Chip Makers Race to Deliver Tech for Faster Mobile Networks

Intel, Broadcom and other chip makers are working to develop the next major advance in cellular network technology, a topic of discussion this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Spurred by market leader Qualcomm and rivals that hope to reduce its dominance, companies are demonstrating extensions of the tech presently used in the fastest networks. One new service, LTE Advanced, is expected to offer download rates of 300 megabits per second, four to six times faster than current LTE. Continue reading Chip Makers Race to Deliver Tech for Faster Mobile Networks

New Samsung Smartwatch to Use Tizen Rather Than Android

Amidst the rapid growth of the wearables market, Samsung intends to bypass Google’s Android operating system in favor of the Tizen OS for its new version of the Samsung Gear smartwatch. Hoping to avoid giving Android the same boost it received in the smartphone and tablet markets, Samsung is aiming to develop more of its own software and services. Samsung is expected to unveil the updated Gear smartwatch along with a new HTML5 version of Tizen at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week.

Continue reading New Samsung Smartwatch to Use Tizen Rather Than Android

Tech Companies Hopeful for Change in NSA Disclosure Policy

President Barack Obama spoke about the National Security Agency last week at the Department of Justice in Washington. The President touched on allowing technology companies to disclose information to the public about the kinds of data the government requests from them. However, he did not address issues such as secret government taps on data centers located overseas and encryption standards, two issues of particular interest to technology and phone companies. Continue reading Tech Companies Hopeful for Change in NSA Disclosure Policy

Panel Recommends Obama Impose Restrictions on NSA Spying

A report by a panel of outside advisers has urged President Obama to place a number of restrictions on the NSA. Commissioned by President Obama back in August, the report is a response to the outrage inspired by Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing of the agency’s spying methods. The advisers are calling for greater congressional oversight and presidential approval for spying on national leaders. They also want to see the agency give up its cyber-spying on American hardware and software. Continue reading Panel Recommends Obama Impose Restrictions on NSA Spying

Wireless Telcos Adhere to FCC’s Request to Unlock Phones

Wireless telcos Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular have agreed to the FCC’s demands to unlock subscribers’ phones. The Commission’s chairman Tom Wheeler gave the providers the ultimatum to unlock phones or face regulation, and now they — along with CTIA – The Wireless Association — have complied, agreeing to meet requirements within a year. They’re recommending the policies be incorporated in the association’s Consumer Code for Wireless Service. Continue reading Wireless Telcos Adhere to FCC’s Request to Unlock Phones

House Passes Innovation Act: Enough to Save Patent System?

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Innovation Act yesterday, a bill that intends to help reform the troubled American patent system. The bill, which passed by a vote of 325-91 with bipartisan support, will now go to the Senate (where it expects to pass), and then to the White House. Supporters hope the bill will save the current patent system plagued by low-quality patents and trolls, while others suggest it is merely a small solution for a much bigger problem. Continue reading House Passes Innovation Act: Enough to Save Patent System?

Barry Diller Predicts Increase in Number of Aereo Subscribers

Aereo-backer Barry Diller has stated that the online service may grow to the point that 35 percent of U.S. households subscribe. However, this is largely contingent upon the service’s ability to overcome the legal challenges it currently faces from broadcasters. Individuals in their mid- to late-twenties aren’t highly inclined to pay $100 per month for TV cable packages, rendering Aereo’s $8 package highly attractive, according to Diller. Continue reading Barry Diller Predicts Increase in Number of Aereo Subscribers

Senate Confirms Lobbyist Tom Wheeler as New FCC Chairman

Tom Wheeler, a former cable and wireless phone lobbyist, was unanimously confirmed as the new chairman of the FCC late yesterday. Senate aide Mike O’Rielly was also confirmed for the vacant Republican seat on the commission. The confirmations came after Senator Ted Cruz released his hold on Wheeler’s confirmation vote. Wheeler will succeed fellow Democrat Mignon Clyburn, who has been serving as acting chair since earlier this year when Julius Genachowski stepped down. Continue reading Senate Confirms Lobbyist Tom Wheeler as New FCC Chairman

Democratic Congressman Proposes Free Market Royalty Act

Representative Melvin Watt (D – North Carolina) introduced the Free Market Royalty Act this week, which would allow record companies and artists to collect royalties when their songs are played on the radio. The bill would change licensing for broadcast radio and online services, and stations like Pandora would have to negotiate with rights holders. This bill has transformational potential, for while songwriters and music publishers receive compensation on the radio, the artists themselves do not. Continue reading Democratic Congressman Proposes Free Market Royalty Act

Transparency: Acxiom Shows Consumers What Data it Collects

The Acxiom Corporation, a marketing technology firm based in Little Rock, Arkansas, announced on Wednesday a new website that will offer consumers a chance to view some of the data that the company has collected about them. While the site is a step toward addressing the government’s push for increased transparency from the data brokerage industry, critics believe it actually presents a rather sanitized look at data mining and marketing. Continue reading Transparency: Acxiom Shows Consumers What Data it Collects

Amazon May Expand Same Day as Competitors Lower Prices

Amazon may be launching AmazonFresh, its same-day grocery and local product delivery service, into the New York City area. AmazonFresh is currently available in Los Angeles and Seattle. This potential move may be a first step toward extending same-day delivery and leveraging the company’s extensive distribution network for future expansion. But as the company grows its reach, brick-and-mortar retailers are challenging Amazon on prices, offering the same or even lower rates. Continue reading Amazon May Expand Same Day as Competitors Lower Prices

Federal Government Faces Decision Whether to Veto ITC Order

In June, the International Trade Commission found that Apple infringed on a Samsung patent, and declared a ban on some older iPhone and iPad models. The trade agency oversees certain unfair trade practices and can block imports and sales of products. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have been concerned with companies using essential technology patent lawsuits to block rivals, and are troubled with the ITC ruling. The Obama administration is now faced with whether it should veto the order. Continue reading Federal Government Faces Decision Whether to Veto ITC Order

Tech Companies Support Federal Move Against Patent Trolls

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney described President Obama’s newly proposed patent policy yesterday during the daily press briefing. The administration introduced a package of executive orders and recommended legislation that takes aim at patent trolls. Technology companies have expressed early support for measures that they hope will help curb the growing onslaught of lawsuits negatively affecting innovation. Continue reading Tech Companies Support Federal Move Against Patent Trolls

E-Commerce: Internet Sales Tax Proposal Moves Forward

The proposed Marketplace Fairness Act — legislation designed to help states force online retailers to collect sales taxes — made it past its first procedural obstacle Monday evening when the Senate voted 74-20 to consider the proposal for debate and amendment. Some anti-tax activists have described the bill as a tax grab, potential bureaucratic nightmare and infringement on states’ rights, while others view it as a necessary step to save brick-and-mortar retailers. Continue reading E-Commerce: Internet Sales Tax Proposal Moves Forward

CISPA: House of Representatives Passes Controversial Bill

In a 288 to 127 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protect Act (CISPA), which encourages businesses to share cyberthreat information with the government. Privacy advocates have been fighting passage of the act, concerned that it allows agencies to conduct warrantless searches of data collected from e-mail and Internet providers. The bill overrides current privacy and wiretap laws. Continue reading CISPA: House of Representatives Passes Controversial Bill

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