? Episode 306
 all tech radio show
  • In a move that changes the landscape of the highly competitive mobile devices industry, Google (GOOG) said Monday that it will pay $12.5 billion to acquire phone-maker Motorola Mobility. The deal, which has been approved by the boards of both companies, will give Google its own hardware products and allow it to compete more closely with phone- and tablet-makers such as Apple (AAPL), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and the new alliance between Microsoft and Nokia. It also gives Google access to thousands of patents held by Motorola, which pioneered the cellphone business. Analysts said that could help the Mountain View company stave off a barrage of patent claims levied by Apple, Microsoft and other rivals against Google's Android operating system.
  • On Sunday, a group calling itself Anonymous broke into a marketing website maintained by the Bay Area Transit Agency and posted the personal information of more than 2,000 people who signed up on myBART.org. Josh Shaul, chief technology officer of Application Security Inc., said the hackers exploited a vulnerability in the site's security. Shaul characterized the attack as "low tech" and said the hack could have been accomplished by downloading free software available online. Should they bock twitter in SF and London when rioting is an issue? What about when Egypt did it?
  • Is that a spaceship that landed in Cupertino? No that's just Apple's new 300,000 sq. foot building proposal. Although it looks like a giant spaceship, Apple claims the design is green friendly and won't hurt any humans. It will also include a 1000 seat auditorium and is under review by the Cupertino city council.
  • A lot of tablets have cut their price to be competitive with the IPAD2. HP's Web OS enabled tablet is now $400, and Asus has also cut their two Android tablets to that level. In the meantime, Apple has successfully kept the Samsung Galaxy Tab from being sold in Europe and Australia. The newer tablets have faster processors, and newer hardware, but people are still buying the IPAD over all of them.
  • A Google search might not be your best bet if you want to find what you're looking for online, new data suggests. Even though 66 percent of all searches in July were conducted using Google's search engine, more than 80 percent of searches conducted on both Yahoo and Bing were successful, compared to only 68 percent of Google searches. Experian Hitwise, the online competitive intelligence company that released the figures last Thursday, defines a successful search as one that results in a person actually clicking through to a Web site.
  • If this smoking gun is real, it's one heck of a strike against the rich and powerful supporters of AT&T's $39 billion proposal to acquire T-Mobile. A partially-redacted letter allegedly sent from AT&T to the Federal Communications Commission suggests that the carrier is willing to pay $35 billion just to keep T-Mobile out of Sprint's hands. Since coming out to the media, the Obama controlled FCC has removed the letter from its website for unknown reasons. If the merger is approved even after it has become clear it will reduce competition and increase consumer costs, the FCC will have some explaining to do.
  • W3 Innovations LLC agreed to pay $50,000 to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that its mobile applications violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, marking the commission's first case involving apps. W3, which does business as Broken Thumbs Apps, develops mobile apps for the Apple Inc. iPhone and iPod Touch. Company representatives weren't immediatly available for comment. The FTC alleged that several of the apps-including Emily's Girl World, Emily's Dress Up, Emily's Dress Up & Shop, and Emily's Runway High Fashion-collected thousands of email addresses from children under 13 years of age without their parents' prior consent. The agency also clamed that W3 allowed children to publicly post comments, including personal information, on message boards.
  • A total of 22 fake Apple stores have been uncovered in one Chinese city. Authorities in Kunming began searching out the copycats after pictures of one convincing replica were circulated on the web. An early search found five fake stores, two of which were shut down for trading without a license. Now, according to Chinese trade officials, 22 have been found unlawfully using Apple's brand and logo. The investigation into unauthorised Apple stores in Kunming was brought about when an American living in the city published a blog post describing a visit to one such shop. Describing it as a "beautiful rip-off", BirdAbroad revealed how far the owners had gone to copy the decor and ambience of a real Apple store.
  • Verizon Wireless has confirmed that it is testing a new, lower-tier data plan in select markets. The new data plan offers 300MB of smartphone data usage for $20 per month, and undercuts the lowest-cost current option of 2GB of data for $30 per month.This new plan from Verizon doesn't have a high-value quotient when compared with the 200MB for $10 plan option from T-Mobile, or AT&T's 250MB for $15 option, but Verizon has never been about offering the lowest prices. The promotion will run from August 18 to September 30 in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and it is open to both new and existing customers. \

email from listeners:

  • Tom from Portland asks: "Have Android tablets caught up to Apple in applications and ease of use?"