четвъртък, 12 май 2011 г.

Android now, Chrome OS later. Can Google balance its platforms?

Chrome OS was the focal point for the final day of Google I/O, the annual developers conference held in San Francisco this week. While Google (GOOG) managed to dazzle attendees with forward-thinking discussions of Chrome’s potential, even revealing the Chromebook PC to run Google’s web-based operating system, there seem to be more questions than answers regarding Google’s long term platform goals. On the one hand, Android’s mobile platform has been a runaway hit, incurring a great deal of developer interest. On the other hand, Chrome OS is sneaking into the netbook market, looking to enterprise settings to re-evaluate the way we access applications.

Chrome OS vs Android

One important point of distinction is the current line-up of devices, some supporting Android, others designed around Chrome OS. As the Android device market settles in, Chrome OS devices are just beginning to enter the market. As expected, Google revealed its own netbook device to run Chrome OS, giving the public and the developer community a proof-of-concept to explore. Having devices to operate Chrome OS is vital to Google’s long term development, though this initiative still holds little promise compared to Android’s existing success.
That leaves many developers wondering which aspect of Google’s platform program they should focus on, one granting immediate benefits, the other a bet on the future. But knowing Google, the search and advertising giant has it in mind to combine these two very important platforms to leverage each other. It would be a competitive lead for Google, as it would solve a long-standing issue other platform owners face; how to best deliver the cloud through mobility and optimized interfaces. An early success in this arena would further squeeze out Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT), both of which face the similar dilemma of marrying two operating systems towards the future of computing.
For the Chromebook in particular, Google’s targeting the enterprise for uptake of the new device. It seems a half-step in the right direction, extending a segue for the company to straddle the promise of tablets and the mounting demands of the enterprise. The Chromebook itself won’t top netbook sales, but it will demonstrate to workers a web-based solution for operating and managing apps. Serving as a hub for Google Apps like Docs, Calendar, Gmail, etc., the new netbook is an important piece of Google’s puzzle, as the company drives adoption of its latest platform project.

сряда, 11 май 2011 г.

Microsoft to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion

           Microsoft has agreed to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion.
"Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said today in a statement. "Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world."
Microsoft plans to integrate Skype's technology with the Xbox game console and Kinect motion-sensing device, as well as with its Windows Phone platform. The company also will "connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live, and other communities."
Perhaps most importantly to Skype users, Microsoft said it will continue to support "non-Microsoft platforms" with the communication service.
Although Microsoft didn't offer further details, it's clear that the company has its sights set on Apple.
Apple already offers the FaceTime video-chatting feature on its iOS-based mobile devices and on Macs, delivering multiplatform communication over the Web. Microsoft could potentially best Apple's offering by supporting Skype on a much wider array of operating systems.

          Skype is no stranger to major acquisitions. The Luxembourg-based VoIP company, which was founded in 2003, was acquired by eBay in 2005 for $2.6 billion. Eventually, the online auction site admitted to investors that it had overpaid for the Internet telephony provider. eBay finally spun off Skype in 2009 for approximately $2 billion to a group of investors, led by Silver Lake. eBay retained a smaller stake in Skype.
As an independent company, Skype performed quite well. Over the last 18 months, Skype claims, it saw its "monthly calling minutes" increase by 150 percent. Along the way, the company also saw its revenue and profit grow, turning a $13.2 million profit through the first six months of 2010. In all of 2009, it lost $99 million.
Following those successes, Skype in August filed the first paperwork for an initial public offering. Now, it's likely Skype won't have a chance to follow through.
Last week, Reuters reported that both Facebook and Google were looking to acquire, or at least partner, with Skype. However, in just a few short days, it became clear that those companies were out and Microsoft was in. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft was nearing a deal with Skype that would be valued between $7 billion and $8 billion.
By paying $8.5 billion for Skype, Microsoft has struck its biggest acquisition bid ever. Its previous top bid--Microsoft's 2007 acquisition of online advertising firm aQuantive--was valued at $6 billion.
Microsoft's Skype deal is the second major move the company has made this year. In February, Microsoft inked a deal with Nokia that would make Windows Phone 7 the "principal" operating system in the handset vendor's devices going forward. The first Windows Phone 7-based Nokia devices are expected to hit store shelves next year.
Microsoft said it hopes to close the Skype deal at some point this year. Skype CEO Tony Bates, who came to Skype from Cisco Systems last fall, will become president of the Microsoft Skype Division.

Google's Android tablet update: Four key PC-like features

        Google released an update to its Android 3.0 ("Honeycomb") tablet operating system today, with several features intended to make Android tablets function more like PCs. These updates have come just two months after Google announced Honeycomb would get Flash support, thus giving users access to videos and games used widely across the Web.
Without further introduction, then, here are four key features to emerge from today's Android tablet update:
- USB connectivity: This is a big upgrade since you'll now be able to attach keyboards, mice, digital cameras and other devices to your tablet and use them just as you'd use them on a normal PC. So for instance, people looking to type up a long report without lugging their laptop around can now use their tablet as a monitor and have a regular keyboard to perform typing with.
ANALYSIS: Tablet-centric Android still needs work, early reviews suggest
- Support for Bluetooth HID keyboards and mice: Don't feel like hooking your keyboard or mouse up to your Android tablet with a USB cable? Not to worry -- as long as your keyboard and mouse come equipped with Bluetooth HID connectivity they'll be able to interact with your Android tablet as well. Google says that multiple input devices "can be attached to the system simultaneously over USB or Bluetooth HID in any combination," meaning you won't have to worry about your keyboard crowding out your mouse or vice-versa.
- An expanded "Recent Apps" list: Having a "Recent Apps" list is a great way to quickly access the applications you use most frequently and now Google has expanded the total number of apps on the list while also giving users the ability to "scroll the list of recent apps vertically to see thumbnail images of all the tasks in progress," similar to the way Palm's webOS let users flip through thumbnails of different applications horizontally.
- Better Wi-Fi connectivity: And finally, the Honeycomb update has improved its Wi-Fi capabilities to allow Android tablets to remain connected to their Wi-Fi hotspots even when the device screen flips off. In other words, you'll be able to walk away from your Android tablet to use the bathroom without fear that your Katy Perry and Justin Bieber downloads will get interrupted.

вторник, 19 април 2011 г.

Apple sues Samsung for 'copying' smartphones, tablets

Samsung's Galaxy Tab stacked on top of Apple's first-generation iPad.

   Apple has filed a lawsuit against Samsung, alleging that the consumer electronics giant has violated Apple's intellectual property in the design of its mobile devices.
   The suit, which was filed last week and picked up on by The Wall Street Journal, takes aim specifically at the Galaxy series of smartphones and tablets, as well as other Samsung smartphones, for "copying" Apple's user interface and design features. In it, Apple--the maker of the trend-setting iPhone and iPad--claims Samsung is infringing on its patents and is practicing unfair competition.
   Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment, though an Apple representative told AllThingsD: "It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging," adding that "this kind of blatant copying is wrong, and we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas."
In a statement e-mailed to CNET, a Samsung representative said this: "Samsung's development of core technologies and strengthening our intellectual property portfolio are keys to our continued success. Samsung will respond actively to this legal action taken against us through appropriate legal measures to protect our intellectual property."
   The lawsuit is of special interest given the relationship between the two companies. Samsung is the supplier of components in a handful of Apple devices, including part of Apple's A4 and A5 processors, which can be found in the company's iOS devices as well on the Apple TV product. Findings by AnandTech from earlier this morning also suggest that Apple has moved away from Toshiba to Samsung as the provider for solid-state storage in its MacBook Air notebooks.
Apple invested $100 million in Samsung back in 1999 to help boost the company's production of flat-panel displays. Even so, the two companies have traded blows at one another publicly. In 2005 Samsung promised to knock Apple from its top spot with the iPod, launching a massive ad campaign the following year. More recently, during Apple's iPad 2 unveiling, Apple CEO Steve Jobs knocked Samsung's tablet efforts, misquoting Samsung vice president Lee Young-hee as saying that sales of the company's 7-inch Galaxy Tab tablet had been "small."
   Apple has been a large customer of Samsung's over the years, working with the company to buying up large orders of flash memory for use in devices like the iPhone. In February the two companies were said to be working on a contract agreement with one another worth $7.8 billion, yielding parts like processors, flash memory, and LCD panels for future devices.

понеделник, 18 април 2011 г.

Microsoft opens up Office 365 as public beta




   Microsoft has opened the tap on its cloud-based Office 365 and is now offering the service as a public beta for anyone to try out.
Available in 38 countries and in 17 languages, the new beta follows several months of limited testing among a couple thousand businesses that were able to kick the tires on the service. After the public beta, Office 365 will officially launch later this year.
   Unveiled last October, Office 365 is Microsoft's attempt to offer businesses a cloud-based alternative to some of its traditional desktop and server products. The service combines Office Web Apps with hosted versions of Exchange and SharePoint as well as Microsoft's Lync product, which provides the online communication and collaboration piece.
   As such, Office 365 is designed to offer a gamut of features, including document creation and sharing, e-mail, IM, online meetings, and public Web sites. Microsoft is also including protection in the form of its enterprise ForeFront security client and is promising a 99.9 percent uptime for the entire service.
   Once it officially launches, Office 365 will be offered as two different plans depending on the size of the company. Smaller businesses with 25 or fewer employees can pay $6 per person per month to receive Office Web Apps and the hosted versions of Exchange and SharePoint. Larger enterprises will have to choose one of four different plans at a cost of anywhere from $10 to $27 per person per month.
   In addition to targeting the business world, Microsoft is reaching out to the educational market with five different plans geared toward faculty, staff, and students.
   Also now available as a beta is the Office 365 Marketplace. Designed to supplement Office 365, the marketplace tries to help businesses find apps and services offered by different Microsoft partners.



-George

Wellcome to The IT World

Hello fellows.
I would like to presnt you my blog about IT technology and news related to the IT world.
I really hope that you will enjoy your stay here. Feel free to follow my blog and/or comment as much as you like. :)
But please remember few rules:
1. No swearing in any form and/or language.
2. English is a must to post on this blog. (It will be easier for everyone to understand.)
3. Enjoy.