In the past year, malware on Android phones spiked a number of times, raising security concerns.
Lookout, which creates software for mobile security, recently released an app to visually show threats occurring in “near real-time.”
“Lookout’s Mobile Threat Tracker shows the location of every malware incident tracked by its app on a 3D map of the world,” Mashable reports. “Besides just the impressive visual, the app also calls up the top three specific threats, providing a little extra information on what the evildoing software does. It’ll also give a percentage of spyware vs. malware.”
The app is limited to phones that use Lookout — fairly popular in the U.S. and Germany — so it doesn’t give the full picture, but “it’s still a sobering reminder that phones are rapidly becoming big business for malware creators,” suggests Mashable.
For now, Paramount is the only group to offer UltraViolet digital movies through their site. The main drawback, as SlashGear points out, is users cannot download these cloud-based movies for offline viewing.
Consumers can stream movies over the Internet on iOS devices, but “Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone are currently not connected to this service and set-top TV boxes and systems like the Xbox, Wii, and more are not able to work with this service at the moment either,” reports SlashGear.
The digital format films cost $12.99 for SD and $19.99 for HD, pricey when compared with DVDs and Blu-ray discs.
“While this idea seems like a great one in some places, especially for people who have iPhones and also a bit of money burning a hole in their pocket, but there doesn’t seem to be room for growth if no inclusion of the rest of the devices listed above come in quick,” the article concludes.
Following the shutdown of MegaUpload, the hacktivist group Anonymous reportedly hacked multiple government and entertainment sites including the Justice Department, Universal Music, BMI, the MPAA and RIAA.
Personal information on MPAA chairman Chris Dodd was posted, including his home address, phone numbers and children’s names.
“According to reports on Twitter, the group also has been attempting to pull down the website of the White House, but so far it hasn’t succeeded,” noted The Hollywood Reporter last week.
MPAA gave a statement, criticizing the groups actions: “Unfortunately, some groups believe that speech or ideas that they disagree with should be silenced…The motion picture and television industry has always been a strong supporter of free speech. We strongly condemn any attempts to silence any groups or individuals. The Internet is home to creativity, innovation and free speech. We want to keep it that way. Protecting copyrights and protecting free speech go hand in hand.”
In response to the latest piracy debate, GigaOM blames the studios for forcing consumers to download illegally by not making it easier for them to find and pay for content.
“Hollywood’s windowing system is essentially keeping consumers from being able to access the content that they want to watch. Without a reasonable option to pay, many are left to pirate a film that they wouldn’t go to the theater for anyway,” the article states.
Most of the time, people pirate content that they can’t find in a legitimate way. That doesn’t mean, however, that they won’t pay if the content were available.
Hollywood is concerned about losing theater sales but, as the article points out, “there are plenty of consumers who won’t go to the local megaplex to see a romantic comedy or drama, but are happy to pay for the convenience of watching it on the TV at home or on another device.”
Hollywood continues to preserve the current distribution and windowing scheme despite the rapid evolution of content consumption. Although it has made some concessions with UltraViolet, “until those movies are available in a timely fashion — i.e., not months after they’ve already left theaters — there will remain a huge audience that the studios will never capture, whether it’s because they’ve pirated the film or because they’ve chosen to watch something else,” GigaOM concludes.
“Verizon Communications Inc. is pushing hard to move its FiOS TV service beyond the set-top box and onto the latest gadgets — from TVs and tablets to gaming consoles — to fend off competition from online video services such as Netflix, Amazon and Apple’s iTunes,” reports Reuters.
In a CES interview with Reuters, Joe Ambeault, the director of product management for FiOS TV, detailed Verizon’s plans to push the service on multiple platforms and devices to insure the survival of FiOS.
The company already has a deal with Microsoft to bring the service to the Xbox. It’s now working with content providers to allow consumers access on mobile devices outside the home. Additionally, Verizon announced deals with LG and Samsung to have FiOS on their smart TVs.
Ambeault also talked about his desire to get FiOS on the Apple TV whenever it becomes available. He wants the service to be associated with innovative devices like the Apple TV and LG Magic Remote to interest consumers.
“Congressional leaders on Friday indefinitely shelved two antipiracy bills that had rallied the Internet and rocked Capitol Hill, dealing a major defeat to the traditional media industry while emboldening a new breed of online political activists,” reports The New York Times.
The Wednesday online blackout had a profound effect on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate.
However, Senator Harry Reid tweeted that he is optimistic the delay will enable issues to be resolved and a compromise should come within a week. He added that the longer it takes to pass anti-piracy legislation, the more jobs will be lost and economies hurt “by foreign criminals who are stealing American intellectual property and selling it back to American consumers.”
In the House, Republican representatives have almost completely backed away from SOPA. It will be redrafted but “the Committee remains committed to finding a solution to the problem of online piracy that protects American intellectual property and innovation,” says Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
In a related article, Los Angeles Times looked into what censored Chinese bloggers were saying about the U.S. Web companies’ uproar regarding censorship. Some more or less laughed while others used the opportunity to promote their own case, suggesting “Americans should try a minute in our shoes before invoking online Armageddon.” China’s Internet companies have “no choice but to submit to government pressure.”
The trends that emerged from CES this year included tablets and slim laptops, smart TVs, fitness gadgets, power efficiency — but we also saw less focus on the products themselves (and their specs) and more about how the devices connect with consumers and each other. The show was really about the social experience possible with using the products.
“It’s not so much a trend as a reality: consumer electronics must go social to stay relevant,” Mashable reports, noting how social-oriented CES has been. “The companies that will be most successful capitalizing on them are the ones who merge all of them into an overall experience: one that’s social, open and empowering.”
The article explains how this year’s convention focused not on technological advances, but on how the new devices will keep you connected. Intel and others supported the idea that customers don’t want to merely consume but also create, connect and interact.
Mashable suggests this is a “paradigm shift for consumer electronics” and developers will have to go beyond integrating Wi-Fi capabilities and social networks to create an overall social experience with technology.
Start-up BlueStacks is bringing around 400,000 Android apps to the Windows 8 Metro-style start screen.
The Android-on-Windows app previewed at CES will be available as soon as Windows 8 ships and the company is reportedly working deals to have its App Player software preloaded on some new PCs.
“Opinion within Microsoft is divided on BlueStacks, said CEO Rosen Sharma. Some are happy to see lots of apps that run in Metro, even if they are Android apps. Others, though, would prefer developers write apps directly to Windows,” reports AllThingsD.
“As for computer makers, Sharma said that many are happy to have an option that allows them to offer up Android and Windows together.”
Internet radio company Pandora reported strong profits at the end of 2011 and recently announced it now has 125 million subscribers.
Pandora went public in February 2011 when it had 80 million registered users.
According to the company, its users average 18 hours of listening per week.
Pandora took 68 percent of the market share for the top Internet radio services in November 2011. The service is also now incorporated in 450+ electronic devices.
“Growth of this magnitude reflects a fundamental shift in radio,” Pandora founder Tim Westergren said in a statement. “As more and more people are discovering the joy of personalized radio automotive and consumer electronics companies are innovating to meet consumer expectations and demand. It’s an incredibly exciting time for our business, and music lovers everywhere.”
At CES, Nokia previewed Nokia City Lens, an augmented reality app that allows users to locate points of interest nearby using maps and the camera’s viewfinder. Consumers can then share locations or favorite spots with friends through email, texts, or posts on their social networks.
City Lens was demonstrated on the 4.3-inch screen of the new Lumia 900.
The app features multiple views based on the phone’s orientation. For example, positioning the phone horizontally will display the augmented reality camera mode with locations as an overlay, in portrait mode a list of locations is made available, and holding the camera towards the ground provides an overhead map.
The app will be available in a beta version next month.
For a sneak peek, check out the AllThingsD video demo from the CES showfloor.
The SD Association released the Wireless LAN SD standard at CES, which adds Wi-Fi accessibility to the standardized storage format.
The new memory cards allow consumers to wirelessly download, upload and share photos or videos in addition to using the Wireless LAN SD memory cards as control points for other devices.
Consumers will be able to transfer content from cameras to cloud services and between SD devices over home networks.
“As cloud servers and wireless technologies continue to penetrate the consumer experience, wireless accessibility will become increasingly more important,” said Michael Yang, senior principal analyst, IHS iSuppli. “The addition of wireless capability to the existing SD memory card standard, will enable SD memory cards to remain relevant to shifting market demand, and add value to consumers and manufacturers of new cameras, tablets, and mobile phones.”
At CES last week, Boxee announced that in 2012 it will deeply integrate with Facebook and provide live TV to its “smart” set-top box.
With an HD antenna, Boxee Box can now access programs from local broadcast stations. As always, the box will also run local content and online content, which has set it apart from competitors.
According to Lost Remote: “One major differentiator between Boxee and the rest is the ease at which you can play files downloaded from places like BitTorrent on your TV without needing to convert them.”
Its new TV app for Facebook allows users to share what they’re watching on Timeline, enabling video discovery among friends. For those users concerned about privacy, they will be able to customize settings to selectively share.
Boxee is praised for its intuitive, sleek remote but the article questions whether the device is actually “the one box your TV needs,” as the company claims. One point of contention is the size of the box, which does take up space (compared to Roku’s recently released stick).
Also, the box does lack in content without Hulu or Amazon Instant. With other options such as Xbox, Roku, Apple TV and connected TVs, Boxee may or may not have enough to set it apart in an increasingly competitive market.
Microsoft was planning an online subscription TV service that would offer programming for a monthly rate. However, talks with media companies have been put on hold because Microsoft found the licensing costs to be prohibitive.
To distinguish itself from the likes of Netflix, Microsoft’s business model had planned to offer current shows and live networks.
The company continues to deliver content over the Web and offers apps on its Xbox Live service. For now, the company is focusing on providing current cable subscribers programming on the Xbox system.
At CES, Microsoft and News Corp. announced “a partnership that will allow Fox Broadcast, Fox News, IGN and The Wall Street Journal to offer apps on its Xbox Live service,” reports Reuters.
Microsoft may renew talks, some speculate, as its competitors Google and Amazon continue to push forward with content deals.
If pursued, the Microsoft TV service would likely include advanced features such as voice and motion control.
Forbes contributor Fred Cavazza predicts that “Social Business” will become the top buzz term of 2012.
“Social Business is not a technology, a practice or a strategy, it’s a unified vision of social media usage inside and outside of a company,” he writes.
“The objective of social business is to rethink the company’s strategy, processes and culture with a social lens,” he adds. “Social business’ credo is to build a social layer which will stimulate conversations, connections, shares and interactions inside and outside your organization.”
To achieve an integrated approach, Cavazza recommends six concepts (the post includes a related infographic): 1) “Rethink marketing to improve transformation and clients satisfaction;” 2) “Rethink commerce to improve segmentation and fidelity;” 3) “Rethink CRM to improve market insights and your products visibility;” 4) “Rethink knowledge capitalization to stimulate collaboration and expand internal communities;” 5) “Rethink collaboration to foster contributions and subject matter experts’ identification;” and 6) “Rethink internal communities to boost social learning and collaborative practices.”
“Extra value cannot be delivered with better softwares, or with a better strategy, it can be delivered with enhanced processes and behaviors. So in the end, social business is more about changing culture and habits, i.e. improve social interactions between human beings, wether they are customers, prospects, employees, contractors…”
Samsung’s “smart window display” could be coming to homes and offices in two years. The display is eco-friendly, using ambient light as backlighting that uses one-tenth the power of a normal LCD.
When ambient light isn’t available, the nighttime mode turns on a hidden back-light unit.
“The smart window display has a 1366×768 resolution, and when images and videos appear on screen, transparency is reduced to 5.8 percent. The entire display is 9mm thick, weighs just under 10 pounds, and uses HDMI and USB to interface with a computer,” reports Wired, also pointing out the potential for the transparent screen to be used as an interactive room divider.
The post includes a one-minute video of the 46-inch touchscreen model Samsung demoed at CES last week.