Oct 14, 2011

Google Announces Q3 Earnings: $9.72 Billion in Revenue and 40 million Google+ Users

Google's just announced its third quarter earnings and, as expected, the company's numbers are continuing on the upswing (even beating expectations). That includes $9.72 billion in revenue, which represents a 33 percent jump compared to the third quarter of 2010, along with $2.73 billion in net income, which is up from $2.17 billion a year ago. 

There's not a ton of surprises to be found in the results otherwise, although Larry Page and co. sure seem to be busy hiring new folks -- they've brought on 10 percent more employees in the span of three months (for a total of 31,353 full-time employees as of September 30th).

Oct 13, 2011

Google+ Has 40 Million Users, But How Many Use It?

Google has announced its earnings for the most recent quarter, and—surprise!—they made lots and lots and lots of money, mostly off of search revenue. Which is the same story that's been written about Google earnings for the last ten years.

But! While the company didn't break out any specific numbers on Android usage, they did confirm that Google+ has over 40 million users. "Users," here, being loosely defined, since Google+ is a relative ghost town of privately shared links about how Google+ is a ghost town. And given how heavily Google+ was promoted in the early days—across however many millions and millions of Gmail accounts—is it wrong to be a little surprised that there aren't even more people who signed up?

Google will be hosting a call to discuss earnings (a not at all shabby $9.72 billion revenue, $2.73 billion net income) at 4:30EST, which will hopefully include some goodies on Android activations, Ice Cream Sandwich, and the Motorola acquisition.

Dennis Ritchie, Co-Creator of Unix and Founder of C, Has Died

In less than a week, the world has lost two tech pioneers. Last week, we mourned the passing of Steve Jobs, and now we say goodbye to computer scientist Dennis Ritchie who also recently died.

Ritchie, or dmr as he was called in programming circles, worked most of his life at Bell Laboratories where he helped create the C programming language and worked extensively on the Unix operating system. Without his work, many of the computing products we have today would not exist. Apple, whose OS X operating system is based on Unix and whoseObjective C programming language is rooted in C, has benefitted greatly from Ritchie's work.

Ritchie also co-wrote the definitive bible on C programming (a must have for any programmer) and has been awarded the Turing Award, the National Medal of Technology and, recently, the Japan Prize for his work in the field of computer science. He died at home over the weekend of Oct 8/9th from an unknown illness. He was 70-years-old.

Microsoft Officially Launches Windows Phone in India

You may have already been able to get a Windows Phone device in India without too much trouble, but Microsoft has only just now made things fully official -- complete with Windows Phone Marketplace, voice recognition support, and a trio of Mango devices. That includes just the HTC Radar initially, which will be available next week for the local equivalent of $490, while the Samsung Omnia W and Acer Allegro (believed to be the same as the W4) are set to follow sometime in November. Of the three, the Allegro is said to be the cheapest of the lot, and there's also some reports that it will launch in Europe for €299 (or roughly $400) off-contract.

Oct 12, 2011

Samsung Crashes iPhone 4S Block Party, Lures Aussies with $2 Galaxy S II s

Can't say we didn't see this catfight coming after Apple boldly rejected Samsung's settlement offer in Australia, but man, the latter certainly isn't afraid of striking back in its enemy's front yard. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Sammy's set up a pop-up store merely meters away from Apple's Sydney store, all for just stealing the thunder from the iPhone 4S launch this Friday. The campaign? For the first ten customers each day up to Friday, the Korean giant's offering its Galaxy S II for just $2 sans contract -- no wonder the line's already longer than Apple's, according to the Herald. But of course, Samsung's also effectively funding some of these folks for their iPhone 4S from next door, so it's pretty much a win-win situation for both companies. See? There's always a happy ending, and let's hope that the upcoming Nexus Prime won't add fuel to the ongoing patent dispute.

iOS 5 and OS X 10.7.2 Available for Download

Even if you were one of those Apple fans who was less than impressed by the iPhone 4S, there is still reason for excitement -- and that reason's name is iOS 5. If you've got an iPhone 3GS, 4, third- or fourth-gen iPod touch, or either of the iPads you can download Apple's latest and greatest mobile OS right now. That's right, all the fun new features like pull-down notifications, iCloud, iMessage, Find my Friends, Twitter integration and lock screen access to your camera will be at your disposal. Sadly you will not be getting a taste of Siri, which appears to a 4S only feature for now. Still, there's more than enough here to make it a worthy upgrade to your device. So, what are you waiting for? Go hit that update button now. Just so you're aware, you'll need iTunes 10.5 installed to get the latest iOS. There's also an update to OS X coming down the pipes -- version 10.7.2 -- which officially delivers iCloud to your Mac.

Oct 11, 2011

BlueStacks App Player lets you run Android Apps on Windows PCs or Tablets

If you've been dreaming of a world where Android apps are free to roam across your Windows desktop, you're in luck, because BlueStacks has just turned your reverie into reality. Today, the startup unveiled an alpha version of its App Player -- software that allows users to run a host of Android apps on Windows PCs, tablets or desktops, without requiring them to make modifications to their original OS. Available as a free download, this early test version comes pre-loaded with ten apps, and can support an extra 26, on top of that. 

BlueStacks' free Cloud Connect app, meanwhile, allows you to port third-party apps directly from your handset to your computer, though some games, including Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja, are prohibited. Those, it turns out, will be included under a paid version of the App Player, which BlueStacks hopes to launch at a later date. You can take the free software for a spin at the source link here.

Oct 10, 2011

Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook Rings in at $899

And the Ultrabooks have arrived! Acer Aspire S3 will go on sale in the US and Canada this week for $899 -- making it the first pinch-thin, MacBook Air competitor to hit the market, landing ahead of competing models from Toshiba, Lenovo and ASUS. To recap, this 2.98-pound aluminum beaut has a 13.3-inch (1366 x 768) panel, is rated for six hours (or 50 standby days!) of battery life and promises to wake from sleep in a mere two seconds. For the money, you'll get an ultra low voltage Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 20GB of solid-state storage combined with a 320GB HDD. This $899 version will be followed by models with Core i3 and i7 processors and beefier storage capacity. Intrigued?

iPhone 4S Pre-orders are in The Mail

If you were one of the impatient million who jumped to pre-order an iPhone 4S, well, chances are your fancy new handset is already in the mail. A number of tipsters have reached out to us to share their shipment notification emails that just came in from Apple. If you haven't already handed over your billing info, you'll be waiting at least a week or two longer. But, if you weren't camped out at your computer waiting for the 3am sale to begin, we're gonna assume you're not terribly concerned.

Oct 9, 2011

This Is Why the iPhone’s Screen Will Always Be 3.5 Inches

Why does the iPhone have a 3.5-inch screen? Why do larger smartphones feel awkward on your hand? Dustin Curtis has an answer, and I think it is spot on:
Touching the upper right corner of the screen on the Galaxy S II using one hand, with its 4.27-inch screen, while you're walking down the street looking at Google Maps, is extremely difficult and frustrating. I pulled out my iPhone 4 to do a quick test, and it turns out that when you hold the iPhone in your left hand and articulate your thumb, you can reach almost exactly to the other side of the screen.
It makes total sense. And that is exactly why we would never see any larger screen iPhone. That 3.5-inch screen will be the ideal size until all humans are 7-feet tall and have hands the size of frying pans.

Oct 8, 2011

These Google Designed Nikes Are Proof That Google Has No Taste

The Nike Air Mags, though not the prettiest shoe, represent a sort of nostalgic geek beauty. These Google designed Nike Dunks though? Just plain fugly. Even the geekiest, worst-dressed Googler would never be caught in these.

Sure, I get that it's a complete gag gift of a shoe but still! They use the old hilarious Google logo complete with the exclamation point. And is that Google Maps underneath the Swoosh? Just what the hell is going on here.

The sneakers were designed by Evan Steinberg, Google Community Manager for Android and signed by Larry Page. Are we sure it wasn't Steinberg's niece or nephew who made these? 

No iPhone 4S for You! Come Back, Two Weeks!

If you weren't quick enough in pre-ordering your iPhone 4S, you're going to be waiting an extra week or two. Launch Day supplies of the newest Apple phone have been depleted, according to MacRumors, which cites the new waiting times on the pre-order site above.

Oct 7, 2011

Banish Under Eye Bags With a Vibrator?

Eye bags. No one likes them. And no one gets enough sleep. So everyone has them.

But no one wants them! If tea bags, cucumber slices, the back of an ice-cold spoon, or Preparation H (yes I've tried them all) aren't working for you, a Japanese company says they have the solution: the Eye Slack Haruka. It vibrates.

This four-page article at Web MD on the causes and treatments for eye bags makes no mention of vibration. The device apparently also employs heat, which is strange because nearly every treatment I've heard of involves cold.

But there are several new-fangled approaches that involve microcurrent vibration as well as some you can buy to use at home. But I can't find studies that have shown these treatments work or how long the effects might last.

The thing costs $132, so try at your own risk. Much cheaper approaches: stay hydrated, exercise, don't eat too much salt (that can make you retain water which can lead to puffiness), and, of course, get enough sleep. More here.

Microsoft’s Servers Are Faster than Amazon and Google’s Servers

Amazon and Google generally get all the attention for their data centers and cloud services. But you know who has the fastest servers around? Microsoft. Yep.

According to Ars Technica, the tech monolith's Azure cloud consistently provided quicker load times than Amazon's EC2 or Google's App Engine in a year-long test conducted by Compuware, who peddle a bunch of enterprise services no sane person cares about. For the test, they set up a fake online retail site and employed the services of each company's cloud. The results?
The Windows Azure data center in Chicago completed the test in an average time of 6,072 milliseconds (a little over six seconds), compared to 6.45 seconds for second-place Google App Engine. Both improved steadily throughout the year, with Azure dipping to 5.52 seconds in July and Google to 5.97 seconds. Also scoring below 7 seconds for the whole year were the Virginia locations of OpSource and GoGrid along with BlueLock in Indiana. Rackspace in Texas posted an average time of 7.19 seconds, while Amazon EC2 in Virginia posted a nearly identical 7.20. Amazon's California location scored 8.11 seconds on average.
And why does this matter? Because, the cloud is going play a vital role in Microsoft's short-term and long-term OS plans.

Monkeys Can Move A Touch-Sensitive Virtual Limb Using Only Their Thoughts

Using monkeys as test subjects, researchers from Duke University Medical Center are laying down the foundation for a new class of brain-controlled, touch-sensitive prosthetic limbs.

A series of experiments showed that monkeys can use their thoughts to control a virtual arm and select a target based on its texture. Microwave implants embedded in the cortex handled the two-way exchange between the monkey's brain and the virtual hand. The researchers hope that this breakthrough could lead to the development of prosthetic limbs that can sense their environment and respond via brain control just like a normal limb.

Oct 6, 2011

Sony Nearing the Deal With Ericsson's half

Sony is getting tired of sitting idly in sixth place in the battle for cellphone supremacy. Sure, there have been a few noteworthy devices from the company's joint venture with Ericsson (i.e. the Arc), but for the most part it has struggled since its inception in 2001 to run with the alpha dogs. The Japanese manufacturer's new strategy involves buying out Ericsson's stake in the company and having its tablet, smartphone and handheld gaming units work closely together to develop future products. According to the Wall Street Journal, a deal for the Stockholm company's half of the venture is nearing completion. Some difficulties remain, such as properly valuing the company and settling on a price for Ericsson's roughly $1.3 to $1.7 billion worth of mobile technology patents, but a deal is expected to be reached sooner rather than later. And maybe, just maybe, the new found flexibility will allow Sony handsets to keep pace with the Samsungs and Apples of the world.

Your Windows Phone Will Soon Get Xbox Live TV-Controlling Powers

Coupled with the news that the Xbox 360 is getting full-on TV, WP7 Phones will join in with a new Xbox Companion app. Everything you'll want to watch will be controllable right from your smartphone.

According to the Windows Phone blog, your phone will have built-in access to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, allowing you to choose from the full array of games, movies, and tv shows that will be made available by the 40 entertainment providers Microsoft signed with.

Yes, it sounds more and more like the Comcast's Xfinity app—I mean, consider how Comcast will look on your suped-up Xbox Live TV. 360 owners with WP7 phones will probably want to get in on this.

Sprint now Taking Pre-Orders for iPhone 4, Reserve Your 4S on October 7

Looking to grab that iPhone 4 on Sprint and take advantage of the unlimited data? Well, you can place your pre-order now on the current model and for the just announced 4S starting Friday, October 7. The company warns that this is "while supplies last" -- so if you're thinking about jumping ship from the data limiting service of Big Red or Ma Bell, you may want to act quickly. Just hit that source link and head to Sprint's iPhone page to reserve yours. Link.

Oct 5, 2011

Reactions to Steve Jobs’ Death

The world is now reacting to the very sad news of Steve Jobs' death. Including people like Bill Gates, Larry Page, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin and President Barack Obama himself.

But perhaps the most important reaction—apart from his family—is Steve Wozniak's. According to the LA Times, he was "overwhelmed and could not get in touch with his emotions". His only words: "People sometimes have goals in life. Steve Jobs exceeded every goal he ever set for himself."

Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple, has Passed Away at 56

Very sad news. Steve Jobs has passed away. As confirmed on Apple's site, Mr. Jobs has passed away at the age of 56 after recently stepping down from the position of CEO and naming Tim Cook his successor. Steve has had a profound effect on the world of technology, both at Apple and through his many other endeavors. My thoughts go out to his family.