrast OLED" screen with Bravia technology to reduce glare even in the brightest sunglight. It also packs a 13 megapixel camera, 2GB RAM and a Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core 1.5GHz CPU from Qualcomm. What's interesting about the ZR, however, is that it's both waterproof and dust-resistant (IP55 /IP58 certifications) and allows you to shoot full HD videos underwater, up to 5 feet deep, for up to 30 minutes.

email from listeners:

  • Gerry from Portland asks "Will the new Nokia phone really take a 41 mega pixel photo and what does that mean?"