Thursday, December 30, 2010

Apple Sued Over Privacy Issues

Apple is being sued by a California man due to the privacy issues with some of their apps.

Jonathan Lalo filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in San Jose, California on Thursday, December 23, because he says that Apple produces devices that give access to ad networks to allow them to track a user’s app activity without the consent of the user. The complaint that Lalo filed mentions names like Pandora, Paper Toss, The Weather Channel and

Lalo claims that this ad network tracking occurs on Apple’s iPhone and the iPad, and it allows the networks to see which applications people are downloading, how often they use them, and how long they are using them. Lalo also claims that both iPhones and iPads feature a Unique Device Identifier (UDID), a number that is specific to that device, which users cannot block, alter or delete.

According to the suit, the UDID "is now being used by ad networks to track Plaintiffs and the Class – including what apps they download, how frequently they use the apps, and for how long. Some apps are also selling additional information to ad networks, including users' location, age, gender, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation and political views."

It continues saying that due to this, Apple and the app developers both “invaded their privacy, misappropriated and misused their personal information and interfered with the operability of their mobile devices." According to Bloomberg, the suit claims that it is seeking justice on behalf of all of the Apple iPhone and iPad users who have downloaded an app between December 1, 2008 and last week.

"None of the defendants adequately informed plaintiffs of their practices, and none of the defendants obtained plaintiffs' consent to do so," one plaintiff of the lawsuit alleged.

So far, Apple has made no comment concerning the allegations.

Issues over privacy have been prevalent of late. Just last week, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal that discussed how mobile apps send certain information out without the user’s consent or knowledge and that the use was “widely and regularly” practiced by companies. The article focused on a study that examined 101 different mobile applications. It found that iPhone apps gave out more personal information without a user’s consent than Android apps did.

The Journal also included a list of the “leakiest” apps that included Pandora, Paper Toss, and TextPlus 4. These apps send out information including age, gender, ZIP codes and user IDs to several different ad networks. The information that is released the most often, which is usually either sent back to the app manufacturer or sold to an ad network, is the device’s UDID because this information allows companies to see what the owner does with his or her device.

The article in the Journal spurred the Mobile Marketing Association to decide that new, more specific privacy guidelines need to be devised that inform consumers about what information is being released to advertisers and how it is being utilized.

Right now there are two separate suits going on. One deals with the
iPhone, and the other deals with the iPad. A partner in the Fears & Nachawati law firm and the attorney of one of the complainants Majed Nachawati said that he would not be surprised if at some point the cases were consolidated into one case by the judges that are presiding over the cases.

Nachawati also said, "We are also looking at Google's Android platform and a lawsuit against them has not been ruled out.”

After these privacy issues have been made known to the public, there now seems to be a growing concern about users' privacy on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Despite the filing of the two separate lawsuits, some experts are predicting that the court cases will not be successful.

In April Apple did amend its developer agreement to ban all apps from sending user data to third parties unless it was information that was directly necessary for the functionality of the app.

The lawsuits say though that Apple really hasn’t taken any steps to implement or enforce the changes that they have made due to the criticism that they received from advertising networks.

Trip Chowdhry, a research analyst for Global Equities Research, said that he does not think that the lawsuits will have a big impact on investors.

“If this were a major issue, all web browsers would have to shut down and there would not be any advertising on the Internet,” Chowdhry said.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

E Mobile's New Pocket WiFi

E Mobile Pocket WiFiEverybody knows that if you want to see the future of technology, then all you have to do is turn your eyes to Japan. Japan has always been one step ahead of everybody else. it seems, when it comes to great innovations in technology. The country has always been on the cutting edge of the industry which is why it is a little surprising to find that public WiFi solutions are very scarce and that those people who want internet on the go usually have to look for a monthly plan. However, E Mobile has been busy creating a lot of pocket WiFi solutions for a while now and their latest one is very interesting.

E Mobile's newest device is a two-for-one combo; a wireless router and a smartphone hybrid. The device retails for around $235 and features an unlimited data plan for as low as $50 a month. The device also has 256MB of RAM, a 2.8-inch touchscreen display, IEEE802.11 b/g/n wireless LAN, support for five connections simultaneously, 2.1 + EDR Bluetooth, a 3.2 megapixel camera, external memory capabilities in the form of microSD/SDHC and Android 2.2.

I know those specs don't make it seem like the greatest phone in the world, but it should appeal to a lot of people who desire their phone and mobile wireless on a single data plan. You will still get all the essential smartphone functions including GPS capabilities and integration with all of the regular Google services just like any other Android phone. People also will not have to wait much at all for this device as E Mobile has slated a mid-January release date.

This is clearly going to be a device suited for a traveling businessman. It gives you the ability to connect your phone, laptop, projector and anything else you need to the internet with absolutely no problem, saving you time and even money.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

E-reader Sales Greatly Increase in 2010

According to Gartner, a technology research and business leader, e-reader sales are set to reach a total of 6.6 million units in 2010. This is up 79.8 percent from the sales in 2009, and in 2011 it is predicted that global e-reader sales will surpass 11 million units, a 68.3 percent increase from this year.

"The connected e-reader market has grown dramatically during the past two years, driven by sales of Amazon's e-readers, primarily in North America,” said said Hugues De La Vergne, the principal research analyst at Gartner. This is the dominant region for e-reader sales, and we predict that it will account for sales of just over 4 million units in 2010."

“North America will remain a key market through 2014, although its dominance will decline significantly as regions such as Western Europe and Asia/Pacific become the leading locations for growth,” he continued. “Growth in North American and other markets will remain constrained by the success of media tablets, such as the Apple iPad."

As of right now, there are three dominant e-reader producers in the market: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Sony. Most likely, there will be new competitors that appear in the very near future that will offer low cost devices. These could definitely cause there to be a little more competition in the e-reader market. PC firms and large consumer electronic producers such as HP and Dell are trying to leave their own footprints and make an impact on the market.

Media tablets are the biggest threat to e-readers. They can offer users better experiences for reading electronic magazines and newspapers due to the fact that most of them have color and full video support. Media tablets are able to support e-reader applications as well as many functions that only media tablets can support.
"With media tablets offering more functionality, e-reader vendors need to target avid readers who may see the value of a stand-alone device that performs particularly well," said Allen Weiner, research vice president at Gartner. "E-reader vendors will also need to offer lower prices than for more fully featured media tablets,” Weiner continued. “This will entail smaller profit margins and potential hardware subsidies at retail, and/or the ability to obtain lower-priced components. We think few end users will buy both an e-reader and a media tablet, so it is important that e-readers retain a price advantage."

This holiday season Barnes & Noble chairman Len Riggio said that his company has barely been able to meet the demand for its Nook Color, and Amazon has said that they have been selling millions of Kindles. Sony, the other dominant e-reader producer, hadn’t really been saying a lot about their holiday sales, but just recently, Sony said that it’s “expecting both the Reader Touch and Daily Editions will sell out around the world before the holidays.”

A Sony rep said that they have sold millions of Readers around the world. The rep continued by saying that cost was not the factor that “it was predicted to be.” Despite the difference in price, the sales of the Reader Touch Edition PRS-650 have overcome those of the Pocket Edition PRS-350.

Both of the models have improved touch screens. The PRS-650 does have a larger 6-inch screen and some added features that are not found on the PRS-350 with its 5-inch screen. The Daily Edition PRS-950 is the only model that features a 7-inch screen and wireless connectivity with both Wi-Fi and 3G. (It is selling right now at Best Buy for $250.)

The important statement that Sony has been making often is “around the world.” Sony is marketing their e-readers inside and outside of the U.S., and they probably sell more Readers outside of the country. On the other hand, the Nook is sold exclusively in the United States, and the Kindle is available in the U.S. and the U.K. This will most likely change sometime soon, as Amazon and Barnes & Noble will probably make a global push in the very near future.

E-readers are very popular devices. It’s fascinating to see how quickly the devices are spreading not only throughout the U.S. but also around the entire globe. It will be interesting to see if some other manufacturers are more prevalent by next year and how much the devices will increase in popularity.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

10 Tools for the Mobile Businessman

Traveling BusinessmanWorking on the go is never easy. Trying to balance between packing and unpacking and making sure you always have everything you need working properly can be extremely stressful. But it doesn't have to be. By using the right tools, you can save yourself a whole lot of time, effort and stress. All it takes is a little planning and a little help.

Folder Lock: Folder lock provides you with 256-bit AES encryption wherever you need it. This encryption is good for any type of file or folder on all types of Windows and even data on a USB device.

Dropbox: Dropbox is an online backup option for Mac OS, Linux and Windows. It offers automatic backup, file sync and the ability to track any and all changes.

Evernote: This online note-taking tool auto-syncs with a desktop application to offer mobile access.

LogMeIn Pro: This tool provides seamless and total access to your PC, whether it be at home or at the office, from any computer with an internet connection.

OneBox: This is a virtual PBX service that forwards any and all calls to any location and includes auto-attendant, voicemail, faxing and conferencing.

Truecrypt: Truecrypt is a free open source disk encryption software for Windows, Mac OS and Linux and provides real-time, on the fly automatic encryption.

Mozy: This service is compatible with both Mac OS and Windows and offers automatic, secure backup.

Stixy: Stixy is a free note-taking service that allows you to share notes and files.

GoToMyPC: This tool allows you to access your computer remotely from any computer connected to the internet.

RingCentral: RingCentral is a virtual PBX service that provides instant-on phone, fax and messaging services. It also has features including toll free numbers, dedicated fax lines and multiple extensions.

So there you go, ten tools that traveling businessmen use to make their mobile work force run smoother and better every single day that they are away from their home or office.
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

4G on T-Mobile Tablets

t-mobile 4g
On Friday, December 10, T-Mobile announced that by next year they plan to add 4G technology to tablets as an integrated wireless connection. One thing that the company unfortunately did not address is which tablets they would be providing this service for.

"T-Mobile will continue to be at the forefront of wireless innovation, delivering an aggressive 4G product lineup in 2011, including 4G tablets," said T-Mobile spokesman Tom Harlin.

"T-Mobile is working closely with the majority of our OEM partners to deliver 4G products by integrating HSPA+ into roadmaps in 2011 as the dominant global standard," the company said in a statement on Friday. "Consumers will continue to see HSPA+ fuel future innovation in a variety of mobile consumer electronics from smartphones and tablets to emerging devices.”

Already, T-Mobile has launched their MyTouch 4G, which was the first of the company’s phone lineups to utilize 4G technology, and obviously from the statements, the company plans to definitely improve its 4G technology use in the near future for phones and tablets. It was in November of this year that T-Mobile announced that its network was worthy of having the title “4G.”

T-Mobile said that they had turned on its HSPA+ in six more metro areas including Chicago. They also announced the retail availability of the myTouch 4G phone and a Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbook with built-in HSPA+.

“HSPA+ is evolving a far more ambitious and long-term road map than was originally envisioned. T-Mobile is using an upgrade to HSPA+ to deliver faster 4G speeds today and is quickly bringing a number of HSPA+ devices to market that greatly enhance the mobile data experience for its customers,” the company said.

T-Mobile chief network officer Neville Ray said, "By the end of this year, we'll have two times [the coverage] out there from anything approaching a competitive LTE or WiMAX footprint."

There has been some major controversy brewing recently over the true definition and wireless standards of “4G.” This all began when the ITU, the global body that is charged with deciding on the wireless standards for things like 4G, said that nothing that was being sold in the United States actually met 4G standards. This means that everyone is making up their own 4G standards and at least in the U.S., 4G doesn’t necessarily mean the same things from carrier to carrier. T-Mobile wants to make it very clear that its HSPA+ is just as fast as Sprint’s 4G WiMAX.

“The footprint of our 4G service is not something that competitors are going to match anytime soon.”

It’s great to hear that tablets on T-Mobile could have 4G capabilities sometime in the near future. It would just be nice to know which tablets they plan to provide the service for. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long for them to begin offering 4G service. Until then though, I guess we’re just going to have to wait patiently for T-Mobile to get everything all together and figured out.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

iPad 2 Speculations from Digitimes

apple ipad 2
There have been a ton of rumors swirling around about the possibilities surrounding the iPad 2. Not a lot of details are known about it besides the fact that it will definitely be an upgrade from the original iPad, and it will address some of the issues that the iPad has been criticized for.

According to a report from Digitimes on Tuesday, December 7th, Apple’s manufacturer Foxconn Electronics will begin to ship out the iPad 2 by the end of February 2011. Now that doesn’t mean that Apple will be making the iPad 2 available to the public yet. It only means that the devices are being shipped to Apple to be readied for release.

The Foxconn Electronics plant, located in Shenzen, China, is rumored to initially supply anywhere between 400,000 and 600,000 units over the course of the next 100 days. Digitimes reported that the hardware that will be featured on the device is still being tested. Digitimes also said that eventually Foxconn will supply Apple with their products from a plant located in Chengdu, but as of right now, those devices are still in production.

Recently, an analyst from Gleacher & Company suggested that the iPad 2 should be on sale in the United States by April, but right now Apple hasn’t said anything about a release date. Earlier reports said that Apple would continue with its typical update cycle and offer the newest version of the iPad for the holiday season, but obviously that isn’t happening.

Although everyone is calling the new version of the iPad the iPad 2, that is not its official name. Apple has not publicized the new name yet. As mentioned above, the new version will take care of many of the issues that people had with the original iPad. It will feature a dual-camera setup, support of Facetime video chat, and much more. Some gamers are hoping that the iPad 2 will also feature a gyroscopic setup for motion control. Reports say that the 30-pin dock connector that is found on the original iPad could easily be replaced with a mini-USB port, a Cortex A9 CPU, and additional memory which could make the new iPad much more powerful.

Since the launch of the original iPad in April, the sales of the device have been incredibly strong. In the third quarter alone, Apple sold 4.19 million iPads. The sales for this quarter seem as though they will not be as high as expected. They will most likely come in somewhere around five million.

Digitimes said that Apple should most likely begin clearing out their inventory so they have room for the new version of the iPad. They continued saying that last quarter Foxconn shipped out around six million iPads, which leaves about 1.8 million devices that have not been sold yet. Apple should order around 1.6 to 1.8 million iPads at the beginning of the year, but after that order, they should start reducing the number of iPads that they ship in so that they have room for the iPad 2.

It is really exciting to see possible release dates for the iPad 2. The original iPad is incredible in itself so it will be even more amazing to see a new and improved version of the device. Hopefully, Apple will soon release some official reports about dates, prices, features, etc., but until then, it is all left up to speculation.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

So, What Do the Masses Think About the Samsung Galaxy Tab vs. Apple’s iPad?

galaxy tab vs. ipad
Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is the highly anticipated, extremely hyped-up tablet that was released worldwide about two months ago. In mid-November the device was made available at all four of the major wireless U.S. carriers, Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile, which is sure to help boost the Galaxy Tab's sales numbers.

So, how has it done so far you might ask? Well, just recently, Samsung reported that they had sold over 1 million devices. But how does this compare to Apple’s iPad when it was first released? The larger 9.7 inch screen Apple iPad went on sale this past April and hit the 1 million devices sold mark in about a month, meaning that comparatively the Galaxy Tab is definitely behind numbers-wise. You must consider though that the iPad was a novelty that drew people in with its exclusive uniqueness. It had no real competition when it was released. When taking this into consideration, it shows that realistically Samsung is doing quite well with their Android-based 7-inch screen Galaxy Tab.

The Thanksgiving weekend is sure to have spurred the Galaxy Tab sales, although Samsung has not yet released those sales figures. Individual carriers have said that they are very encouraged by the sales of the Galaxy Tab, but they also have not revealed any of those numbers.

As of right now, despite Samsung’s best efforts to market their new product, it seems as though the iPad will be the dominant tablet this holiday season. In a survey conducted by Piper Jaffray, a hearty 85 percent of respondents said that they preferred the iPad over the Galaxy Tab.

Senior research analyst Gene Munster wrote, "Although we expect both platforms to find success in the market in [2011], we believe iPad is taking an early lead over competing Android-based tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab."

Now it is important to note that the survey was only taken by 65 people, and the Galaxy Tab really hasn’t been out very long, while the iPad has had close to eight months to make its impression. Piper Jaffray chose people at random to participate in their survey. They asked individuals on their way in or out of a large national retail chain store to spend some time with both the Galaxy Tab and the iPad, and they then asked them which device they preferred.

The survey also asked people about their perceived value of both the devices. Respondents said that they felt the iPad (3G + Wi-Fi) was worth $417 (34 percent below its actual price) and that the Galaxy Tab was worth $283 (53 percent below its actual price). People seemed to think that the iPad seemed fancier than the Galaxy Tab. It is interesting to consider what people really felt the value of the devices was. "While the iPad is priced $30 higher than the Galaxy Tab, the perceived value of the iPad was $134 higher," said Munster.

Although right now it seems that the iPad is the preferred device, Piper Jaffray said that they believe both tablets will be successful.

"While we expect both the iPad and Android tablet platforms to find success in the market, we believe iPad is taking an early lead over competing tablets," the report said. "We are modeling for Apple to sell 13 million iPads in [2010], an estimated 89 percent market share with very limited competition; however, we estimate this share will drop to 53 percent next year, with Android-based tablets attracting 33 percent of the market. "

In Apple’s fourth quarter which ended October 31st, they reported that more than 4 million iPads had been sold, and analysts estimated that prior to the Thanksgiving weekend about 8 million iPads have been sold overall since its release. Despite this, Samsung is a fantastic company that is respected by many. The Galaxy Tab also features some things that the iPad cannot offer. I believe that the device will most definitely be a success. It just needs a little time to catch up with the iPad.

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Friday, December 3, 2010

The Primo Power Core from PhoneSuit

When most people travel, they make it their personal mission to take as much technology with them as possible. The thought of being disconnected from the world for even a second sends chills down the spines of many a man. Many people just cannot bear to leave behind their laptops, smartphones or iPods, so they don't. The only problem with this is that all of these devices have batteries that need charging. So, the more pieces of technology you decide to take with you, the more things that need to be charged and the more chargers, cords and cables you have to take with you.

Thankfully, there are companies out there that are dedicated to making universal devices that are capable of charging each and every single piece of equipment you could possibly want to bring along when you travel. One such company is PhoneSuit, and their newest product is known as the Primo Power Core.

The Primo Power Core is a new device from PhoneSuit that acts as a portable power plant. The device features an 8200mAh capacity battery that comes in a lightweight package and has enough power to charge a number of different portable devices multiple times on a single charge. The Primo Power Core features a lot of cool features like automatic amp switching technology which ensures that all of your devices will charge as quickly as possible.

This power core uses high density lithium ion batteries that deliver the 8200mAh of power which is enough to fully charge an iPhone 4 or Android phone up to four or five times or even fully charge an iPad once. An integrated power switch on the device allows you to put the power core in a standby mode which prolongs its power storage allowing you to have it ready for whenever you need it.

What is great about this power core is that it is extremely universal. This device is compatible with almost all smartphones, tablets, netbooks, laptops and mobile devices. The device is also Apple certified, meaning Steve Jobs has yet another device to try and take over the world with. The Primo Power Core works with all types of iPhones, iPods and iPads ensuring that you can always get your Apple crack fix.

Here is a full list of all the products supported by the Primo Power Core. Supported devices include: iPad, iPhone, iPod, Blackberry, Android Smartphones, Android Tablets, Samsung, HTC, Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, LG, Palm, Bluetooth Headsets, GPS, eReaders and a ton more.

The Primo Power Core makes a perfect stocking stuffer for this holiday season and is definitely something every tech junkie will be dying to get their hands on. So, why not make your technology obsessed special someone the happiest little nerd this year and get them the Primo Power Core from PhoneSuit? This device is available now for a market price of $99.95.
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