Congress Takes Closer Look at Google-Huawei Relationship

A recent deal between Google and Huawei Technologies now has some influential Congress members looking into the relationship between the two behemoths. Google and Huawei, which have an operating-system partnership, recently struck a deal to upgrade capabilities on Huawei smartphones, which run Google’s Android operating system. After Congressional scrutiny, another Silicon Valley giant — Facebook — said it will end its relationship with Huawei and three other Chinese electronics manufacturers. Continue reading Congress Takes Closer Look at Google-Huawei Relationship

Facebook Faces Another Privacy Issue Due to Software Bug

Facebook revealed that a software bug was live for 10 days during May and, as a result, may have affected up to 14 million users. The company explained that millions of users who believed they were sharing privately with their friends or small groups may have actually shared their information publicly; the bug apparently updated the audience selector to “public” without notifying users. Facebook announced it plans to contact the individuals that may have been impacted. “We’d like to apologize for this mistake,” said Facebook’s chief privacy officer Erin Egan in a statement yesterday. Continue reading Facebook Faces Another Privacy Issue Due to Software Bug

Apple Bashes Facebook, Debuts Rival Social Media Features

Apple, which has criticized Facebook for its data privacy policy, introduced social media features for its new mobile device operating system. The features include group video chat for up to 32 people, tools to share photos with friends and the ability to play augmented reality games with friends. Apple also debuted privacy tools for the Safari browser that limits the data that Facebook and its ilk can gather. Apple made its target clear, with images of Facebook and Instagram in its marketing material. Continue reading Apple Bashes Facebook, Debuts Rival Social Media Features

WhatsApp and Facebook Execs Split Over Business Strategy

The long slow-boil dispute between Facebook and WhatsApp’s two founders over how to create more revenue out of the acquired app has led to an ugly breakup. WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton reportedly had constant disagreements with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, who were both eager for a greater return on the company they purchased for $22 billion in 2014. Facebook remained committed to its advertising model, and Koum and Acton were opposed to targeted ads. Continue reading WhatsApp and Facebook Execs Split Over Business Strategy

Facebook Criticized for Sharing User Data with Device Makers

Over the last ten years, Facebook inked agreements with at least 60 phone and device manufacturers to share access to troves of users’ personal information. Among those manufacturers are Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung, in addition to several Chinese electronics companies. These data-access partnerships started before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones. As a result of these deals, Facebook increased its influence as a social media platform, and device makers offered popular features including “like” buttons, messaging and address books. Continue reading Facebook Criticized for Sharing User Data with Device Makers

Facebook to Help Users Feature Copyrighted Music in Videos

Facebook has struck deals with the major record labels and numerous indies so that users can upload videos featuring copyrighted background music without the fear of that content being taken down. Facebook plans to pay artists and labels when tracks are used, although rates have yet to be disclosed and it is unclear whether compensation would be based on video uploads or views. The social platform is not yet introducing a tool for adding a copyrighted song to a video, but Facebook-owned Instagram recently prototyped such a feature (Instagram is also prepping a feature that would allow for long-form video). Continue reading Facebook to Help Users Feature Copyrighted Music in Videos

Asus Introduces ROG Phone Optimized for Hardcore Gamers

At Computex 2018, Asus announced its ROG (Republic of Gamers) Phone, with gamer-oriented design and a 90Hz display, which means the screen refreshes 90 times per second for smoother animation. The ROG Phone will compete with the Razer Phone, another mobile device prized by gamers. Asus ups the ante by adding a “specially selected 2.96GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip” to each ROG Phone, ensuring it will be the speediest one around. The phone also offers vapor cooling and a special attachable fan accessory. Continue reading Asus Introduces ROG Phone Optimized for Hardcore Gamers

WWDC 2018: Apple Announces Improvements and Upgrades

Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California yesterday and, as expected, the major announcements focused on upgrades and improvements rather than new hardware reveals. With the company’s iOS 12, available this fall, Apple is “doubling down on performance,” according to SVP Craig Federighi. Following user complaints that a previous update slowed older iPhones, the new iOS will make devices faster, with improved integration across devices. The company emphasized macOS Mojave, its digital assistant Siri, and a push into augmented reality, as well as a new version of its suite of machine learning apps for iOS devices and tvOS 12’s support for Dolby Atmos. Continue reading WWDC 2018: Apple Announces Improvements and Upgrades

Spotify Tweaks Contentious Policy on Hate Content, Conduct

Spotify introduced a “Hate Content & Hateful Conduct” policy in May and, due to the dismay and confusion it sparked, the company is changing its policy, specifically canceling the portion related to the decision to remove artists from playlists if they were involved in “controversies.” Kendrick Lamar’s record label felt so strongly about the policy that it threatened to remove his music from Spotify, and company chief executive Daniel Ek was forced to admit the company could have done a better job in explaining the policy. Continue reading Spotify Tweaks Contentious Policy on Hate Content, Conduct

Pew Research Reports on Teens and Social Media Platforms

A Pew Research Center survey revealed that Facebook no longer rules the social media landscape among U.S. teens aged 13 to 17. Although 51 percent of teens do use Facebook, that number is lower than those who use YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. The Pew Research Center’s last survey on teens and technology was in 2014-2015. Since that earlier survey, now 95 percent of teens own smartphones, or have access to one and 45 percent report being online nearly constantly. The survey was conducted March 7 – April 10 this year. Continue reading Pew Research Reports on Teens and Social Media Platforms

App Store Spending Predicted to Reach $75.7 Billion in 2022

App Annie has released new stats regarding the first 10 years of Apple’s App Store. According to the analytics and market intelligence firm, there have been more than 170 billion downloads from Apple’s iOS store through December 2017, which represents in excess of $130 billion in spending. An increasing number of apps have exceeded the $1 million and $10 million consumer spending milestones, with “plenty more to come,” predicts App Annie. The U.S. leads the world with 40.1 billion downloads and $36 billion in consumer spending, followed closely by China and then Japan. Continue reading App Store Spending Predicted to Reach $75.7 Billion in 2022

Essential Kills Next Smarthone and Is Reportedly Up for Sale

Android creator Andy Rubin’s startup, Essential Products, born out of his incubator Playground Global, may be on the sales block. The startup, which raised about $300 million from Amazon, Tencent Holdings, Redpoint Ventures and Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn), ceased development of a new smartphone, say sources, and hired Credit Suisse Group to advise on its sale. Reportedly, Essence has already piqued the interest of one potential buyer. The original Essential smartphone, manufactured by Foxconn, debuted last August. Continue reading Essential Kills Next Smarthone and Is Reportedly Up for Sale

Federal Government Makes Deal to Put ZTE Back in Business

The Trump administration has reportedly reached an agreement that would keep Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer ZTE in business. The deal requires that ZTE pay a major fine, make management changes, and place U.S. compliance officers at the company. ZTE had earlier announced it would cease operations after the White House banned it from buying U.S. tech components in response to ZTE violating U.S. sanctions against North Korea and Iran. The new agreement would permit ZTE to resume its business with Qualcomm and other U.S. companies. Continue reading Federal Government Makes Deal to Put ZTE Back in Business

Apple Awarded $539 Million in Smartphone Tech Patent Ruling

In the latest ruling of an ongoing seven-year patent battle over smartphone technology, a federal court in San Jose, California awarded Apple $539 million in its lawsuit against Samsung Electronics. “Apple sought about $1 billion in a retrial of a case that originally produced a verdict of that amount in 2012,” reports Bloomberg, “while Samsung argued it should pay only $28 million this time.” Following the 2012 verdict and 2013 retrial, the case went to the Supreme Court in 2016 before returning to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to determine damages. Continue reading Apple Awarded $539 Million in Smartphone Tech Patent Ruling

Snap Launches an Accelerator Program With Focus on Mobile

Snap Inc. is launching an accelerator named “Yellow” with hopes of finding the next big media business. This fall, the accelerator will invest $150,000 in 10 startups or creators looking to develop media projects for mobile devices. Snap plans to take a small equity stake in those selected to receive the funding. The startups will also get mentorship from Snap execs, access to professional networking events, the opportunity to distribute content on Snapchat, and office space in Venice, California where Snap is based. CEO Evan Spiegel is expected to be involved in mentorship and the selection process. Continue reading Snap Launches an Accelerator Program With Focus on Mobile

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